Abolish economic stats.
I see a bunch of Republicans have introduced a bill which would abolish the collection of economic stats by government. The parasites and special interests have gone mental by the looks of it:
“They simply wouldn’t exist. We won’t have an unemployment rate,” said Ken Prewitt, the former director of the U.S. Census who is now a professor of public affairs at Columbia University.
“I don’t know how the market reacts if there is suddenly no unemployment rate at the start of the month,” Prewitt said. “How does the market react if we don’t have a GDP?”
“Do they understand that these data that the Census Bureau collects are fundamental to everything else that’s done?” asked Maurine Haver, founder of business research firm Haver Analytics and a past president of the National Association for Business Economics. “They think the country doesn’t need to know how many people are unemployed, either?”
It’s not only a sensible idea, but a necessary act. An economically-literate government would sack all the number crunchers and all the economic advisors.
Sir John Cowperthwaite knew this. He was the financial secretary of Hong Kong during its astonishing rise to wealth in the poet-war period. He was sent out by London to replicate the kind of interventions into the economy which were happenening at home. Unfortunately for London (and fortunately for Hong Kong), they chose the wrong man.
Asked what the key thing poor countries should do, Cowperthwaite once remarked, “They should abolish the office of national statistics.” He refused to collect all but the most superficial statistics, believing they led the state to fiddle about remedying perceived ills, thus hindering the working of the market. This caused consternation: a Whitehall delegation was sent to find out why employment statistics were not being collected, but the financial secretary literally sent them back on the next plane.
Cowperthwaite understood that government intervention into the economcy, and the distortions which arise form it, were based on statistics. Without the stats, no-one could use them to argue for more intervention. All socialist states rely heavily on them to plan economies, to plan interventons and then to plan more interventions to overcome the problems caused by the previous interventionist policies. It’s by statistics that governments plan and regulate and control.
Sacking government number crunchers won’t do away with statistics of course. Consumers and businesses will have all the info they need, as now, and that’s all that’s needed for an economy to function just fine.