Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Now that Trump has won the election, says Megan McArdle, we must all come together as a nation for the sake of her and her buddies's careers:
I don't see a moral obligation for anyone to serve in a Trump administration. But people who opposed Donald Trump, on both the left and right, should commit right now to one thing: We will not tar good people for joining the Trump administration. Their motives will not be questioned, and if things do turn out as some of his critics fear, the people in his foreign and domestic policy apparatus will not suffer guilt by association.
And no fair sending them to Den Haag for war crimes.
It is just too important that Trump have good advisers...

..He is going to have to staff regulatory agencies. He is going to have to decide about policy priorities, and push legislation to advance them. If smart, competent people refuse to be a part of that, because they think it’s likely that they will suffer permanent stigma from having joined his team, then Trump's administration will still do all those things -- but it will do them poorly, and the nation will suffer.
"You're way behind quota, General. Why aren't you torturing more prisoners?" "We're trying, Mr. President, but we suffer from a lack of competent personnel!"
...Good economists in an administration cannot come out and say “This is bad policy,” for obvious reasons; their job is to have those conversations internally, and then support their boss’s decisions. That will also be the job of an adviser in a Trump administration, and we want good people in there making the good arguments.
"This must be an error, Mr. President -- it says, 'No taxes on anyone making a million and up'!"
"No error. Get it done."
"But it doesn't make --"
"Do it."
"But I --"
"Won't you at least --"
"Every minute you stand here, I deduct five grand from your salary. (The respected economist flees.) Buh-bye!"

I expect she's already given instructions for the design of her inaugural gown. (re: the title -- see the end of this review.)

UPDATE. A number of commenters (and comments are, as always at alicublog, excellent) wish it pointed out that McArdle opens her essay by praising Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys' service to the brutal dictator Pinochet, when in fact their libertarian bullshit immiserated Chile.

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