Rob Sharer: Unworkable

November 2, 2012 


Robert Luddy’s Oct. 16 Point of View piece, “Restart the machine,” was accompanied by a nifty illustration [provided by The N&O]. We see three faceless figures – presumably Luddy and his job-creator compatriots – holding gears in their invisible, free-market hands. These mighty men are going to reassemble the machine that is America, make it grind to life.

What follows is a conservative fantasy platform, starting with an anti-regulation plank. No thought is given to the fact that regulations are the only thing standing between ordinary Americans and the externalities and excesses generated by those who want easy profits without accounting for true costs, be they pollution or unsafe products.

The remaining planks focus on the financial interests of the 1 percent, omitting any concern for America’s crumbling infrastructure, or anything else that constitutes the true fabric that holds this great society of ours together.

Examining the illustration, even a first-year engineering student would notice that the cogs don’t match up. What makes this an apt depiction of the ideas it accompanies, however, is the fact that any three gears assembled as shown will refuse to turn. Ill-conceived, mismatched parts, adding up to a frozen mechanism – kudos for a perfect recapitulation of this prescription for disaster.

Rob Sharer


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