Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gradients of Public Policy Hypocrisy

In the last week we've seen to examples of public policy hypocrisy - but from my perspective one is more forgivable than the other.

#1 - The Arizona Law on Immigration -  I expressly do not take a position on the Arizona statute.  There are indeed similar laws in other states that are not being enforced.  But what bothers me is the "moral" outrage of some politicians.  Many of them have admitted that they have not read the actual bill.  Yet, those same politicians are asking to boycott Arizona.  After the Mayor of LA suggested that the Arizona law was something akin to the holocaust and pressed for the city to boycott the state, one Arizona politician suggested that the state's power authorities quit wheeling power to California.

#2 - Suspending Offshore Drilling - The Obama Administration's response to the drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has been something less than spectacular.  While the President commented today that it focuses his every waking hour, between the fund raisers and other activities, his comment was hardly credible.   But as part of the response the Administration has offered they have a) blamed the prior administration (and fired the director of the federal office in charge of such matters), b) claimed they were in charge, and c) suspended new permits for offshore drilling.  Before this mess, the Obama Administration seemed to have a pretty sensible policy on drilling (it is not an ideal situation for one concerned with environmental issues but necessary while we look to new energy sources).  But with the spreading goo they chose to do the suspension.  Ideally, what they would also do is begin a thoughtful process to achieve the balance on a reasonable definition of economic and environmental stewardship.   But from my perspective, the suspension is probably justified based on the outcry.  One would hope that they would get back to the serious policy stuff after doing the rituals to respond to the yelps.

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