Thursday, March 02, 2006

Alabama Getaway

Why don't we just give Alabama
rope enough to hang himself?
Ain't no call to worry the jury.
His kind takes care of itself.

Regrets to The Dead. I found a nice take on the social safety net commonly found in Europe titled "Alabama and Amsterdam" that was worth dropping here rather rather than at Captain Plaid. Matthew Yglesias is everwhere it seems yet I find him most often these days at his node at TPMCafe. He ends his American Prospect article with,
The point isn't that big government is an economic panacea. Clearly, things have gone rather awry in France and Germany; more subtly, it seems unlikely that the Scandinavian social model is compatible with the high levels of immigration that the United States has traditionally, and quite properly, permitted. But neither is it some sort of doomsday device. All sorts of things influence economic growth, and the developed world provides plenty of examples of countries combining economic dynamism with a robust safety net. Indeed, in a business climate increasingly characterized by uncertainty, such safety nets are arguably conducive to the kind of risk-taking necessary to participate in contemporary capitalism. Just as all those helmets, complicated ropes, and other safety gear let people climb dangerous rocks, the guarantee that you'll be protected from economic turbulence that is beyond your power to control can increase flexibility in the labor market, encourage entrepreneurship, and otherwise facilitate growth.

For the contrary view, one can look at the Mississippi-Alabama social model of non-union, low-wage work; low taxes; little regulations; poor public services; and minimal investments in health care, education, and basic infrastructure. These are not, needless to say, the great American success stories. Nor, I dare say, are the mandarins of American opinion journalism clamoring to leave their comfortable homes in the blue suburbs of Washington to move there.
"Rope enough to hang himself?" indeed. Of course Alabama and Mississippi started behind and yet in the global economy we know this model is hardly ideal. However Goat Hill is bogging down with our insane 1901 Constitution and sensible, moral tax reform to benefit the poor. Regressives (I love that term!) are already trying to knock down Constitutional Reform with fears of taxes going through the roof. At least Alabamians will probably have a law to keep them near to their guns plus we'll avoid our children from seeing something contrary to the common conservative views of God that many of our citizens think is the only spirituality worthy of study. The NRA and the religious right win again! Peace ... or War!