The State of the Union, and other fictions

Why bother?

A reader asks why I didn’t live-blog the SOTU. Genuine answer: I’ve been furiously busy lately, and didn’t have time for that or other blogging activities.

Snarky answer: Why bother? After the Inaugural, which seemed to have some significant policy content (with which, as it happens, I mostly agree) we got follow-ups, first from a “senior official,” then from Poppy, and finally from Dubya himself, all saying “Just kidding! Never mind.”

So I figured it was much more cost-effective and less stressful to just read what Kevin had to say about it and check Nick’s round-up at PBD.

In addition, I figured that if anything important happened that Kevin and Nick both happened to miss, one of my readers would tell me about it. Sure enough, my inbox contains the following little gem:

Did you notice that our esteemed President essentially committed securities fraud in representing that private investment accounts WILL perform better than anything the present system could do? Certainly, no one can honestly make that statement and any stockbroker making such a statement would be violating Rule 10b 5 of the Securities Act of 1934.

Which reminds me of my favorite snarky policy suggestion: How about applying the Sarbanes-Oxley certification process to budget submissions and other communications from the Executive to Congress or the public? Someone ought to be prepared to say about each submission, “Yes, I understand what’s in this document, and certify that it is accurate.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com