Posts tagged: bow ties

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

By , February 28, 2011 11:50 am

The New York post has a column today about the prescience of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of my favorite people.

According to writer Bob McManus, Moynihan saw the future of public unions, and it was not rosey.

“[NYU economics professor William J.] Baumol started out by asking himself why the costs of the performing arts always seemed to be rising” Moynihan wrote. “I remarked that if you want a Dixieland band for a campaign rally today, you will need the same [number of] players you would have needed at the beginning of the century. Productivity just hasn’t changed much.”

But per-player costs — salaries and benefits — had risen dramatically, and the price of that Dixieland band along with them.

So, too, the price of health care, the senator argued. An already labor-intensive industry was becoming even more so with each technological advance — driving per-patient productivity ever lower and overall costs inexorably higher.

The same, he said, is true of what he termed the “stagnant [public-sector] services” — including “education high and low, welfare, the arts, legal services, the police. This means that the [costs] of the public sector will continue to grow.”

Moynihan had an eye for what seems obvious today. And he was not shy about telling others what he saw, a trait that served him well–and impressed me–when he served as the U.S.’s ambassador to the United Nations.

My cousin, then an aide to Senator Alan Simpson, once arranged a tour of the Capitol for me. The highlight was when a door swung open as I walked by, revealing Senator Moynihan, bow tie and all, talking to someone behind what had been closed doors.

The Democrats–hell, the Republicans–could use someone like him right now.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy