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InsiderOnline Blog: November 2010

Is Politics a Coordination Problem?

Sometimes it’s tempting to say liberals just don’t get it on spending. But maybe they do get it. At the Enterprise Blog, James DeLong offers an alternative explanation for states like California:

[I]t looks like everyone in California is playing a multiplayer version of chicken, sometimes characterized as “someone around here better be reasonable, and it is certainly not going to be me.”

All the parties must recognize that the state has severe problems, but no one seems to be taking any responsibility for addressing them. Thus the Silicon Valley barons protected their investments in “green” technology by spending millions to defeat the effort to suspend the job-killing CO2 caps, the public employee unions refused to budge an inch on anything, and the state re-elected a senator who supports turning the Central Valley into a desert for the sake of the Delta Smelt. …

As oft-noted, the way to win a two-car game of chicken is to take off your steering wheel and throw it out the window, thus showing the other player that you are committed to win or die. In California, it looks like many cars are racing toward each other, and all have thrown their steering wheels out the window, which should produce a result entertaining only to owners of scrap yards.

Of course, all of California’s interests may be conspiring to play the “someone around here better be reasonable, and it is certainly not going to be us” game against the rest of the nation, counting on the federal government to be too responsible to allow economic disaster to engulf the state. So one of the early acts of the new Congress should be to throw the federal steering wheel out the window, ensuring that there will be no bailout of California.

Posted on 11/08/10 05:24 PM by Alex Adrianson

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