Tuesday , October 22 2019

Idocracy

Summary:
Idiocracy is a movie based on the idea that society will become stupid in 500 years. But that’s not at all what I have in mind here. Idocracy (only one i) is a government centered on serving a single “id”. Imagine a scenario where the president was obsessed in reversing all of the foreign policies of his predecessor, merely out of spite. In areas where his predecessor was hawkish, he’ll be dovish. Where his predecessor was dovish, he’ll be hawkish. There’s no rhyme or reason to these policies, just personal spite. Imagine the president despises an important state because its voters overwhelmingly oppose him. He instructs his staff to harass the state with legal cases, regardless of their merit. If the state has environmental restrictions that are tighter than the national

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Idiocracy is a movie based on the idea that society will become stupid in 500 years.

But that’s not at all what I have in mind here. Idocracy (only one i) is a government centered on serving a single “id”.

Imagine a scenario where the president was obsessed in reversing all of the foreign policies of his predecessor, merely out of spite. In areas where his predecessor was hawkish, he’ll be dovish. Where his predecessor was dovish, he’ll be hawkish. There’s no rhyme or reason to these policies, just personal spite.

Imagine the president despises an important state because its voters overwhelmingly oppose him. He instructs his staff to harass the state with legal cases, regardless of their merit. If the state has environmental restrictions that are tighter than the national average, then insist that they end those regulations. If the state has regions with high pollution levels, then bring lawsuits claiming they don’t have sufficient environmental policies. Heck, why not do both! All that matters is that his officials harass the state. Because they don’t love him.

Imagine a president who talks incessantly about public opinion polls and his own personal qualities even when meeting foreign leaders. Rambling on about how he’s a “stable genius“. And by the way, don’t most geniuses you know send out a constant stream of tweets telling you what a “stable genius” they are. Certainly all my stable genius friends bombard me with such tweets, reminding me of their geniusness almost every day. (Is that a word? Well it is now.)

Imagine a President who cares not at all about policy issues, only whether his party is sucking up to him with sufficient obsequiousness.

Imagine a president who demands that the evil Chinese interfere in our elections, and then is quickly defended by a senator from Florida on the grounds that he must have been joking. After all (the senator implies) his behavior is so obviously insane that he can’t possible be serious. Pity that the Ukrainians and Chinese have no sense of humor. (Was the Senator slyly trolling Trump?  No, he’s simply can’t think of anything else to say.)

Idocracy?  Idiocracy?  Both?  I’ll let you guys fight it out in the comment section, as I grab another bag of popcorn and turn on the cable news.

PS. I think it’s highly unlikely, but if for some reason (health reasons, impeachment, etc.) Trump left office and Pence took over, then GOP politicians would no longer live in terror.  Right now they are terrified of criticizing Trump.  Not afraid, they are flat out terrified.  So frightened they are wetting their pants.  They would not be terrified of criticizing a President Pence, even if he continued Trump’s policies.  That distinction is the easiest way to explain what it means to have a “cult-like” following. I say that because in the past some of my commenters pretended to not know what I was talking about.  Cult?  What do you mean?


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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