I want to say something about the Mueller report, but I first I need to make at least a brief response to the many interesting comments sparked by my recent posts.
First things first. I am appalled, chagrined, and embarrassed to admit that I wrongly attributed the invention of Linear Programming to Wassily Leontief instead of to Leonid Kantorovich. Leontief invented input-output analysis. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Or, as they say in the neighborhood I came from, SCHMUCK!
Second, I hope it is obvious by now that regardless of my feelings about Mayor Pete, if the wins the nomination, I will work as hard for him as I did for Clinton, whom I hate. I can be rightly accused of many things [including ignorance – see above] but not of self-defeating political purity.
Finally, from the comments, including a fascinating screed passed on to me by Professor David Auerbach, it is obvious that I don’t know beans about Accounting. The example I gave in my essay was what we philosophers call a thought experiment, or as it is now referred to, a trolley car. However, the knowledgeable critiques of my cardboard example simply confirm my central point, which is that the sort of market based determination of economic decisions which von Mises argued would always be superior to socialist planning are now impossible, and have long been replaced by decision making that has an unavoidable quasi-political structure. There is much more to be said, but I want to talk about Mueller.
Some commentators on this blog have pooh-poohed the charges of collusion, insisting that there is no evidence of that, even though, to many of us, the evidence has been in plain sight. Now that the Mueller report is available, even with redactions, I think the facts are clear.
Let me begin with the word “collusion.” By now we all understand that there is no statute concerning collusion. There are statutes concerning conspiracy, including, but not limited to, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO statute. Mueller concluded that he did not have admissible evidence sufficient to make a case beyond a reasonable doubt of violations of RICO and other applicable statutes.
However, that does not even address the question whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. That is not a legal question [there being no statute criminalizing collusion]. That is a question of fact and ordinary English usage.
So, what is collusion? Or rather, what does the word “collusion” mean in ordinary English? Well, I asked Google, and this is what it told me:
“Collude: cooperate in a secret or unlawful way in order to deceive or gain an advantage over others.” [By the way, nice note: the word comes from the Latin meaning “to play together.”]
Did Trump and his campaign cooperate in a secret or unlawful way in order to deceive or gain an advantage over others? Did they ever! Mueller’s report is replete with countless examples of exactly that. I won’t go through them all. You can do that yourselves. With whom were they cooperating? With the Russians, with one another, endlessly, clumsily, eagerly, enthusiastically, sometimes successfully and other times not. Did they collude? From the detailed evidence of the Mueller report, they seem to have done very little else!
Did it do any good? Who the hell knows? It is hard enough to tell whether TV advertising helps a campaign, whether personal appearances help, whether free media help, whether having a deep baritone voice helps. But did they collude? Did they give it the good old college try?