Monday, January 26, 2009

Yes he did!

I will second Radley Balko's praise for Obama's early moves towards openness and transparency in government. Government is the slave of the people and not the reverse. Transparency reduces monitoring costs and so improves performance.

The one bit I will disagree with are the salary caps for top aides. The government competes in the same labor market as everyone else and I would rather have good people than ideologues who are willing to work at below-market rates in order to indulge their political fantasies. Also, seems to me that, like Adam Smith said, paying wages a bit above market is a good way to reduce corruption as it increases the cost of detection and subsequent job loss. The populist fascination with the upper end of the government salary distribution (with the exception, of course, of the salaries of winning college football coaches) is just that, a populist fascination. Like most populist fascinations, it should be resisted.

Hat tip: and Will Wilkinson