POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MICHAEL BOSKIN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL
Boskin’s home, the Hoover Institution, is little more than a glorified propaganda mill, much like the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute.
It serves as a cozy sinecure for right-wing economists who've retired from true academics to spend their last years in leather armchairs offering up ready-made phrases and stock answers for right-wing causes.
Boskin's "government can't pick winners" is a really tired cliché, much like a tire with almost no tread which has been worn thin by overuse in the United States for over forty years. He, or anyone, should be ashamed of such unoriginal and largely meaningless language.
The larger truth is: no one can pick winners, certainly including private enterprise. There are countless examples of major corporations becoming train wrecks only recently, let alone over decades.
The truth is, and always has been, that intelligent government policies help reduce risk to business and promote growth.
In everything from property rights to zoning regulation and from infant-industry protection to regulating financial institutions, government is indispensable.
The early United States used many broad and deep forms of government protection, and it still does in a great many industries, especially in agriculture. And we see the creative arts there demanding all kinds of protective and even excessive laws for their digital products.
That despite the fact that much of early United States publishing was built on theft of European material. Dickens, for example, was furious the way American publishers regularly stole his works and paid him nothing. Those same publishers are some of the big American houses today.
And if you think government is unimportant just look at the economic explosion we call China.