You know that “Ah Ha!” feeling when an answer is given to a question not posed? When it occurs, you are presented with a “Missing Link”, an insight into understanding some aspect of the workings of the world. It happened to this author during a TV interview with former HHC Secretary Tommy Thompson.*
Not only did this discussion reveal the missing link to how Romney’s healthcare plan could work in a state (additional federal funding) yet not on the national level (no place else to go but to the tax coffers), but it also showed the blind spot to a whole host of other seemingly good ideas that don’t work in the real world.
That “Missing Link” is the outside source of energy (or capital) which is never part of the original equation.
For instance, Greece and the EU: Unlike our federal system where funds can be directed to a particular state for a particular purpose, the EU does not have that same relationship to its member countries. Thus there is the inordinate pressure on one successful economy such as Germany to take from its own national coffers and bolster that of a liberally profligate one.
Sustainable Green Energy: The examples of that unacknowledged energy (and capital) requirement are legion, but an ad for the Chevy Volt is a good case in point. It draws our attention to the fact that besides the battery (charged by an outside energy source) there is also a gasoline filler cap so as to assure us it has “extended range”.
Globalization and Economic Interdependence: At first blush, it looks like a fair and just way to raise the fortunes of the less fortunate in third world countries. But there again is a hidden requirement for energy and capital (which is a form of energy exchange) in the equation. China is a perfect example. It worked fine when there was a low cost energy (cheap labor); working often in either state owned enterprises or selected national champion businesses, supported by artificially low interest or often no loan repayment. Keeping its currency artificially low in value is another way to obscure the hidden energy that drives the economy.
There is no such thing as perpetual motion, be it within the laws of physics or the economic laws of the marketplace. All these well intentioned wheels of healthcare, sustainable green energy, or national economics eventually need an energy input not acknowledged, often not even imagined by the interest groups and politicians who first started those concepts spinning.
Here in America, there is a very real concern that as energy is sapped out of our nation’s wheel of good fortune by higher taxes and regulation. The necessary outside source of entrepreneurship energy and innovation that has kept the economy spinning is being weakened.
Perhaps only too late in this chain of events will it be discovered that over looked Missing Link.