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New Economic Plan, Old Government Graft

March 07, 1993

I wish I could share James Flanigan's optimism about the President's new economic plan ("Clinton Economic Plan Is Not at Odds With the Past," Feb. 28). His premise is based on government doing an "effective job."

Several things work against government's ability to do an effective job. Among them is competition for government spoils among many contending regions, political constituencies and economic interest groups.

Another is the assumption that elite academics and lawyers can nurture the right technology and industries in a sophisticated global economy--too vast in size and makeup for national governments to adequately evaluate, let alone predict.

For the government to just give money away is arguably irresponsible and requires oversight. So even the broadest government technology programs will come laden with cumbersome regulations and "qualifiers." That is why governments so often fail dismally when it comes to economic intervention.

The global marketplace is simply too big for any participant or country to outthink. As such, it should be left to its own devices. The failure of the 1970s oil cartel is evidence of that.

Finally, and critically important, politics ignores (and even punishes) those people whose views do not support the party in power. It is difficult to believe government can be truly effective when the ideas of a segment of extremely intelligent members of the business and economic communities are largely ignored and degraded.


Santa Monica

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