On Morning Joe today there was the usual cognitive dissonance that's generated from pundits with no guiding principles. These pragmatic members of the political class are more concerned with meddling, ad hoc interventions than with principled behavior, unintended consequences or cause and effect, so cognitive dissonance is a common occurence.
Joe Scarborough said early in the program, regarding gun control, that no one in government is coming for the guns. Later, however, Christie Brinkley and Al Sharpton were talking about rampant gun violence in Chicago which has the nation's toughest gun laws. Both Christie and Sharpton talked in terms of universal gun restrictions, and they both talked about getting guns out of the hands of Chicago citizens. They complained about Chicago citizens being able to easily buy guns right outside of Chicago, thus the need to expand Chicago's tough restrictions on gun ownership. Sharpton said that guns must be removed from the families of Chicago. It was obvious that both Brinkley and Sharpton support restrictions on gun ownership and not just assault weapons. It's obvious that many on the Left want to expand tough gun restrictions across the nation. If this happened, and if guns still found their way into the hands of those willing to violate the restrictions, then government would have to implement tougher restrictions, and we know where all this leads. It's not a simple matter of outlawing big military-like weapons -- the Gun Control Advocates want much more -- they are coming for guns. Maybe not all guns, but they want to make it almost impossible for law-abiding citizens to freely own and use guns. It's like a lot of freedoms -- the State will allow certain things but regulate the usage so that the freedom is meaningless.
Another moment of cognitive dissonance was when Scarborough brought up once again the Krugman interview from a couple of days ago. Scarborough said that despite what Krugman followers say, we can do two things at one time -- we can not worry about short-term deficits, spend money on infrastructure and stimulus that creates economic growth, while at the same time dealing with long term debt driven by unfunded entitlement promises. Brinkley made a comment about low interest rates, and Scarborough mistakenly thought she was making a point about the high service costs if rates go up, so he shifted and said that if something happens to raise interest rates we would be crushed financially, so we must make plans for lowering debt in the future.
This is confused thinking, because something can happen tomorrow that raises interest rates, and we're already have over 16 trillion in debt. The cognitive dissonance comes in here because Centrists like Scarborough try to have it both ways -- they acknowledge the problem of huge debt, but they want government to continue spending money, so they have to devise a way in which both can be done. Real spending cuts on the debt have been put off over and over by government for decades -- this is how the debt grew. Now that government interventions have caused economic stagnation, money coming into government has been reduced, but spending has not been cut. Leftists and Centrists believe that government spending can replace private sector economic growth and the creation of new wealth. Scarborough is mistaken on both sides -- infrastructure spending will not return economic growth, and government tweaking of entitlements will not solve the unfunded liabilities that threaten to bury us. Government spending now will enrich the politically connected, but it won't provide sustainable jobs and income for those in need.
Statists from both parties think that printed or borrowed money can act as new wealth to get the economy going, but investors aren't biting and companies aren't hiring, even as the Fed pumps 40 billion a month into the economy. So, Statists want government to create jobs directly through a giant infrastructure project, much bigger than the one they tried a few years ago. As I wrote yesterday, this is what FDR did, try one thing then another, everything but allowing a free market. Anyone who says that the "free market" caused the Depression doesn't understand history or economics or free markets.