Jan 202012

Press reports (see this one in the Seattle Times) say Democratic legislators in Olympia are promoting the formation of a taxpayer-owned bank. Makes me wonder if the effort to legalize pot has burrowed its way a little too deeply into hallowed halls in Olympia.

Hasn’t Olympia got enough on its plate without dreaming up some new way for elected officials to reward their friends and punish their enemies? Basic public education, for example. Washington’s Supreme Court has just ruled that this most fundamental obligation is not being met. How about higher education? A new study reports that only 40% of Washingtonians who start high school will enter college on time. Employers have to go out of state to find skilled workers.

I’m no defender of the banks that played by “heads I win, tails you lose” rules and wrecked the economy.  But when I read that Olympia wants to set up a public bank, I can’t help but recall something Andy Grove, the Intel founder, said once by way of explaining why the public sector can’t keep up with the pace of change in high technology:

This is easy to understand. High tech runs three times faster than normal businesses. And the government runs three times slower than normal businesses. So we have a nine-times gap.

Stick to your knitting, Olympia. You’ve got enough to do.

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