Thursday, January 06, 2011

Is Ponzi Socialism a redundant concept?

In a column in the New York Post this morning Charles Gasparino discusses what Hayek called the Fatal Conceit.  It is well worth re-reading. Gasparino is a senior correspondent for the Fox Business Network.  He worries that the malaise in Europe could spread here.  It may already have spread.

He discusses the inevitable miscalculations that result from many activities in government.  There are lots of Ponzi elements that we can discover.  In the old Soviet Union you had the five year plans which, like Ponzi's schemes, promised a big payoff in the future.   But bringing examples closer to home there are also plenty.  What about the imbalance of the Social Security "Trust Fund" or the vast underfunding of public employee pensions?   One could also look at most estimates on tax revenues when new ones are enacted.   Or the relative transfers induced by the introduction of public employee bargaining - which seem to have the employees represented on the discussions but not the public.

But if you carry this logic to its limit - all decisions like this are Ponziesque.  So the bright turn of phrase may be redundant.

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