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The Policy Illusion Dominates in DC

Washington D.C.
Washington D.C.

One of the depressing things about Washington, DC—where I've been for the last two days—is how much confidence the smartest people in our nation's capital have in policy. Whether they are politically left or right, Democratic partisans or Republican stalwarts, the cognitively advantaged people in Washington tend to be sure that if only we adopted the right policies we could ameliorate our social or economic problems.

They get the idea that "policy" might be highly ineffective or counter-productive. But only the other side's policies. There is simply no awareness that there may not be policy palliatives to what ails us.

It's always a matter of getting policy right.

The policy illusion seems to be endemic to Washingtonians. I imagine that it must might be too dispiriting for them to acknowledge that the economy might be immune to political fixes, that any attempt to improve, say, the jobs situation is likely to make things worse.

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