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Eric Sevareid’s Law

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Excerpted from Thoughts on Immigration into the United States, by Albert A. Bartlett:

When we’re searching for solutions to the problem of growing demand exceeding supply, we should never forget Eric Sevareid’s Law. Sevareid was a national journalist, and he observed that:

The chief source of problems is solutions.”

As an example: the actions of the Congress to encourage domestic production of ethanol from corn were offered as the solution to the problem of impending shortages of automotive fuel that are the result of population growth. Corn is being diverted from the food supply to the fuel supply. As a direct consequence, the price of corn has risen rapidly and this affects the prices of all manner of food items. The higher food costs are the new problem caused by the solution to the problem of the impending shortage of automotive fuel. In the U.S. and abroad, this higher cost of food is a hidden tax on all who eat.

Ronald Reagan, in one of the finest speeches of the last century, put it this way: “For three decades, we’ve sought to solve [these] problems… and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan.”

Hat tip: Lee.


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