The worst domestic policy ideas of 2012

  • Article by: EDITORIAL , Bloomberg News
  • Updated: December 31, 2012 - 5:13 PM

What follows is a list of policies that, frankly, we wish we'd never heard of:

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cstoney48Dec. 31, 12 5:39 PM

Wasteful spending bloggers--here is your fertile ground. Plow it well!!!

my4centsDec. 31, 1210:53 PM

Two examples that stand out as placing the writers on the wrong side of logic 1) "debt relief to borrowers who owe much more than their homes are worth." --- Why should other taxpayers, those who were smart enough not to buy what they couldn't afford, be forced to subsidize the foolish choices of others? 2) Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan. While the numbers may have needed some tweaking, the idea of scrapping the humongous tax code and paying one flat rate would have saved taxpayers billions in complicated tax filing. It would also have allowed us to reduce the size of the IRS by about 90% since there would be very little validation to be done. Instead we're stuck with the politicians dream of more and more tax laws written to win votes and power.

jdlellis1Jan. 1, 13 1:20 AM

The worst and on-going poor policy is an electorate abdicating personal responsibility with demands that government is obligated to provide all things to all people coupled with legislators who believe it is their obligation to do so despite the U.S. Constitution adopted with a framework to limit the role of the federal government.

FrankLJan. 1, 13 1:30 AM

Yes, lets cripple our economy with higher energy costs by demonizing coal. We have a 500 year supply. The policy should be that we start reducing when the rest of the world does the same. China builds a new coal plant every week, India fired their Interior Minister for failing to increase coal production. Even Japan realized it was fruitless to reduce CO2, when her neighbors are increasing CO2 emissions.

dvsdan123Jan. 1, 13 8:46 AM

The first one should have been "Don't spend more than we take in."

elle2008Jan. 1, 1310:10 AM

The Banks just agreed to a huge settlement so that the Legislators stop investigating them. Get Bribery out of our Govt. Also, why are we funding farmers? They are a business. We don't insure businesses for failing. I think this Country is whack.

swmnguyJan. 1, 1310:10 AM

I'd nominate two more idiotic domestic policy issues:

- Our ongoing policy of ignoring the real costs of our health care finance system. Why are school districts and local and state units of government in such financial trouble? Why are jobs so tight, and so many labor disputes involve employer strikes (lockouts)? It's the cost of providing health care. Nobody gets into public works or teaching or working at a sugar beet plant for the salary. The issue is the cost of health care, which cost at least twice as much in the US as it does in any other developed nation. Because of the involvement of Finance.

- Our ongoing policy of dumping every neglected area of socio-economic dysfunction onto the schools, and then blaming the schools for not meeting unrealistic goals. There are a lot of students who only ever see a doctor, dentist, optometrist, or even get breakfast and lunch through the schools. What the heck is that? School employees are often the first observers and reporters of abuse, psychological and emotional issues, medical problems, and so on among our kids, whom we claim to love so much as a nation but claim we can't afford to take care of decently. Additionally, now that business refuses to train employees, we have the absurd goal of getting every child ready for college, so they can self-finance their own employee training. This only creates degree-inflation, such that part-time clerical jobs require a four-year degree at student expense. A few generations ago, only about a quarter of Americans went to college, and anyone with a high school diploma who was willing to work could get a job that could support a family. And they didn't have five-figure or six-figure debt before their first full-time job, either.

Both of my examples stem from the real elephant in the room, which is the way the financialization of our social and economic system is destroying America. But that's one of those things that's so pervasive most people can't even sense it, like a fish doesn't comprehend the nature of water and most people never think about air.

guessagainJan. 1, 1310:28 AM

jdlellis1Jan. 1, 13 1:20 AM ====== "despite the U.S. Constitution adopted with a framework to limit the role of the federal government." The language in the Constitution is anything but limiting. The limits on the power of the congress contained in Article I, Section 9 are dwarfed the powers granted to Congress in Section 8 of that Article. And the most expansive language is at the end of Section 8: "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." The founders wanted the government to grow and change as our population grew and our country changed. The "small government" meme of the far right has absolutely zero basis in fact.

my4centsJan. 1, 1311:42 AM

swmnguy - I can agree with you to an extent - but much of the problems you speak about are the direct result of earlier government intervention. Our health care system has been regulated to death, and those regulations add more and more to our costs. Our "socio-economic dysfunction" hasn't been dumped on schools - they have been mandated on the schools through government regulations. And, while many employers still offer training, this has to be limited since government mandates paying a minimum wage even to those who are not yet capable of doing the job. Most small business owners can't afford to pay for additional employees who can't already be productive. They could do this, and many would have people willing to learn and be trained, if they could do so cheaply. Working as an apprentice for a year at no pay would be a far better bargain than to attend a technical school for a year or two and pay for tuition - but government gets in the way.

cyberhaze9Jan. 1, 1312:06 PM

Great points, SWMNGUY and elle208, the elephant in the room is the regulation of the finance industry as well as the complete capture of our government by business interests. It is now more profitable for a company to lobby congress that to create a new product or increase efficiency. I would add both the previous settlement and OCC enforcement order with the too big to fail banks as well as the emerging new, even more favorable settlement, with the top 14 banks as top domestic policy flops, up with the top policy flops in our country's history. Why not add in the near nonexistent and unfunded task force that was supposed to be pursuing criminal prosecutions against the big banks and executives and the trillions in freshly printed money being pumped into these same institutions that caused the crash for near 0% interest. The same institutions that were too big 4 years ago and are 30% bigger today. Could there be any clearer blatant evidence of corruption, could there be any less constructive policy of creating a stable economy based on free market competition and the rule of law? The President and Congress claim to be making programs to help homeowners, but all of theses programs are merely releasing the banks of liability for a pittance.


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