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Wisdom from Arnold

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Arnold Kling channels Hayek on the stimulus plan [2]. Lots of insight. An excerpt:

How many people will have meaningful input in determining the
overall allocation of the billion stimulus? 10? 20? It won’t be more
than 1000. These people–let’s say that in the end 500 technocrats will
play a meaningful role in writing the bill–will have unimaginable
power. Remember that what they are doing is taking our money and
deciding for us how to spend it. Presumably, that is because they are
wiser at spending our money than we are at spending it ourselves.

The arithmetic is mind-boggling. If 500 people have meaningful
input, and the stimulus is almost $800 billion, then on average each
person is responsible for taking more than $1.5 billion of our money
and trying to spend it more wisely than we would spend it ourselves. I
can imagine a wise technocrat taking $100,000 or perhaps even $1
million from American households and spending it more wisely than they
would. But $1.5 billion? I do not believe that any human being knows so
much that he or she can quickly and wisely allocate $1.5 billion.

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