Monday, September 19, 2005

Beware the Easy Answer

First impressions are usually correct. First reactions are almost always wrong, particularly on the political level.

Toss some blame around, and people are looking for some easy problems to solve. I get very worried when someone points at a downside of old principles and say that the principle must be discarded. "Damn the consequences, I have to do something now!"

First is the Mississippi Attorney General seeking to invalidate flood exclusion clauses in home owners insurance policies. Sure, it makes it look like the AG is looking out for the injured little guy, but what happens later? Suddenly, the AG has precedent to step in and say that a mutually agreed upon contract is unfair and that the terms to which the parties are bound must be changed. The beauty of contracts is that it allows a person to make an agreement with the ability to predict what that agreement's costs and benefits are going to be. How likely are you to enter into a contract where you can wake up one day and find yourself with huge new obligations? Contracts reduce risk for both sides. Good job AG Jim Hood, for injecting yet more arbitrary risk back into the economy.

Second is the pressure for the Federal Government to send in troops faster. Posse Commitatus, however, is a powerful check against that power. Therefore, it's gotta to go. President decides that there is a state of emergency, send in the army. Of course, once the army is there, who's going to argue with them? Do you trust President Bush not to use that power capriciously? I'll be fair and say that half of you do and half of you don't, and leave you hanging on my answer. Next question: do you trust President Bush's successor? Don't know who he or she will be? Neither do I, and I don't trust people I don't know (especially without a contract).

That's the problem with the world, its being run by people. Have a good monday.

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