By Bradley Harrington
“The substitution of economic planning for the market economy removes all freedom and leaves to the individual merely the right to obey … There is no sector of human life in which a decision is left to the individual’s value judgments.” — Ludwig von Mises, “Human Action,” 1949 —
Well, Dear Readers, the “ENDOW” Council, Gov. Matt Mead’s pet “Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming” project, is at it again — and if you thought the ideas they came up with the last time I discussed this boondoggle (“ENDOW: Kiss Your Job Goodbye,” WTE, May 21) were outrageous and unreal, wait until you get a load of what they’ve come up with since:
“Before Wyoming can recruit more businesses to diversify its economic base, it needs a key ingredient: People … That’s one of the key findings in the preliminary report issued Thursday [Aug. 31] by the ENDOW Executive Council.” (“Wyoming economic diversification will require a large workforce,” WTE, Sept. 3.)
So, an economy requires people? Who woulda thunk that? And how much did that answer cost the taxpayers? Well, let’s see … “The Wyoming Legislature allocated $2.5 million through legislation to fund the ENDOW initiative through August 2018,” we’re told — where $1.5 million is to be “dedicated to workforce development” with “the remaining $1 million to fund the council’s activities.”
And, since Jerimiah Rieman, Gov. Mead’s “Director of Economic Diversification Strategy and Initiatives” (no, I didn’t just make that up) was quoted as saying that there’s “still around $900,000 of the $1 million activities budget remaining,” it appears that the answer is:
$100,000, with plenty more left to blow on other, future answers, probably with just as much intellectual stature — such as that an economy also requires a breathable atmosphere and a medium of exchange.
Better hold on tight, however, because Mr. Minister of State Economic Propaganda Reiman isn’t through yet:
“‘Our job is not about recruiting businesses, it’s about recruiting people,’ he said. ‘We need to do more to attract and retain people in the state, and that includes taking a look at things such as housing, amenities, jobs for spouses.”
Really, Mr. Rieman? Why stop there? How about roads, hospitals, banking, grocery stores, shopping malls, gas stations, Internet access and shoe prices? Aren’t all of those part of an “economy” as well?
And, if so, isn’t it about time that ENDOW bureaucrats started sticking their noses in those businesses too? Since we no longer trust the free market to provide “housing, amenities and jobs for spouses,” why should we rely on it for any of the other services I just mentioned — or the thousands that I didn’t?
Back in May I stated that ENDOW’s plan was to “slap a top-down, Soviet-style command-and-control over our entire productive sphere.” A few readers wrote me then to tell me I was exaggerating — yet here’s your proof, right out of the horse’s mouth.
Clearly, these ENDOW bureaucrats have no clue about how an economy actually functions, or the role that economic calculation plays in its operation. Once government starts monkeying around with forces and services they obviously don’t comprehend, where will it end? With a Soviet-style economy in practice and not just theory. How’s that going to help bring anybody here to Wyoming?
To the contrary, such aggressive centralized “planning” will drive people out of this state as they “vote with their feet” to populate other, freer, environs, in the same way and for exactly the same reason Germans fled East Berlin for West Berlin in the decades following the conclusion of World War II. What will the ENDOW bureaucrats do then? Build a Wyoming Wall and chain us to our desks?
“Our mandate on the Executive Council,” states ENDOW Co-Chair Greg Hill in a recent ENDOW news release, “is to think differently and challenge the status quo” (“ENDOW Executive Council submits initial report to Governor, Wyoming Legislature,” Aug. 31, www.endowwyo.biz.)
Really, Mr. Hill? In case you haven’t noticed, the “status quo” in the United States today is an intellectually-muddled, economically-bankrupt, half-fascist, half-socialist collectivism, which has driven our economies, state or federal, into near-collapse.
And your answer to the problems generated by such thuggeries is to rush headlong down the road to full-blown totalitarianism, North Korean style? With all due respect, Sir, your ignorance of philosophy, history and economics is truly appalling to contemplate and absolutely pathetic to behold. Have you never studied the Industrial Revolution, or the principles of liberty and individualism that made it possible?
Were you ENDOW bureaucrats truly interested in “challenging the status quo,” you’d be touting free-market capitalism as the real solution to our social and economic problems. Instead, you slop like a herd of swine at the public trough — while you lecture us about “diversity” and “economic organization.” I’d suggest it’s time to get this train wreck off the tracks.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on September 10, 2017.