It’s Been a Long Year

No post next week, barring a major development, like the birth of the Messiah.

One hopes that the T. Party will be a one-off, that the stain upon the flag will be seen and remembered for years to come. We shall see.

As many have said, Trump isn’t unique, just a more virulent strain of something that’s been hanging around the country clubs and seedy city halls of America for at least 40 years. From Nixon, at least. The malcontent rich, call them. They don’t understand the world, but they have money and power and fame. They arise from the same impulses that gave Steve Bannon a platform after Trump got elected: if you’re around when things happen, you get the reward or the blame.

It’s part of a greater tendency to boil everything down into a single value. If companies only compete on market share, then people buying their product means they’re doing things right. Never mind externalities. Forget the fact the consumers aren’t even using the product for its intended purpose. Who cares if they would pay more for a better version.

When the T. Party got elected, the voters must have known they would pick up field mice and bop them on the head. That must be what the voters want.

In statistics this is called underfitting.

The T. Party is big on underfitting. They ignore all sorts of evidence, as long as the single figure suits them. They do it on climate and energy, immigration, health policy, tax policy, education, and regulation. The result is akin to an ecosystem thrown out of balance. The larger economy or ecology, the larger system suffers. It seeks to correct imbalances, which means others are affected.

Opposing underfitting is easy. Any law: any law that does not seek to balance changes, which does not plan for trade-offs and consequences, is bad policy. Going to the bank for a loan and asking for the biggest one you can get is not a smart fiscal move for a family or a business. It’s also nuts when the president and the T. Party do it for a tax cut.

If the Democrats passed some one-sided gun safety measure, and they got on TV and told gun owners to suck it up and move on—that’s not American behavior, folks. The America we all want says, guns are dangerous, but we can manage danger: we do it every day as millions of air-miles are flown in a gravity-defying industry, and we do it with a great safety record.

Anyway, 46 weeks to the midterms. Deep breaths. Relief is just around the corner.

“Now, Dreeben! now, Carr! now, Ahmad and Freeny!
On, Goldstein! on, Quarles! on, Weissmann and Zebley!
To the den of the thieves! to the office that’s round!
Now subpoena! subpoena! all documents found!”

Season’s greetings to all! Thanks to Clement C. Moore.


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