Wednesday, July 07, 2004
MORE ON EDWARDS
Expanding on some of my thoughts from yesterday.
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Let’s do a thought experiment, one that shouldn’t be too difficult.
Let’s suppose that the federal government decides to subsidize a certain product. That is, it decides to give the consumers of that product money to purchase the product. Now, what will happen to the price of that product? Will it increase or decrease? Remember, price is a function of supply and demand. If you said that Congress has artificially increased demand with its subsidy, you get a star. If you said that leads to an increase in price, two stars.
Most of you probably got two stars. Not that difficult.
But apparently the concept eludes those folks on the Des Moines Register editorial board.
You see, they are outraged—outraged!—that the “ingrates” in the drug industry have “jacked up prices” to “three times the rate of inflation” thereby “nullifying any benefit from the drug discount cards that were part of the Medicare bill.”
Alas, it never occurs to the Register that the benefit in the Medicare bill is the reason why drug prices soared.
Not surprised, are you?
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ONE MORE THING
Notice also in the editorial how they call the Medicare drug benefit a “gift” from Congress to the drug industry. And the drug industry didn’t say “thank you.” (Presumably it did say “pretty please with a cherry on top” before Congress passed the law.)
First off, have the primary beneficiaries of the law, seniors, ever said thank you? I haven’t heard it, if they have.
But what’s most annoying is the assumption that Congress actually gives out “gifts.” Yes, gifts that are bought with other people’s money.
Does it bother the Register that Congress made a gift of future taxpayers’ money? Of course not. It is Congress’s right to give such gifts.
Yes, this is one thing I won’t miss about leaving Iowa. Having to read the bonehead editorials in the Register.
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Tuesday, July 06, 2004
I promised this yesterday, so my apologies up front. Relaxation intervened.
Anyway, my announcement is that this is my last month in Iowa. I will be leaving the Public Interest Institute at the end of July to take a job with the Capital Research Center in Washington D.C. starting August 2.
So what will happen to the blog? Well, I can’t very well run a blog called “Cornfield Commentary” when I’m no longer in Iowa. It will change, but into what I’m not yet sure.
I’ll have more thoughts on the job change, my time in Iowa, etc. in later posts.
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IT AIN’T VILSACK
Well, guess my legendary powers of prognostication are still, well, legendary. (Whew!)
Anywho, I still think Kerry’s best choice would have been Evan Bayh of Indiana. But maybe John Edwards is not a bad second choice. Maybe.
Edwards’ charm is definitely an asset. Voters will like him. His charisma will probably overshadow John Kerry, but it’s not clear whether that is a negative or a positive. He could do so well that voters say, “Why isn’t this guy running for President and Kerry for Veep?” which, of course, will turn off voter enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket. On the other hand, Kerry does much better in the polls when he is out of the spotlight; in that respect Edwards is the perfect Veep choice.
But what is Edwards going to talk about? I followed his campaign a bit when he was in Iowa, and all he could talk about was the average, ordinary Joe getting screwed by the economy. Now that the economy is on the rebound, the subject that Edwards is most comfortable with is largely off limits. If Edwards does talk down about the economy, news reports will inevitably have to point to the recent economic improvement, which only helps Bush. (Or am I underestimating the media’s hostility toward the President? Maybe.)
It is doubtful Edwards will be comfortable talking much about foreign policy. He rarely mentioned the War on Terrorism in his stump speeches during the primary. Given how important that will be to this election, he’s got a lot of work to do.
Another open question is how Edwards will fare in the traditional Veep candidate role of attack dog? My guess, not very well. He is just sooooo nice. Can you imagine some of the rhetoric about Bush that has become standard Democratic fare this year coming from Edwards’ mouth? It would be like the Pilsbury Doughboy subbing for Simon Cowell on American Idol.
Which leads to my final thought: Being a lightweight on foreign policy and sooooo nice, how will Edwards do at the Vice-Presidential debate? On the one hand, his charm might win it for him. On the other hand, I get a picture in my mind of Dick Cheney with a salivating grin on his face muttering “Lunch!”
Sigh…so many unanswered questions. But that’s one thing that makes this so enjoyable. That, and there’s someone in a Governor’s mansion right now who is not too happy.
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