State and local governments and their governors associations, mayors associations, state legislatures, corrections commissioners, and more; big and small business lobbies; and, yes, nonprofit sector lawyer-lobbyists—all three federal proxies exert nonstop pressure in favor of federal policies that pay them to administer federal business, with as few strings attached as possible, and with lots of paperwork but little real accountability for performance and results.
Pointer from Tyler Cowen. DiLulio coins the phrase “proxy-administered state” to describe how government works today. It is hard to say which is more despair-inducing in the essay–the facts or the analysis.
I have said before that there are three forms of political economy:
1. Market economy: the private sector sets goals and owns the means of production
2. Socialist: the government sets goals and owns the means of production. Think of the public school system.
3. Corporatist (or Cronyist): the government sets goals and the private sector owns the means of production. Think of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae back when they were owned by shareholders, or think of Obamacare. These are examples of the proxy-administered state.
Speaking of Obamacare, it seems increasingly clear that it has moved the Overton Window on health care policy. You are not allowed to substitute individual responsibility for Obamacare. Instead, you must come up with a “better” system. The ground rules for any new health care system now state that responsibility for your ability to obtain health insurance ultimately rests with the Federal government.