The National Bureau if Economic Research, one of those think-tank wannabees, announced today that its findings show that the US economy has been in a recession since December of last year. Gee, guys, glad to see you all on top of the situation. This is like telling the people of New Orleans a year after Katrina devastated their homes that a hurricane had hit the area.
If it takes a full year for the best economic researchers in the country to figure out what most of us figured out just by looking at our bank accounts, it is not surprising that the economy is in such sad shape. I mean, the people that work at these think tanks are usually the best and the brightest minds in their field. After all, in most cases these think tanks pay more and offer more perks than the government. Clifford Geertz, perhaps the brightest social scientist since Max Weber, never worked for the government, but rather worked for a very prestigious think tank. Same goes for Stephen Hawking, the most brilliant scientist since Albert Einstein.
That’s the problem with our government, and probably every other national government. They have become such bloated and fossilized bureaucracies that anyone with half a lick of creative sense would not be caught dead working there. Government bureaucracies are geared to work only if the people who work for them are happy bring mindless cogs in a giant machine that was designed by the people who make Erector sets – lots of wheels and gears and pulleys and levers, but very little work is actually done. Nothing against Erector sets, mind you/ I had one when I was a kid and my son Michael has one. They are great toys but I would not want to power my well with one.
Have you ever seen the silent-film classic Metropolis by legendary German film director Fritz Lang? The scenes of the machinery in the factory is what a bureaucracy is like. Except there are about ten million more stupid and inane rules that are geared to one thing and one thing only – stifle any creative thinking.
And that is why governments cannot really deal with any sort of crisis. Crises require creative thinking, chucking the rules and coming up with new solutions. In 1933, when he was sworn in as President during the Great Depression, FDR basically threw the then-current banking rules out the window and he told the banks to take a holiday to give the administration – not the bureaucrats – to work out some creative solutions to the economic crisis of that time.
The solutions that FDR’s team came up with got us out of the Great Depression and put the economy back on track. And it should have stayed there had we stuck with the ideas behind those solutions. The problem is that those solutions were turned over to the generations of bureaucrats who work for the government and they turned those creative ideas into layers upon layers of silly rules that have been accumulating for 75 years. Do you have any idea how many rules an army of bureaucrats can generate in that amount of time?
I hate to burst the NEBR’s little bubble of self-satisfaction, but we are way past the recession stage. This country is in the throes of a full-blown depression and we had better treat it as one, no matter what the experts at the think tanks say. It will take them at least another year to figure it out. B then most of us will be migrant workers [illegal aliens] trying to find work in Mexico.