Paul Krugman in the New York Times: “Many people have described the Trump administration as a kakistocracy — rule by the worst — which it is. But it’s also a hackistocracy — rule by the ignorant and incompetent. And in this Trump is just following standard G.O.P. practice.
“Why do hacks rule on the right? It may simply be that a party of apparatchiks feels uncomfortable with people who have any real expertise or independent reputation, no matter how loyal they may seem. After all, you never know when they might take a stand on principle.”
One aspect of this may be going back to the tradition of using deficit spending and/or printing money to goose up the economy in the year before a presidential election. This was fairly popular in the 1960s. Apparently, Nixon did a particularly severe version in 1972, including imposing wage and price controls to suppress the inflation it caused. But the Volker/Greenspan reign got the public on board with monetary policy as a technocratic preserve.
Buried in all this is a fascinating problem: How do you escape from the rule by elites? Modern countries have evolved to the point where at best the top layer of political leaders are elected, and all they set are general policies. Those policies are turned into reality by layers of bureaucrats who are not only unelected, but increasingly selected only from the well-educated “professional” class. So no matter what the politicians say, the implementation tends to be what is favorable to the professional class. The classic stereotype being the regulation that is so complicated, you have to hire a lawyer to determine what you are allowed to do — thus, one arm of the professional class requires everybody to hire another arm of the professional class to avoid routinely breaking the law.
This class-narroness of the actual governing class is getting to be a real problem in modern society. A fairly shrewd analysis is in
And like all elites, they believe that they not only rule because they can, but because they should. Even many quite left-wing folks do not fundamentally question the idea that the world should be run by highly verbal people who test well and turn their work in on time. They may think that machine operators should have more power and money in the workplace, and salesmen and accountants should have less. But if they think there’s anything wrong with the balance of power in the system we all live under, it is that clever mandarins do not have enough power to bend that system to their will. For the good of everyone else, of course. Not that they spend much time with everyone else, but they have excellent imaginations. — “America’s New Mandarins” by Megan McArdle
Trump is about, if anything, the moderately-educated lower-middle-class seizing power from the professional class. But buried in that is the question of how to seize power from the professional-class bureaucrats. It’s likely that change will make the regulations less effective. But that’s the cost of taking them out of the hands of people who will bias them in favor of the well-educated.