Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs laments that Western governments don't seem up to the crises of today: They are controlled by big business interests and focus on short-term political gain rather than on making decisions that will make sense for the long-term interests of citizens.
That's true enough, and something I've written about before. But Sach's solution to that failure is to call for more robust government—more government spending, more government allocation of resources, and higher taxes to government can more fairly distribute assets. Somehow, giving more power to those who have proven themselves gravely unsuited to the task is the key to the solution in Sach's mind.
Sachs seems to believe that somehow the current malfunctioning of government is an aberration from some golden era of good government. When was that golden era? He doesn't say. He wants all of Europe—which he seems also as suffering from too-little taxation and government-control—and particularly crisis countries to look to “Northern Europe” as role models, where equality is high and the economic crisis isn't so bad. Yet this is still vague. What country is he talking about exactly where the economy is humming and the government is functioning so well? Are the lessons there really applicable to the rather diverse populations and circumstances of the rest of Europe let alone this U.S.?
Big-government disciples like Sachs are fortunately failing to make many converts in the U.S. Occupy Wall Street protestors may get all the media attention, but overwhelmingly Americans are becoming more skeptical of concentrating power with government. Americans may not likely too-powerful corporations, but they recognize that mostly it's not the businesses themselves that represent the threat, but the collusion of big business and big government. This is among the reasons why ObamaCare—another huge government power grab—is less popular than ever.
If there is a silver-lining to these hideous economic times, it may be that they are cementing in millions of Americans that instead of letting Uncle Sam and a few ruling elite control our country, it's time to return power and resources to the people.