Sunday, October 5, 2008

Are Animals Smarter Than Politicians? In Some Cases, Yes

In this 1,000 word essay, we learn about a skill that one animal possesses that has escaped about 99% of our our public servants - yet which, if they could acquire it, would solve a similar proportion of our economic problems, before they could manifest themselves into government-created crises.

By Expedio

An article in a recent issue of National Geographic magazine has convinced me that some animals possess intelligence exceeding that of their human counterparts – including the vast majority of America’s politicians, from those serving in city councils, all the way up to the United States Congress.

The article, “Inside Animal Minds,” profiles a variety of animals that possess remarkable physical and mental abilities. One passage in particular jumped out at me: it described the marmoset, a small monkey that possesses the sense of “object permanence,” which is defined in the article as “knowing that something out of sight still exists.” In summary, if you show a marmoset an apple, then move it behind a wall, it knows the apple still exists, and where it is located.

If only our politicians would acquire the skill of object permanence.

Nowhere is this skill more desperately needed, and lacking, than in relation to the basic laws of economics:

  • The law of supply and demand: If the demand for a product or service increases, but the supply doesn’t – or is restrained by government – its price will rise.

  • The law of monopoly: When only one firm is allowed – under force of law – to make and/or market a product or service, there’s no limit to how high the price will go, especially if part or all of it is subsidized by government (taxpayers). And because competition is forbidden, its quality tends to steadily decrease.

  • The law of fiat money: When a culture’s units of monetary exchange are unrelated to a scarce value, and can be created at will, each will possess progressively less value, and be able to buy less and less products and services.

These laws exist regardless of where and when they are applied – and whether or not a majority of politicians (and those entrusted with educating our citizens) deny or downplay their existence. They exist – and they profoundly affect the availability, cost, quality and variety of every vital value we seek, from food to clothing, and from healthcare to homes.

Yet since the early 20th century, many if not most American politicians – at all levels, and of both parties (but particularly Democrats) – have been advocating, enacting and defending legislation that demonstrates one thing: their refusal to acknowledge these basic laws of economics, and their willingness to pretend that if they just refuse to acknowledge them, they won’t exist. In essence, that they can create their own laws of economics, by a simple majority vote.

One prime example is the now-routine spectacle of Congress’s virtual jihad against energy companies and their leadership.

Whenever these legislators decide that fuel prices or energy industry profits are “too high,” they force energy industry executives to testify in grand public inquisitions. Top mainstream media figures, almost entirely ignorant of the basic laws of economics themselves, breathlessly echo allegations that somehow, these executives are manipulating fuel prices.

And without exception, the finding is always the same: the government’s own sources confirm that fuel prices are a function of supply and demand – and not “price collusion” or any other trumped-up allegation.

Were a real investigation were to be initiated – into the real culprits behind spiking fuel costs (in addition to increasing oil demand from China and India) – the primary responsibility would fall squarely on the shoulders of legislators and regulators at the state and federal level, whose policies and votes defy the basic laws of economics.

By employing the force of law to choke us off from our supply of our own oil (and natural gas), these “public servants” have done far more than drive prices through the roof. They have forced us to become increasingly reliant upon foreign sources of oil, often placing America at the mercy of every petroleum-rich nation we import from, including those who have long-festering desires to hurt us.

In fact, as Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies pointed out in a recent article, al Qaeda issued a 2004 directive to cripple, and ultimately destroy America, by denying our ability to access the oil that our economy currently runs on.

Knowing this, how does one excuse the fact that our own “public servants,” using the powers that we have granted to them, have essentially done al Qaeda’s bidding? How are we to react when one influential Congresswoman, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), brazenly threatens energy company executives that if fuel prices don’t (somehow) come down, the federal government may take over (socialize) the entire U.S. oil industry? Or when legislators at the federal, state and local level require energy companies to create countless varieties of “boutique” gasoline blends for hundreds of markets, at different times of the year – then tax the final product at a rate multiples higher than their profits? Or when presidential candidates claim that oil companies are "ripping off" the American citizen, by daring to charge an 8% profit margin on their products & services?

To a rational 10-year-old with a grounding in basic economics, all this is the equivalent of a doctor who obstructs an ICU patient’s air supply – then complains because he valiantly fights to release the doctor’s hand from his oxygen mask – all in the name of “conservation.” In this case, the “doctor’s” name is not bin Laden – it is “Congress.”

Similarly, both major presidential candidates are now promising to lower our spiraling healthcare costs through increased government intervention and regulation of the industry, and our lives, while ignoring or denying the fact that it was primarily prior government interventions that caused costs to spiral to their current levels. And from housing to other vital values, there is one source that is responsible, more than any other, for spiking prices, and for the resulting "crises" --- government.

Oh, if our politicians would acquire the sense of “object permanence.”

They would know, and accept, that the laws of economics cannot be denied, cheated, or avoided any longer, if America is to survive and prosper. It makes one wonder: Is our survival and prosperity even their mission?

According to the U.S. Constitution, it is. And it is long past time that legislators throughout America, and particularly in Congress, begin to act accordingly.

© Copyright 2008 by Expedio, and All rights reserved.
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