B1 Intermediate US 2104 Folder Collection
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I'm gonna have to ask you to stay back congressman.
What's going on?
Some guy was trying to get into the building when we said no. He started tearing his clothes off.
Sir....sir, I'm one of your constituents
and I wanted to talk to you about some things. I can come back if this is a bad time.
Nobody can hear you.
Well, I realized that I'm not a median voter technically, but I thought you would still want to talk.
Nobody cares about you.
Well, that's a little harsh.
Nothing will come of this.
I get it. Political incentives don't always align with the public good.
Why don't you let these nice gentlemen take you home.
Actually, I live just a few blocks from here. I can totally walk home if they untie me.
Or not. I'll see you at the town hall meeting.
Hello I'm Andrew Heaton and you are watching
EconPop -- the show that lifts the lid on popular culture to rummage through the
festering economic refuse within. Welcome! Today we're going to be discussing the Golden
Globe-winning Netflix original series House of Cards
Take steps back look at the bigger picture
I think I see what you are getting at.
That's how you devour a whale, Doug. One bite at a time.
Next time you wanna feel powerful drink three fingers of scotch and watch House of Cards.
it's like injecting Machiavelli directly in your femoral artery.
It's a show about Frank Underwood a nefarious congressman
and is machinations and scheme to grab more and more power
know I've never been a congressman although I did accept campaign
contributions from Jack Abramoff in 1996
and did some jail time for it however I did work for congress for a little while
so I've actually been there are not politicians which makes me want to talk
to you about public choice theory
public choice theory is basically the idea that politicians stay human
even after they've been elected you don't magically become a selfless robot
once you're sworn in
you still have once and needs just like everybody else
some good some bad when people talk about the government they are not talking
about a big monolithic entity
it's a collection of people and each of those people is making their own
for their own reasons in House of Cards, the decision which base to close or where to
put a project
is not driven by what's actually the best idea. It's decided by horse trading.
I can't do that.
Yes you can, Peter.
I put months on that testimony. I lobbied the commission... my entire office.
I'm sure you've done splendid work but unfortunately it can't come to fruition.
Politics... this force is bigger than either of us at play here.
It's 12,000 jobs.
I know it's a shame.
Now most congressmen are actually pretty good people. They love their families and
deeply care about their districts.
Which leads them to fight for as much money as they can send home.
If a congressman is the son of Iowa corn farmers
and his friends are all corn farmers and for some reason is married to a corn
field or something,
he thinks he's doing a good thing just by getting corn subsidies.
so far this is all at least well-intentioned there's been no
but he magnify the start process by every member of the Senate and every
member of the House
there's a lot of money being spent and yet most people don't care.
this is because a concentrated benefits and dispersed costs.
If I'm a corn farmer, ten million dollars in subsidies is a big deal to me.
Enough to pay a lobbyist to go to Washington on my behalf. But spread out
over three hundred million Americans,
that subsidy is just a few cents. Nobody cares. But you add up
all those cents, pretty soon you've got billions of dollars
all taken out your wallet funneled through washington and put in somebody
else's pocket
Blendon Hill fronts SanCorp industries. SanCorp is deep into natural gas.
I don't give a hoot about natural gas but I have 67 deputy whips and they all need
cash to win races. SanCorp helps me pressure loyalty in return they expect
mine which is degrading, I know.
When the tits that big, everybody gets in line.
This is all reinforced by an interesting paradox -- people hate congress but they left their congressmen.
If Frank Underwood is my representative he's bringing my tax dollars back to my district.
He's putting money towards projects that benefit my community whether that means
hot air balloon researcher teaching dolphin sign language or whatever
but every other congressman is just pork barrel spending
miserable crooks. Now, the corn farming congressman I mentioned earlier
we're still talking about someone who is at least in their mind
doing right by their constituents. We need to remember that congressman
just like anyone else have their own personal interests
like getting reelected which means they have an incentive to support laws based
on their reelection campaign
not on the general good. This can lead to corruption and swapping
favors for campaign contributions. Frank gets Linda her influential White House position,
knowing that it will benefit him later.
Sometimes you get people who are downright evil like Frank Underwood
Are you try to turn this around on me?
That's not all, Lorn. Your easement. You see, every couple years the Piedmont Electric
they apply to bring power lines together
their route comes right through your lot. Now, Gene and I always buy 'em off but this year
if they were to reapply
hmmm.. imminent domain. Be such a shame to have to tear down this beautiful home.
They're just in it for raw unbridled power like Senator Palpatine in Star Wars
And chilling as that thought is, it's also predicated on the idea that politicians
well-intentioned or evil are all competent which is a big leap of faith
we might draw the conclusion that a friend were better person. the
government would be better
Frank could become devoutly spiritual or listen to Tony Robbins nonstop
but even as a good person he'd still be shuttling subsidies back to his district
just like all the other congressmen. Ultimately, every politician desires to
get reelected.
And that covers every law that's passed and every tax dollar that's spent
will I be subject to public choice theory if I were a congressman?
Well you might very well think that but I couldn't possibly comment.
And now it's time for everyone's favorite part of the show
Subjective Value
Where we invite famous economists to give us their two cents.
today we're talking to James M. Buchanan
that's right The James M Buchanan
Hello, thank you for offering me this platform.
I hope you don't mind I invited a few members of the press.
I would just like to say that I am not James Buchanan, Jr.
the15th President of the United States
I was not born in a log cabin in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania.
I did not push for congressional approval of Kansas statehood
under the Wyandotte Constitution.
I was, however, an active Free Mason.
The Sun always rises in the east Brother Andrew.
Six Stars
Well, that's our show thanks for watching be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
if you're looking for more information about public choice theory and the
economics House of Cards,
you can download the EconPop podcast on iTunes
with Steve Horowitz, Paul Cantor, and myself.
See you next time!
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EconPop - The Economics of House of Cards

2104 Folder Collection
Kelly published on December 15, 2014
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