Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pot callng the kettle black...

The Wall Street Journal opines that Barack Obama's been stealing the Underpants Gnomes' business plan:
Sometimes it takes "South Park" to explain life's deeper mysteries. Like the logic of the Obama administration's policy proposals.

Consider the 1998 "Gnomes" episode -- possibly surpassing Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose" as the classic defense of capitalism -- in which the children of South Park, Colo., get a lesson in how not to run an enterprise from mysterious little men who go about stealing undergarments from the unsuspecting and collecting them in a huge underground storehouse.

What's the big idea? The gnomes explain:

"Phase One: Collect underpants.

"Phase Two: ?

"Phase Three: Profit."

Lest you think there's a step missing here, that's the whole point. ("What about Phase Two?" asks one of the kids. "Well," answers a gnome, "Phase Three is profits!") This more or less sums up Mr. Obama's speech last week on Guantanamo, in which the president explained how he intended to dispose of the remaining detainees after both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly against bringing them to the U.S.
They're hardly ones to talk: Republican political theory is largely build on this business model. See, e.g., the Iraq misadventure, "supply-side" economics and "reducing taxes gets more revenue", "just let the markets work", etc. Republican political theory is just surfeit in one-liners, "sound bites", and simplistic ideas that ignore potential complications and externalities (and realities) that might be problematic ... and that are remarkably short on substance (see, e.g., the Republican "budget").


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