In one of the posts, I mention that we need to write memoirs before we get too old since old men often don't differentiate between the important and the trivial. And I'm not getting any younger. This blog is mostly for my kids, to understand a bit about the world I came from and lived through. Welcome to anyone else, but this is not profound and it is very personal.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
A friend recently referred me to an article in the WSJ titled "Killer Bureaucracies" by Daniel Henninger, and I recommend the article as well. Just google the title.
This is my reply:
I have long believed that business can adjust to just about any
"reasonable" tax system as long as you don't change it all the time.
When I first worked with customer investment portfolios, the top tax rate was
70%, and it wasn't that difficult to reach that level. Those kinds of
confiscatory rates would be cause for all kinds of hand wringing and internet
storms today, and it didn't sit well with people back then. But they adjusted,
although the adjustments (like high-risk oil drilling limited partnerships)
were sometimes worse than the disease.
When Obama was first inaugurated, the SBA bureaucracy seemed to whoop "Yippee"
and swoop in with new rules that they, as bureaucrats, had longed to implement.
Ever notice how a bureaucrat left to their own devices will implement rules
that lessen or eliminate any work on their part? Why do educators get the hell
out of the classroom and become administrators? When I worked for the utility,
the measure of success was often how far from the customer your chair was
Maybe we could learn from China? For over 5,000 years, China has been
run by the bureaucracy. For many recent centuries, that has meant delaying
change to the point that China was way behind in the middle of the 20th
century. Then WWII wiped out 20 million people, the Communist bureaucracy (a
worthy successor to earlier versions) weakened and China has exploded into the
modern world. I have no knowledge of whether that is because of or in spite of
the bureaucracy, but something is working.
We so often fool ourselves into thinking that Americans possess some
secret sauce that makes us superior to the rest of the world and comfortable in
our arrogance. Well, part of that secret sauce has nothing to do with modern
Americans, especially those of us who vote for politics of failure. A lot of
our wonderful country and way of life is due to an accident of history that
placed a few really talented people with power, intellect and an enlightened
education in a spot to map the course with the Constitution, etc. The other was
a marvelously rich land occupied only by a few, reasonably defenseless
aborigines ready to be exploited.
So, yes, don't we all agree that the system is pretty much broken.