In his classic essay on economics, “Economics in One Lesson,” Henry Hazlitt stresses the importance of not looking at the short-term effects of a policy, but to evaluate policy over the course of years. Don’t celebrate the immediate effects of minimum wage laws; instead look at Wendy’s which is introducing automation at over 1,000 stores. You can look at politics and politicians through the same lens. As of 2015, 79 members of Congress had been in office for over 20 years; a position that that was meant to signify a short-term duty to one’s country had essentially been turned into a Fortune 500 company.
The corrupting influence of power is seen on a daily basis in the corporate world. Martin Shkreli raises the price of life-saving medicine and calls it a business decision since the costs are covered by insurance. Mylan lobbied for years to make the Epipen mandatory at all public schools, effectively setting up a monopoly on the mandatory medicine which they promptly raised prices on. The point is, there is public outrage at these abuses of corporate power yet we never look at the root cause. Sure Shkreli is a dick, and Mylan is greedy – that’s human nature; but they were simply taking advantage of rules and regulations passed by Congress. Rules which were meant to protect the consumer are being exploited by the producer to eliminate competition and raise prices for the rest of us.
Power corrupts. Most members heading off to their first terms in Congress want to do the right thing, keep their campaign promises, and be a hero to the people who elected them. Then they get into office and in order to pass their number one issue they agree to vote for a bill that would compromise their ethics, ideals, and campaign promises, soon the lobbyists smell blood and pounce; the half-life of an ethical politician is measured in days, not years.
Which is why enemies of the establishment should desperately want to see the Trump Administration succeed. Trump ran as a “political disruptor.” A man whose background was in business, not politics, was seen as refreshing. He spoke his mind and he stood up for the people. He was seen as an outsider running against the most establishment candidate in history.
And he won.
If Donald Trump fails and doesn’t drain the swamp, continues to embarrass himself on an international stage, and continues to lie it gives Democrats and Republicans who are pro-establishment an example they can point to. “See, without career politicians we cannot run the country.”
There is no obvious connection between Trump and liberty, only that liberty-lovers constantly hoist up the need for an outsider to come in and disrupt the system. Even though Trump shares hardly any of my ideals, watching him fail would give the John McCain’s and Nancy Pelosi’s of the world a failure to point to. If Trump is unable to get anything accomplished, future academics will point out how important having experience in government is needed in running said government which would mean more career politicians, and more of the same. The best possible outcome, for those who are pro term limits, is for Trump to have four quit years, then decide he doesn’t want to run for re-election.