Monkey paw laws.

Written by Josie Olsen on September 29th, 2009

Lila may have aligned herself with many economists when she put forth the question, “How do you make the invisible visible?” in the film A Day Without a Mexican. While she was referring to another situation, her question is applicable to Bastiat’s definition of what makes a good economist: one who is able to foresee the series of effects an action.

“Each citizen is vigilant with a jealous care to remain his own master. It is by virture of such freedom that the poor hope to emerge from poverty, and that the rich hope to preserve their wealth.” (p 317)

What a powerful commentary on the American dream.  Laws created have been intended to preserve and protect this dream, but many spin into disorder when passed with messy political agendas woven within.  I echo Brent’s observations of the cyclical political game caused by two, four, or six year terms which tempt the politician to seek “quick-fixes,” hiding much larger problems to be exposed and dealt with in somebody else’s office on somebody else’s time.

According to legend a cursed monkey paw could grant its bearer three wishes. However, with each wish new problems and consequences arose from the wish large enough to  make the bearer regret making the wish at all. And so it is (more often than not, it seems) with legislation.

Oh and by the way, here are a few choice quotes I enjoyed from the film:

“You belong to the people who taught you the world.”

“Every Hispanic on the west coast is presumed to be Mexican.”

“California needs them–“, “I wish they would have heard that before.

“Hating them got you Senator, loving them will get you Governor.”

“Why is it that every rich white man who is against minorities is labeled a racist?!”

…and last but not least:

“I had to WASH a dish!”


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