Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Worst Ever

James Fallows, over at the Atlantic, just had a contest for the worst public policy decision ever. What he meant by that was the adoption of a policy that everybody knew would be certain to not achieve its objectives, but was proposed anyway. This was in the context of the gas tax holiday proposed by McCain and endorsed by Clinton, which everyone knew is certain not to achieve the objective of putting more money into the pockets of ordinary Americans.

The winner? Ethanol fuel subsidies.

My entry? Earl Butz and Richard Nixon’s program planting corn from fence rail to fence rail. Not unrelated, but it wasn’t clear at the time just what a bad idea that was.

The day after he announced the winner, I pointed out that he had closed the contest too soon.