1. Permanent solutions to short term problems will create new problems.
  2. Reality is not optional.
  3. Our political differences often hinge on the different meanings we assign to words.
  4. Our political differences also depend on the different priorities we assign to issues.
  5. Crony capitalism is enabled by the principle of focused benefits and dispersed costs; strong motivation for rent seeking and weak motivation to block it.  This leads to regulatory capture where large organizations can influence legislation and regulation to their own benefit.
  6. The more expansive government becomes and the more involved it becomes in all aspects of our lives the more likely it serves special interests rather than the greater good. (George Will- National Affairs Magazine, The Limits of Majority Rule.)
  7. Productive activity benefits the whole society as well as the individuals engaged. Rent seeking behavior enriches the privileged few but decreases the wealth of society.
  8. One should be very reluctant to create any new source of power unless you can imagine it in the hands of your worst nightmare.
  9.  “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”  Thomas Sowell
  10. Good government is a reflection on human nature (Federalist #51) and can only overcome human nature with oppressive force. A government that recognizes and accepts human nature will be much less oppressive than a government that seeks to correct or overcome human flaws.
  11. It is the nature of government to promise benefits without paying for them, hiding the cost in a maze of regulations, mandates, proxies, and sketchy monetary policy.
  12. Entitlements grow by expanding benefits multiplied by expanding eligibility.  This why they dramatically exceed projections and why they are so difficult to reverse. (Cogan- The High Cost of Good Intentions)
  13. In a democracy transfer payments are more about moving money from one middle class constituency to a more influential middle class constituency than it is about moving money from rich people to poor people.
  14. Progress emanates from the work of a very few, unpredictably and often contrary to conventional wisdom. The protection of freedom and individual rights for these few benefits us all more than the rights accruing only to the majority. (Hayek- Constitution of Liberty)
  15. The perfect is the enemy of the good. There are no solutions, “only trade-offs that still leave many desires unfulfilled and much unhappiness in the world. What is needed is a prudent sense of how to make the best trade-offs from the limited options available and a realization that ‘unmet needs’ will necessarily remain.” Sowell.
  16. Being tone deaf and contemptuous are the two most unforgivable sins in politics.
  17. There is a critical distinction between liberty and democracy.  Democracy can be an important means to liberty, but if democracy is the ultimate end and the priority it can easily become destructive to liberty.
  18. In a world of probabilities and unknowns a rational decision can yield bad results.  Flexibility is important, yet it is one of the rarest virtues in politics.
  19. Any ideology explaining human action will be subject to conditions, rules, and limits.
  20. The unarticulated wisdom of time proven institutions and the dispersal of knowledge in a dynamic economy puts centralized planning at a distinct disadvantage. The power wielded by government far exceeds their knowledge.
  21. If you prioritize economic growth over social spending, over time you will have more of both.  If you prioritize social spending over economic growth, over time you will have less of both. (Cowperthwaite- Hong Kong)
  22. If you prioritize freedom over equality you will have more of both. If you prioritize equality over freedom you will have less of both.  Milton Friedman (paraphrased)
  23. There is a thin line between confidence and hubris that is only clear in hindsight.