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VP debate quickie

Yesterday morning I was buying coffee in Hoboken when I overheard three college-age guys planning their evening around the "comedy show" of another Sarah Palin train-wreck performance. I'm guessing they were ultimately disappointed, unless of course they were hitting the bong pretty hard, because it wasn't really much of a "zany laff riot." As with the Obama/McCain debate, I thought both sides did pretty well, and there were no huge mistakes or knockout blows. So with this ridiculous expectations game we play, I guess that means Sarah won.

But I liked her performance for another reason. She repeatedly spoke of getting the government "out of the way" of free men and free women. That warmed the cockles of my heart (whatever cockles are) because it's something I've heard damned little of in this campaign (okay, except for Ron Paul) and almost none at all from the other three candidates. It also took some real stones to say that, given how hard the Democrats are pushing this "deregulation is to blame!" narrative during our current fiscal crisis. But there's some evidence to indicate she's on pretty safe ground there, and it reminded me of why I became a Republican in the first place.

UPDATE: BTW, did anyone but me watch it on CNN? Watching the analysts scorecards was more entertaining than the debate itself.


Boy, you're an easy lay. Just that one line, huh?

Seriously, I think the Rassmussen question is similar to the generic Democrat question as someone generic is always better than the person running. If you asked the same people whether government should do something about this or that, then you'd receive a different response.

The question is not whether government is the problem but what government should do and what government should leave alone. Last night, Palin talked about Wall Street corruption. Well, check out the history of mutual funds and you will see how they operated BEFORE there was government regulation. Do you want to go back to the days of wildcat banks?

If you say oh you're being ridiculous now, then you're agreeing that government has a role to play in our lives.

>Boy, you're an easy lay.

It's a fair cop.

>If you say oh you're being ridiculous now, then you're agreeing that government has a role to play in our lives.

Yes it does. I've never been much of an anarchist, and I want to avoid doing the same thing here that pisses me off when other people do it talking about the financial crisis.

I hate these debates about "regulation" versus "deregulation" being the culprits here, without any discussion whatsoever about what *kinds* of regulation. Without some level of specifics -- acknowledging that some regulations are appropriate, some aren't, and some can be downright harmful -- the debate is nonsense. They make it sound as if you could toss the Federal Register on a scale and as soon as it tipped a certain number of pounds, our economy would be "safe."

So I'm not about that kind of contextless absolutism. But it's still pretty remarkable that this is almost the first limited-government rhetoric I've heard in this race at all, and this is supposed to be the party of Reagan and Goldwater.

"But I liked her performance for another reason. She repeatedly spoke of getting the government "out of the way" of free men and free women. That warmed the cockles of my heart "

LOL. The whole republican "posturing" and gimmick against government is evolving into a bad joke. The republicans the last 8 years did not take government "out of the way". They just weakened it and corrupted it more than ever. Only third world countries have weak governments. Serious countries have serious and efficient governments (see Europe, Canada, Australia and the US under Clinton). Everyone is entitled to believe in any utopia they want. Libertarianism is not any less utopic or out of touch with reality than different forms of other utopias(i.e. different forms of communism, maoism, etc.).

The fact remains that there is no way to function without government in civilized societies in the 21st century. Palin simply repeated what they told her to say. But the ones who told her to say those things are simply deceiving naive voters who believe in the "less taxes" and "less government" slogans. Anyway, Palin has obviously no opinions of her own. She is a politically illiterate person who was drugged into this simply because of her gender and her bizzare religious extremism.

Ah, but then she ruined the part about personal responsibility (which I am very much in favor of) by saying that it was all the fault of greedy (and insane - my words) bankers who "tricked" people into getting more than they could afford. The heck is that?

K, yeah, she clearly wasn't playing to the K/Bazzer corner on that one. I cringed a bit myself.

It's funny. The first thing I often do when showing up to work is speak to this libertarian co-worker. He's a hardliner, is against any bailout on principle, and is going to vote for Barr.

Anyways, we've pretty much worked out a government that could please both of us. In exchange for the Department of Agriculture moving into an abandoned 7-11, I get to keep social security as it is. We also agree pretty much on what reasonable regulations for Wall Street would be.

The problem I have with statements like "government is the problem" is that it leads us to attack the parts of government that do work.

"The problem I have with statements like "government is the problem" is that it leads us to attack the parts of government that do work."

Exactly. And we have seen the outcome the last 8 years. Weakened government is unable to perform basic functions (one example is Katrina). People who believe that government should not exist can not run a government effectively. This republican/libertarian philosophy is good for utopic/academic purposes but it is extremely dangerous at the practical level. It is a philosophy that has failed at the practical level, as much as marxism has.

There aren't any Republicans who feel "government shouldn't exist."

In FACT you sound like a Guiliani supporter - Rudy improved NYC with a "more efficient, streamlined government focused on law enforcement instead of "root cause-based" social programs.

I accept and support increased military, law enforcement and Homeland Security measures, though I want all those agencies to run as efficiently and cost-effectively as is possible.

With the U.S. military as a primary "jobs training" tool, there's a lot less need for expensive social programs.

Like the U.S., France and Germany (along with the rest of Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, etc.) are Corporatist economies that just did exactly what America did back in 1980 - abandoned Keynesian (Big Government Liberalism) in favor of more market-based (Supply-Side) policies.

The free market doesn't exist anywhere any more and the command economy ("scientific socialism") has shown that it CANNOT work.

That leaves Corporatism, which IS the de facto economy of the entire industrialized world.

Within the Corporatist framework, there is the more market-based Supply-Side view and the more command-based or heavilly regulated Keynesian view.

Of the two, Supply Side policies clearly work best.

If that wasn't so, the PEOPLE of France and Germany wouldn't have overwhelmingly abandoned a Keynesian model with a huge welfare state bureaucracy, a 36 hour work week and eight weeks of vacation per year for workers.

Like the people of France and Germany, I TOO wish that those kind of Keynesian policies COULD work....but I wish it would rain root beer too.

Sadly wishing doesn't make things happen.

"The problem I have with statements like "government is the problem" is that it leads us to attack the parts of government that do work." (PE)

Here's the problem with that view point PE, the natural inertia of ALL governmental entities is to see "more government" (in the form of expanding their operations) as "the answer."

Even under Gingrich (the only time when government spending was "cut"), there were really very few cuts that created the late 1990s surpluses, there were mainly cuts in the projected rise in the cost of specific programs.

So even those most inclined to "rein in government" are rarely able to keep that momentum in tact, or even keep themselves from getting caught up in it.

For instance the Post Office delivers the mail...I don't think that's "good enough." Like the private sector routinely does, I want to see the USPS continually seek to do MORE with LESS (less resources, less workers, less cost).

In places like NYC where government is huge, those government resources (from police and fire to education and social services) exist in a symbiotic, virtually parasitic nature off the private sector.

Once taxes reach a tipping point, businesses move out of a region or simply cease to exist, when it becomes "no longe cost-effective" do so....that results in a contraction in revenues which mandates a restriction in government services.

Better to ALWAYS seek to MAKE government merely SUBSIST on the least amount of revenue possible, rather than risk strangling off the private sector that provides all the revenues government needs to exist.

Every criticism of the current administration whether it's from Barry or BW, is rooted in OVERSPENDING.

And that's right! The G W Bush administration HAS indeed overspent and the Delay Congress joined their Democratic colleagues becoming "pigs at the trough."

The problem has NEVER been "the GOP cutting essential government services too much," NOT at ALL...in fact, quite the reverse!

The problem with this administration has ALWAYS been too much spending.

Even BW would never find a post of his around here that decried "NOT ENOUGH SPENDING."

So the question is, given a choice between two candidates, one that promises even MORE reckless and irresponsible federal spending (Obama) and another that claims it wants to cut back on some of those excesses (McCain)....it would seem the choice is clear - McCain is more in line with the critiques (at least from around here) of the current administration than is his opponent.

Granted, we do want someone who will ease our financial woes, but there's a viewpoint I subscribe to that I'd like to see addressed: I don't necessarily want my taxes cut, because the money to run our country has to come from somewhere. The only thing I disagree on is WHERE the money's spent, not how much they take. If Obama could tell us where the money would be going, and would back it up, I'd vote for him in an instant.

> If Obama could tell us where the money would be going, and would back it up, I'd vote for him in an instant.

Well I think he could tell you where it's going, but not where it comes from. There's no way his tax/spending proposals balance out.

"I don't necessarily want my taxes cut, because the money to run our country has to come from somewhere. The only thing I disagree on is WHERE the money's spent, not how much they take." (ThatGuy)

Well, here's the rub TG, Capital Gains hikes DECREASE investment and in turn, decrease Cap Gains revenues, because "people respond to incentives."

Income tax rate hikes also tend to LOWER income tax revenues because (1) the top 10% of income earners (which starts at only $112,000/year) pay over 70% of the income taxes AND (2) when tax rates rise on those people, who tend to have MORE disposable income (income not needed for life's essentials), they respond by deferring (saving) more of their income in tax-deferred vehilces, and even when tax rates ALSO go up on lower-income people, it's generally not enough to make up the difference in all that deferred income....again because "people respond to incentives."

SOME taxes DO raise revenues - hiking the things like sales taxes, property taxes, excise taxes on gasoline, cigarettes, etc. ALL raise revenues, though often less than anticipated, as people do curb some of their habits in response to increased costs.

These are the results of the Bush tax cuts – while in the 2 1/4 years before the 2003 tax cuts, economic growth averaged 1.1% annually; in the first three years after those tax cuts it's averaged 4% per year, and in the first quarter of 2006 it was 5.6% on an annualized basis.

Inflation-adjusted per capita GDP grew 7.8% from 2003 through the first quarter of 2006.

All this was very good news for the government.

Federal tax receipts increased by 15% - $274 billion in 2005 and 13% - $276 billion in 2006. The Wall Street Journal pointed out, that that means the increases of 2005-2006 represented the highest growth rates in 25 years.

Reducing the capital gains tax rate from 20% to 15% increased capital gains tax receipts by 79% from 2000 to 2004. Cutting the dividend tax rate by more than half--from 39.6% to 15%--increased dividend tax receipts by 35% from 2002 to 2004. And corporate tax receipts have nearly tripled since 2003, reaching $250 billion for the first nine months of 2006, 26% higher than the same period the year before.

Supply side economics has failed just like Communism. It doesn't work. Greedy capitalists have and continue to move every job possible overseas for short-term profit. They get a PO Box on some island and "move" their corporate headquarters offshore to dodge taxes.

They aren't creating jobs. They are weakening the economy, but raking a few extra chips into their own pockets in the short-term.

As proven when the Roaring 20's brought forth the last Supply Side Great Depression, human beings are just to greedy and short-sighted to act in the long term good of their own country. Instead, they become corrupted traitors, like Bush and his buddies.

Supply Side economics, like Communism, is fundamentally flawed. Like Communism, it doesn't take into account the reality of human nature.

The "free market" has once again proven that it must be regulated.

You know what I hate most about your posts, Bailey? It's that you insist on making them anonymously, and then due to some quirk in my blogging software it looks like *I* made when I'm viewing comments from the admin panel.

Now cut that out.

"As proven when the Roaring 20's brought forth the last Supply Side Great "Depression, human beings are just to greedy and short-sighted to act in the long term good of their own country. Instead, they become corrupted traitors, like Bush and his buddies." (Barely Hanging)

This is the kind of ahistorical stupidity that is the singular highlight of your posts, Barely.

(Gosh! I hope someone doesn't call me out on "being mean.")

The Great Depression was more the result of the protectionist, or in today's parlance "anti-globalist" Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act than anything else. It certainly wasn't caused by the stock market "crashing" in October of 1929.

By April of 1930 the stock market had recovered and was back to its early 1929 levels! See? IF it WAS the stock market crash....the stock market would've just kept on diving. Suffice to say, it didn't.

That's the same kind of illogic that had you posting a chart showing that H-1B Visas exploded from under 50,000 in 1992 to just over 1 MILLION by 2001 and blaming the explosion of H-1B's (as you did) on G W Bush.

Actually Clinton did the RIGHT thing in expanding H-1Bs and Bush actually TWICE and WRONGLY (in my view) signed legislation cutting the number of H-1B's given out.

BUT even THAT'S not the dumbest portion of your post....that would be your inane assertions that (1) America has a free market economy and (2) Republicans support deregulation and Democrats DON'T.

You've said/implied BOTH those things and BOTH are insanely wrong!

First, although the Free Market built America right up until around 1912 or so (at least prior to WW I) and it DID deliver tremendous economic growth and incredible innovation, but it did so along with a lot of economic instability and insecurity for both established enterprises and the workers who depended on those entities for their jobs and livelihoods.

J. P. Morgan and Bernard Baruch brought in the government-regulated (Corporatist) economy and that has become the standard economy of the industrialized world pretty much ever since...or, at least since WW II.

You just acknowledged your admiration for both Morgan and Baruch in endorsing exactly what they did back around 1913, when you said, "The "free market" has once again proven that it must be regulated." That's what THEY said....only they said it 100 years earlier and had the wherewithall to actually DO SOMETHING about it...and they did.

The regulated economy IS corporatism. Corporatism is GOOD (at least, more stable "good") and Corporatism CAN work.

There are no "free market economies" in the world today (the closest is probably Hong Kong's) and there haven't been any truly free market economies in the world since....well, ironically enough, since around 1912.

Socialism is "The eradication of private ownership of lands and businesses, coupled with a COMMAND (government-run) economy."

There are NO "socialist economies among any of today's industrialized nations.

There are, however, a few socialist basketcases around the world today - Haiti, Zimbabwe, Cuba and increasingly Venezuela are a few.

In FACT, modern Corporatism is now so well established that people now ONLY speak of "socialism" and "free markets" WITHIN the Corporatist framework.

Keynesian economic policies WITHIN a Corporatist framework are often misnamed "socialism," while more market-based or Supply-Side policies WITHIN a Corporatist framework are often misnamed "free market" economies.

YOU spoke of a "free market needing to be regulated" so you weren't merely referring to MORE regulation within the modern Corporatist system, which makes that statement of yours erroneous.

Mis-educated people often talk about Sweden, France and Germany as "socialist" economies, but NONE of those are "socialist" in ANY real way.

They are all modern Corporatist economies with the private ownership of property, including businesses. They merely differ from Supply Side economies in the size of their welfare states and other "freebies" provided by the government.

The U.S., Norway and Hong Kong are often wrongly referred to as "free market" economies because they all adhere to more Supply-Side, or market-based policies and seek to reduce the size of their welfare states and limit government provided goods and services ("freebies") as much as possible.

Moreover the inane idea that, "In America, Liberal Democrats support MORE regulation and LESS, or NO Free Trade/globalism, while Conservatives/Republicans support LESS regulation and MORE Free Trade/globalism" is not entirely true, as it was Liberal (Keynesian) Democrats who (1) privatized Fannie Mae back in 1968, (2) deregulated the banks with the DIDMCA in 1980 and (3) expanded GATT and delivered NAFTA in January of 1994.

In those rare cases - those Democratic administrations (Johnson's, Carter's and Clinton's...although Clinton was NOT a Keynesian and was, in fact, an ardent Free Trader) ALL did the right thing, in those instances.

Oh.....I just noticed your post time (1:23 am)...kind of makes a little more sense now.

You've got to stop posting after imbibing, Barely. Now your sober-self (is there one?) may have to try and prove what I just posted wrong....and that's going to be quite impossible.

(1)You praised Corporatism - the government-regulated economy: "The "free market" has once again proven that it must be regulated."

(2) We HAVE Corporatism (the government-regulated economy) and HAVE HAD IT for nearly a century now.

(3) Democrats privatized Fannie Mae in 1968....began the banking deregulation in 1980 and expanded GATT and passed NAFTA in 1994, while doling out over one MILLION H-1Bs during the 1990s.

YOU'VE acknowledged the first of those things...and apparently didn't understand enough history to know the 2nd, and as for the 3rd of those things, well, apparently you didn't know much about Democratic deregulation (those are a number of arcane pieces of legislation), just as you apparently didn't know that the stock market rebounded by April of 1930 ONLY to have a global Depression set in after the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (an anti-globalist, or protectionist action) was passed....just as when looking at a chart showing H-1Bs exploding from 1993 - 2001 had you "blaming G W Bush,"....and now, in acknowledging the NEED for Corporatism (the government-regulated economy) that we've HAD in place for nearly one hundred years, you inanely "blame the free market," which of course, DOESN'T exist!

Aside from all of that though, you don't really seem all that impaired....at least no more than is normal for you....(GULP!)

I am still trying to understand why anyone with rational thinking would be voting for McCain in this election. Seriously. I can understand politically illiterate voters who believe that Obama has links to "terrorists, etc etc" and buy into fear-mongering. But for people who know the basics, it is impossible to understand why they would vote McCain, except for one reason: Taxes and being selfish.

Funny story there BW, it's human nature that drives all of us humans.

Beileve me, IF there were some way to believe that "A more scientific approach to economics COULD deliver greater prosperity and a better, more equitable distribution of goods and services," I'd probably support THAT.

That is NOT, so far as I know, the accepted view of ANY leading economists.

They ALL seem to believe that we can track economic indicators, learn lessons from past mistakes, even look at things like money supply, p-values, debt to currency ratios and determine optimum economic conditions, but NO ONE'S found a way to "scientifically engineer" an economy more efficient and prosperous than the "invisible hand" of the market. It's been elusive as our attempts to create life out of inanimate matter in the lab.

On tax policy - the Liberals (Dems and Republicans) are wrong....higher income tax rates ALWAYS result in the top 10% of income earners deferring (saving) more of their incomes in tax-deferred vehicles and lowering the revenues. Amazingly enough, it's not that Liberals reject that view (most don't) they just still insist that there's "tax fairness" in "punishing higher income earners."

Go figure!

SHOULD tax rates rise in 2009, I will certainly increase my 457 and 401-K contributions, as will most people who are able to.

It really IS "the patriotic thing to do." It's merely a matter of self and family above all else.

Liberals are also wrong on crime - Bill Bratton proved that "violent felons are motivated by the will to control others, even more than personal gain, as in many violent felonies, if robberies happen at all, they're often an afterthought, NOT the primary motivation for the crime."

Beyond that, Liberals have no respect for equality before the law, and equal ACCESS to opportunity, as their support for race/gender preferences proves.

I believe, and I'm surmising here, that OVER 70% of Americans oppose those preferences and I'm basing that surmising on the fact that in Michigan (a pretty Liberal state) Ward Connerly's referendum banning race/gender being used either FOR or AGAINST any given applicant was passed by OVER 2/3s of the MI electorate back in 2006.

The current choice is as bad as the one between Bush and Gore in 2000 and Bush and Kerry in '04....neither is a "good choice," it's another "bad choice versus terrible choice" situation.

Bush failed on reining in reckless governmental spending (the NCLB Act, the prescription drug boondoggle, etc)....but the Liberal Gore would've been far worse.

G W Bush and John McCain were bad on the border issue, only once again, the Liberal Democrats would've been worse.

G W Bush and John McCain were unable to get more than four Republicans to support TWO Bills that would've reined in Fannie and Freddie - because of that, they never got out of committee, but Rep Barney Frank and Sen Chris Dodd were the point-men for Fannie and Freddie and the Liberals supported trying to creat even MORE credit out of thin air for "poorer," high-risk borrowers.

G W Bush belatedly engaged this country in a massive war against global jihadism (not merely terrorism, but global jihadism or "radicalized Islam)...the Liberals lamely insist, "There is no terrorist threat.

So, once again, it comes down to TWO bad choices, one of which (the more Liberal of the two) is clearly the worst choice.

I've actually been trying to come up with a single issue on which Liberal ideology has been right....and I have to admit I can't. I'm actually stumped. I'd have said social security was a good idea, before it's gone bust, but all those "anti-poverty programs" that merely served to mire MORE people in poverty? That's NG.

I'm figuring you can't come up with any either, so, maybe Rachel or PE will???

It's a tough one.

>I am still trying to understand why anyone with rational thinking would be voting for McCain in this election.

I'm afraid I can't help you with your limited capacity for understanding. It did take courage to admit it, however.

I'm afraid I can't help you with your limited capacity for understanding.

Ah huh. So, the problem is my "limited capacity for understanding". Got it. So, it has nothing to do with taxes or being selfish, huh?

By the way, are we still on for the case of beers (Fosters)?

Why would ANYONE decry "selfishness?"


If it weren't for people, individually pursuing their own separate and individual self-interests ("selfishness") NOTHING would be grown, NOTHING would be mined, NOTHING would be produced, packaged or transported, no goods or services exchanged!

In short, NOTHING would ever get done.

Thoreau was right, "If a man approached my home, and I was certain that he was there solely to do me good, I should run for my life."

Indeed it is unnatural and unseemly for people to interact ABSENT some mutually exchanged benefit.

One of the BEST cases of this was made by one of my all-time favorite people (Milton Friedman) and it's found here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5Gppi-O3a8

Hey JMK,
I watched the clip of Milton Friendman above and I did not find it intelligent. In fact the way he concluded was kind of stupid in my opinion (talking about harmony). But what could one expect from someone who did his best to help one of the worst dictators and criminals in history (Augusto Pinochet)? Sorry, but I have no respect for Friedman.

I've come to the conclusion that Barry is right about what he termed "your limited capacity for understanding." I tend to give people a HUGE benefit of the doubt. To date, the only person I've written off as hopeless around here is poor Barely Hanging, whom I still harbor a misplaced affinity for over his astounding penchant for posting charts and links that never fail to prove his own arguments wrong.

I sure hope you're not goin-....Oh wait a minute, thankfully you don't post charts or links, just views, which is fine...not to mention a lot less potentially embarrassing.

According to historical accounts, Friedman met Pinochet twice, but is still credited with giving Pinochet the blue-print for an economy that undeniably became "the jewel of South America."

Under Allende, Chile had a 28% unemployment rate and over 40% of that country living in poverty - that's the poverty of real socialism.

I believe today, under Chavez, nearly 40% of that country lives below the poverty line.

I believe that number is 12% here in the U.S., though I haven't checked recently.

The fact that YOU have no respect for Professor Friedman means nothing, especially since he is universally revered by economists to this day.

Dr. Friedman is credited with moving TWO dictators (Pinochet and Indonesia's Suharto) toward LIBERTY....the most basic and vital liberty/freedom is ECONOMIC liberty, all other freedoms spring from that well.

That's really a very basic concept. Liberals must simply be "refusing to understand that," as no one (OK, except maybe Barely Hanging and Jeff Dorchen) is THAT dumb.

But it's DUMBNESS with an extremely high cost...especially for those who suffer under tyrants!

No one has yet been able to challenge my assertion that Left-wing (comamnd-economy dictatorships) are far, FAR worse (in terms of human suffering, deprivation and widespread death from poverty and disease) than the few tyrannical regimes that embraced free market reforms.

As I've noted numerous times, since the market provides MORE prosperity to MORE people, the ONLY people hurt in regimes like Suharto's and Pinochet's are those targeted via their political opposition to those tyrants.

That's why Pinochet's victims are numbered in the low thousands (perhaps 3,000), while Left-wing tyrants like Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are tallied in the millions!

If the McCain people want to rummage through presidential candidates' associations, real or imagined, to turn up figures who threaten to pull down this proud republic, they should begin in-house. Chief among those to whom responsibility attaches for the financial crisis that is plunging the nation into recession is former Texas senator Phil Gramm, McCain's own economic guru.

Gramm was always Wall Street's man in the Senate. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during the Clinton administration, he consistently underfunded the Securities and Exchange Commission and kept it from stopping accounting firms from auditing corporations with which they had conflicts of interest. Gramm's piece de resistance came on Dec. 15, 2000, when he slipped into an omnibus spending bill a provision called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), which prohibited any governmental regulation of credit default swaps, those insurance policies covering losses on securities in the event they went belly up. As the housing bubble ballooned, the face value of those swaps rose to a tidy $62 trillion. And as the housing bubble burst, those swaps became a massive pile of worthless paper, because no government agency had required the banks to set aside money to back them up.

The CFMA also prohibited government regulation of the energy-trading market, which enabled Enron to nearly bankrupt the state of California before bankrupting itself.

Since Anonymous hasn't the good grace to credit and source the quote above (or perhaps is too ignorant to know its origin), here's Harold Meyerson's piece in full:



Harold Meyerson is a real mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragger...another WaPo dufus who's said, "This (the current credit crisis) is a failure of the free market."

The current failure is PRIMARILY a failure of government intervention...TOO much regulation and TOXIC regulation and on the part of government...and endorsed by BOTH Parties, though for different reasons.

On the Liberal side, and this is sad to say, but true, they supported more intervention for the same reasons they support MORE government spending and open borders - for NOT merely the WRONG reasons, but the most ignorant.

What may be far worse, or at least far more disastrous is the GOP's being complicit in much, if not all of this, and worse still, over some naive and misguided principles that many Conservatives have come to embrace.

One is what I've come to call "the curse of Jack Kemp" - the idea that homeowner's value and take care of their own property better than renters do and that property owners also tend to be better educate, more financially well-off and ultimately more politically Conservative is TRUE.

What ISN'T true is that all or even ANY of that is due to some "magic of ownership."

The fact is that far MORE savvy, self-disciplined and goal-oriented people tend to own property, while few reckless and irresponsible people OWN property.

Ownership DIDN'T make owners better people, BETTER PEOPLE gravitate to property ownership!

Kemp took the lesson that became the foundation of "the ownership society" and got it exactly backward.

The misguided Kemp vision of "creating millions more responsible, Conservative citizens" via "the magic of homeownership" led to many, MANY Conservatives supporting the creating of credit out of thin air (credit socialism) to, in effect, GIVE more reckless and irresponsible people a piece of that "ownership society," but you CAN'T give away what must be earned!

Reckless and irresponsible people, given the keys to homeownership on the cheap (via low, LOW "teaser rates") remain as reckless and irresponsible as "investors" who were given their positions and never told anything but how great they were.

Reckless and irresponsible people tend to stay reckless and irresponsible due to BOTH inertia (the gravity that tends to keep resting bodies at rest) and entropy (the law of breakdown and decay).

Jack Kemp's vision didn't factor in those two immutable forces...and that misguided vision has helped lead the way to what is one of the worst excesses of government and potentially one of the worst global fiscal calamities in over three-quarters of a century.

Let me preface my remarks by noting that I know JMK (I taught economics at a school he once attended...I’m that lone “supporter of the Command Economy”, as he likes to call me) and I’ll preface this by saying that I had two students who shook both my fundamental economic beliefs and my faith in humanity and they were JMK (or JC, as he was known to friends) and Jeff Skillings, a few years later. Though Skillings attended a different New England school than did JMK, I later encountered Mr. Skillings at an outside economics seminar.

In 1974, JMK offered a defense of prostitution that was, at least in my view, breathtaking in both its amoral depravity and its foundation of “profit before all other considerations”.

When I later found that JMK, ironically enough, personally reviled prostitution, and never so much as entered a strip club (this, according to some of his closest associates, something that was not only highly peculiar, but virtually singular, among his friends and associates), I was even more deeply shocked by that defense, one that preceded Walter Block’s “Defending the Undefendable” by a number of years.

For the record, I do not support the command economy. I do acknowledge that virtually all command economies come with police states as a “necessary evil”. I do support, as does JMK, at least according to our exchanges of late, the regulated market-based economy, with myself favoring far more regulation and redistribution than does JMK.

I also disagree with JMK over whether or not a command economy can work.

One of the things that folks like JMK like to point to, in order to defend the market-based economy, while deriding the command economy is that “The economy is not a fixed pie, but a dynamic, fluid bowl of jello that expands and contracts”.

I see that he’s used that here and elsewhere a number of times and has apparently stumped and quieted those who’d disagree.

The argument that I’ve made in response is that, “While any economy is, in fact, fluid and dynamic, the money supply at any given point in time, is indeed static, that is, there is only so much currency available at any one time”.

If we accept that reality, then the idea that “a command economy based on a far more equitable distribution of wealth is impossible”, would seem quite flawed.

Take as an example a fictional economy that produces $1.8 TRILLION in private sector profits, after Capital reinvestment. And let’s further say that $800 BILLION of these profits then go to government to be spent on various outlays – government employees, health and retirement (social security and Medicare/caid costs, etc.), leaving $1 TRILLION to be disbursed among 10 million workers.

Since ten-thousand X ten-million equals 100 BILLION, then every $10,000 to every worker would equal $100 BILLION, so, if all 10,000,000 workers earned the same $100,000/year that would equal that $1 TRILLION, if equally disbursed.

In that regard, if, in that society, there were 100 people who took in appx. $1 BILLION each ($100 BILLION total) and 1,000 more who took in appx. $10 MILLION ($10 BILLION), in such an economy, then those 600 people (0.006%) would have taken over 10% of all the profits in currency created, leaving the other 9,998,900 people to share less than 90% of the remaining wealth!

Now, I’ll concede that those 1,500 people would be producing the wealth they all took out, by bringing in far more in profits to their businesses than they cost, say, something on the order of 10 to 1, meaning they received roughly 10% of the income they brought into their companies, OR they write, produce, etc. products (books, movies, inventions, etc.) that sell so many copies, tickets, items, etc. that their percentage of the profits is that big.

JMK argues that absent that money-motivation, these people simply will not be motivated to produce and the economy would contract.

I agree with that, in principle, but I disagree over the amount of that contraction.

Instead of losing all that wealth creation in a command economy, as JMK’s view seems to posit, I’d put it closer to 20% to 25% at most.

So, instead of $100,000 per worker per year in this new economy, we’d have maybe something on the order of $75,000 or $80,000 per worker per year. Still a decent standard of living, right?

JMK would then rightly argue that “some skills are intrinsically more valuable, dangerous and hard to master than others, some jobs require longer hours, some depend on overtime work, all of which would ultimately create significant disparities in income between various workers”.

I also agree with that, but I also contend that a basic command structure could very possibly serve to disseminate wealth far more equitably than the likes of JMK would lead you to believe.

If the current pre-election polls hold true, we may very well see which of our views is more accurate.

At any rate, we will see.

I can't disagree with anything (at least in theory) that is written here, EXCEPT with what appears like a gratuitous correlation between myself and Jeffrey Skilling.

I've read some of his papers and while he does appear to be amoral, I'd deliberately rejected our accepted moral standards as they are based on a religious tradition (Judeo-Christian) that I do not really accept...so there is that difference, and I'd always made that very clear.

IF you believe a Command Economy COULD "disseminate wealth far more equitably," then why don't you support it?

Maybe you feel as I do that ALL human organizations are flawed/corrupted by their associations with humans and the baser aspects of our human natures.

History is really the story of man's ceaseless inhumanity to man....some lament that. I DON'T and never have. I accept it as it is and chalk most of it up to a human version of Natural Selection - stronger, more advanced, wealthier cultures displace and eradicate more primitive ones...and all is right with the world.

Such things SHOULD be devoid of any sentiment.

In my view, the ONLY problem with that process, is a relatively recent wrinkle that has many wealthier, more advanced cultures trying to "save the world," first at home by absurdly trying to "lift up" the poorest (generally, the most reckless, irresponsible, laziest and, quite frankly, the dumbest among them) at the expense of the most productive.

That is hideously dysgenic, which is exactly why violent crime is overwhelmingly dysgenic - generally dumb, impulsive, non-productive criminals harm, mutilate or kill far more productive and valuable citizens and in that way, the productive power of the nation is ultimately diminished.

Richer, more advanced nations have lately been doing the same thing internationally - trying to improve people internally, by improving their external conditions. That's generally a waste, because people create their own externalities by their productivity or lack of same.

What the current credit crisis demonstrates ALL too clearly is that the government is peopled with humans with exactly the SAME human frailties and natures as those in business or anywhere else are.

We ALL take advantage of every opportunity. We ALL think of our own benefit before that of anyone else. It's just that some are better/more efficient than others in that regard.

The ONLY difference between Jeff Skilling & Andy Fastow and Franklin Raines & Jim Johnson is that Raines and Johnson were, in fact, a little dumber and a little fatter....that's about it.

Just as the ONLY difference between Ken Lay and Chris Dodd & Barney Frank is apparently about 40 IQ points in Mr. Lay's favor...and that's not to say that Ken Lay was "all THAT smart," but that Frank and Dodd were "all THAT dumb."

Suffice to say, ALL of the aforementioned people were motivated by the very same personal avarice or "greed," but greed on the part of our government servants is even more malicious and more repugnant, as it supposes some non-existent "government as master, citizens as subjects" ethos, that does not and cannot exist within America's Constitutional framework.

As to the coming election, I very much agree, we very well MAY, in either case, see what you suppose tested out, at least to some degree....and of course, I expect, with disastrous consequences.

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