Random items from this past week, from China to corruption to US politics and politicians whining…all in this edition of Quick Takes.
The Problems With Central Planning
If you remember a few years ago, as a way to try to control its booming population China made it illegal to have more than one child. They enforced the law strictly, which such an effect that in that traditional culture many couples were forced to have abortions if they got pregnant twice, but also would have an abortion if the first pregnancy was going to be a girl because the goal of many was to have a boy to carry on the family legacy.
Governments are not all knowing and the law had a number of unintended consequences. Most directly, as the years went by, men outnumbered women by significant numbers. The number of single men who did not get married or did not find someone for a long term relationship created social discontent.
However, the law did decrease the birth rate, as intended. But in a classic example of why individuals are best left to make their own decisions, because governments do not know nearly as much as they think they do, China is now encouraging couples to have three children, in order to address a quickly aging population.
Corruption Has Its Rewards
Former Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) was convicted in 2016 of several charges related to corruption and accepting bribes and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Supposedly there is a law the prevents former Federal elected officials from receiving a pension of they have been convicted of a felony, yet the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does not seem to want to enforce it. Fattah is receiving a reported $55,000/year in pension benefits from his years in Congress despite his conviction and sentence.
Trump / Hillary Election Whining
Former President Donald Trump returned to the political world with a speech at the North Carolina Republican Convention yesterday. During the speech, Trump again railed at the last election, how it was a ‘hoax’ and that he really won and….well, just hit the ‘play’ button on the recorder.
Rather than lay out a vision for Republicans going forward and to regain control of the House and the Senate next year, which were both lost to Democrats during his term, Trump could not help himself but had to complain and trot out his “the election was stolen” lines.
It can’t help but remind us of 2016 when Hillary spent a year or so doing exactly the same thing on her “the election was stolen” speaking tour. With her it was the Russians, with Trump it was other Republicans that control the state governments of Arizona and Georgia plotting with Democrats. The names have changed but the song is the same.