Well we have a new president in the wings. Bush has been a disaster and I’m glad he’s finally going. However I wonder how much change we’re really gonna get. Obviously everyone’s list of things they want to change is different. Here’s my in no particular order of importance and how much change I expect:
1. Get rid of government support for domestic ethanol and the tariff on Brazilian ethanol or wherever else it comes from (yeah right).
2. Get rid of farm subsidies (yeah right)
3. Get government out of the energy policy business (yeah right). I don’t object to emissions taxes or tradable permits to capture the cost of pollution. In fact this is the right thing to do from an economic perspective. But we should get rid of tax breaks that favor specific technologies whether they be oil, gas, wind, solar, Priuses or whatever else. These are almost always special-interest giveaways and once they become embedded are very hard to get rid of even if the technology in question becomes obsolete.
4. Get a government with an ingrained understanding of the benefits of trade (yeah right). Bush supported trade when it was convenient and otherwise imposed safeguards. Most trade restrictions, such as the safeguards or when we asked the Japanese to voluntarily restrict their exports to us in the 80s, are about as smart as asking OPEC to pump less oil so we can have more employment in our domestic oil industry.
5. End the economic sanctions on Cuba. Obama used to give this some play. Hopefully he’lll revive it now that the election is over.
6. Make the car companies compete on their own merits (yeah right). If you had a choice between investing in the next Google or GM which would you do? Why would you want your government to invest your tax dollars any differently? Do I feel sorry for the workers who will lose their jobs and retirees who stand to lose benefits? Yes, but those workers and retirees will only be increasing and if these companies aren’t profitable then their ability to help them will decrease further. Instead of pouring more money down the hole, why not husband it and if there are bankruptcies, use the money to assist the workers and retirees (yes there may be problems with this too but better than not stopping the continual drain).
I’m sure I’ll think of more as time goes on. I sincerely hope the next 4 or 8 years are better than the last, but I’m fearful alot of the things on my change list aren’t gonna improve soon.