Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Janesville and Liberal Government

This book just won a prize for nonfiction writing.  If you don't want to read the whole thing, this New Yorker piece of last year will substitute.

I'm still reading it, but I want to note one failure of government: Obama came, promised help, his man visited, listened, did nothing before leaving for a better paid post.  It's an old lesson of bureaucracy--you need unrelenting pressure from the top to accomplish the difficult.  President Nixon, despite his flaws, knew this and his administration was successful in removing the WWI "tempos"

now the site of "Constitution Gardens". 

Much as I like Obama, and my regard for him as a person is only increased by comparison with his successor, I don't see him as a good manager of the bureaucracy.  (The most glaring failure was, of course,

Liberals believe in the power of government to help, but Janesville is disappointing in that respect.  The conventional wisdom is that job retraining programs are a necessary part of global free trade and/or fighting recessions.  The results from Janesville don't support their efficacy.  The job retraining seems to have worked somewhat like farm programs, easing the transition from a good past to a dimmer future. 

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