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Does government spending help the economy?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 3:15 am - August 26, 2012.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Economy

Dan asked last Saturday, Did government spending make recovery the slowest since WWII?. Put more broadly, does government spending help the economy or slow it down?

It’s a crucial question. If you believe (as neo-Keynesian economists try to teach) that government spending stimulates the economy, obviously we need more of it, because Obama’s economy is darn anemic. But what if more spending is unnecessary, perhaps harmful? What if government spending is one of the things dragging the economy down?

Arthur Laffer addressed this question in a Wall Street Journal piece a couple of weeks ago, The Real ‘Stimulus’ Record. His piece is not without flaws, but it says a lot that’s worth considering.

As Laffer notes, the U.S. has done a lot of ‘stimulating’ in the past few years, under both Bush and Obama:

Federal government spending as a share of GDP rose to a high of 27.3% in 2009 from 21.4% in late 2007… including add-ons to the agricultural and housing bills in 2007, the $600 per capita tax rebate in 2008, the TARP and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, “cash for clunkers,” additional mortgage relief subsidies and, of course, President Obama’s $860 billion stimulus plan that promised to deliver unemployment rates below 6% by now. Stimulus spending over the past five years totaled more than $4 trillion.

Think about that; an extra $4 trillion of national debt, in the name of ‘stimulating’ the economy. Has it worked? Can it work? Laffer gives some logical reasons why it can’t work:

…government [spending] takes additional resources… from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers).

Often as not, the qualification for receiving stimulus funds is the absence of work or income—such as banks and companies that fail, solar energy companies that can’t make it on their own, unemployment benefits and the like. Quite simply, government [is] taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don’t work…

Let’s see. Taxing (thus punishing) work, to pay for non-work; taxing production, to pay for non-production. Only a trained Keynesian economist could expect that to boost an economy.

…politicians and many economists believe [that] additional government spending adds to aggregate demand. You’d think that single-entry accounting were the God’s truth and that, for the government at least, every check written has no offsetting debit.

Well, the truth is that government spending does come with debits. For every additional government dollar spent there is an additional private dollar taken. All the stimulus to the spending recipients is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis every minute of every day by a depressant placed on the people who pay for these transfers. Or as a student of the dismal science might say, the total income effects of additional government spending always sum to zero.

To be precise, every dollar of government spending is financed either by taxes, or government borrowing. Strictly speaking, government borrowing need not take dollars out of the economy IF the central bank (our Federal Reserve) is making lots of new dollars – and it has been.

But the new dollars are themselves an indirect tax. They dilute existing dollars. They transfer the purchasing power that people have stored in their savings and balance sheets, to the first recipients of the new dollars; in this case, the government. In the end, there is no net addition to purchasing power (or what Keynesians call “aggregate demand”). Laffer is right, the effects sum to zero.

Keynesian-trained economists talk endlessly about a “multiplier effect”: how a government stimulus dollar supposedly travels around the economy, creating wonderful activity as it goes. But they ignore the counter-acting, negative effects of “stimulus”: the loss of activity from taxes; or, if the government borrows the money, then the depressing effects of added government debt, and the destruction of real capital and real purchasing power from the eventual money-printing.

Some research has indicated that, if the Keynesian multiplier effect exists at all, it is short-term and works only for low-debt countries. As a country becomes more indebted, its bad balance sheet depresses its entrepreneurs, who know they are looking at higher future taxes (and/or money-printing). As a country proceeds with taxes and/or money-printing (which raises input prices), its entrepreneurs get even more depressed. In short, the multiplier decays, as a country becomes more indebted. In the end, the books must balance. “There is no free lunch.”

Looking at the stimulus programs that the world’s many debt-ridden countries have tried in recent years, Laffer concludes:

Sorry, Keynesians. There was no discernible two or three dollar multiplier effect from every dollar the government spent and borrowed. In reality, every dollar of public-sector spending on stimulus simply wiped out a dollar of private investment and output, resulting in an overall decline in GDP. This is an even more astonishing result because government spending is counted in official GDP numbers. In other words, the spending was more like a valium for lethargic economies than a stimulant.

But this brings me to my chief criticism of Laffer’s article. He has a table showing that, in country after country, escalating government spending coincided with declining GDP growth. Unfortunately, either the table is not very clear (not enough for me to understand), or it fails to show a causal effect: it appears only to show a correlation, from which one may fairly infer, at the most, that government spending does not reliably stimulate an economy.

That aside, the article says much that Obama and other big spenders would do well to reflect upon, before they blow the next $4 trillion on so-called “stimulus”.

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51 Comments

  1. Government spending could work to stimulate economic activity, if done in a smart way, which kinda leaves government out of the mix. Like with the Stimulus, the money that doesn’t end up in donor and supporter pockets is wasted in other ways. IT would have to be targeted and focus on longer term goals, and few politicians are worried about anything beyond their next election.

    Comment by William Teach — August 26, 2012 @ 8:40 am - August 26, 2012

  2. [...] Gay Patriot, there is a discussion about whether government spending [...]

    Pingback by Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove — August 26, 2012 @ 9:11 am - August 26, 2012

  3. It’s important to note, explicitly, that government has no money of its own. It only can act as intermediary in the (forced) process of transferring money from one group to another.

    A couple of comments, then. First, as Mr Teach alludes just above, much of the money taken from private individuals and/or their businesses (which actually are just agencies of private individuals) to pay for government spending is lost to friction–including waste.

    Second, money taken from private individuals to pay for government spending–whether through taxes, borrowing (future taxes), or printing money (future inflation)–is money that is not spent in the private sector, or husbanded against future spending in the private sector. Thus, the multiplier effect of government spending, such as it is, is cancelled, if not exceeded, by the known, and fairly large, multiplier effect of private spending. In many sequences of private spending, for instance, that multiplier effect runs out to 1.7x. The best Keynesian estimate for the government spending multiplier is 1.5x.

    There’s more. As government debt grows, more private funds become husbanded, not against future spending goals in the private sector, but against those future taxes. And even more borrowing is encouraged by that inflation–in both the private and government sectors–since the repayment will be with inflation-devalued dollars.

    In sum, government spending isn’t zero-sum, it’s negative sum.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — August 26, 2012 @ 10:12 am - August 26, 2012

  4. First, the post’s blockquoting didn’t come out quite right; some words that appear to be mine at the moment, are really Laffer’s. Sorry for the error, working on a fix.

    Government spending could work to stimulate economic activity… would have to be targeted and focus on longer term goals…

    Well, that’s a debate.

    - How is government going to know the most desirable thing that money could be spent on?

    - Given government’s nature, as a super-powerful entity at the center of conflicting pressures from innumerable less-powerful entities who all feel like they must ‘capture’ the government to survive: Is government capable of knowing, in any reliable way?

    - The examples of where Federal spending has been somewhat productive are so few, that people count them on one hand: Internet, space program, interstate highways, maybe (maybe) NIH. And aren’t even those just a question of “If you make enough attempts, eventually one of them might be right”?

    - And, if the government does stumble into something halfway successful, it never knows when to back off. Do you know what the number one entity *holding back* U.S. space exploration is, today? Guess :-) Private entities could be doing it better than government, which stands in the way.

    The above effects are not accidental. They follow from government’s nature. It has a massive, crucially important power that nothing else has: it is a legalized monopoly on the use of physical force. Government is the giant gorilla, wherever it goes: it can give orders, seize people’s money, print new money, etc.

    *IF* government is going to intervene in the economy – and when it spends, for “stimulus” or for any other industrial policy, it is intervening – then people feel like they must capture it; they must become the ones directing it. An entity which functions like that will not reliably do the right thing. I say it’s better to keep government small – keep it out of industrial policy – and let people spend their own money, that is, money which is rightfully theirs anyway.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 26, 2012 @ 10:22 am - August 26, 2012

  5. As government debt grows, more private funds become husbanded, not against future spending goals in the private sector, but against… future taxes.

    Yes, I think that is one of the effects cancelling the Keynesian ‘multiplier’ as countries become more indebted.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 26, 2012 @ 10:36 am - August 26, 2012

  6. I found this story to be interesting :
    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-08-25/top-economists-iceland-did-it-right-%E2%80%A6-and-everyone-else-doing-it-wrong

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — August 26, 2012 @ 11:18 am - August 26, 2012

  7. It depends on what the money is spent on. If it’s needed road work that facilitates commerce then there’s a net benefit.

    When it’s doled out to, say, gubmint pension funds so as to purchase votes and put off reforms, the spending is a big drag.

    If the money is spent to enforce the people’s laws, there’s a benefit even though law enforcement is simply overhead.

    When the money is spent in a pointless effort to civilize savages, it’s a drag. Etc.

    My guess is that the correlation between rising spending and falling GDP may reflect the falling character of the citizenry – more interested in largesse, less interested in work.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — August 26, 2012 @ 11:34 am - August 26, 2012

  8. Excellently stated, ILC. A good contribution to the discussion. This is what the electrorate should be focusing on as we head toward the election.

    Comment by Lori Heine — August 26, 2012 @ 11:42 am - August 26, 2012

  9. Thanks Lori!

    The blockquoting is fixed now (more clear what Laffer said, vs. me).

    TN – yes, amazing that Krugman and I agree on something: Iceland did it right, by *not* bailing out their banks!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 26, 2012 @ 1:45 pm - August 26, 2012

  10. Looking at causality; Government stimulus spent on infrastructure improvement is typically a net-plus to the Economy. When Government spends to support consumption (buying and payroll-support) and transfer payments (pensions and tax credits) it’s competing with the Economy and if funded with borrowed-dollars is a net-loss. Sucking money out of the Economy just to support the growth of Federal and local government payrolls with public-sector jobs just for the sake of “creating jobs” is counter-productive.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — August 26, 2012 @ 1:51 pm - August 26, 2012

  11. This thread is why I like hanging out on GayPatriot.net.

    Comment by Richard Bell — August 26, 2012 @ 3:55 pm - August 26, 2012

  12. Well said. I think the whole problem with demand-side economics (Keynesian) is that there never is truly a lack of demand because everyone wants stuff. When I don’t buy something I want, it’s because I don’t have the resources to buy it, at least given my resources and my level of desire. Government may help me buy it by taking money from someone else, either by borrowing or taxing, but that leaves the other person with less to buy that or some equivalent good or service. Stealing from productive Peter to pay poky Paul may help Paul to stimulate the economy, but in taking from Peter, Peter now not only has less to spend to stimulate the economy but he also has more incentive to be like slacker Paul. Supply-side actually makes sense in growing an economy simply for the reason that people who supply goods and services to the economy actually create wealth, not people who simply want stuff without necessarily having to work for it. For an economy to actually be stimulated in real terms, more goods and services that people actually want or need must be created. So, the question to any government action that needs to be asked is how exactly it will motivate people to produce goods or services people will want. When the answer to that question isn’t clear, a government action can’t really be expected to stimulate the economy. All it might do is shuffle money from one group of people to another, generally to help a politically-connected friend or to try to dig up votes from a critical part of the electorate. Then again, that’s usually the point.

    Comment by chad — August 26, 2012 @ 4:01 pm - August 26, 2012

  13. Well, that’s a debate.

    - How is government going to know the most desirable thing that money could be spent on?

    Used to be that you had this nice big, existential threat looming over the country that could rally everyone to the idea of cooperating and engaging in real patriotism. For many decades this threat took the form of the Soviet Union and its nuclear arsenal. Nowadays, things aren’t quite as black and white, but it’s not hard to think of other existential kinds of threats to the country. The planet is big and well-resourced, but eventually we’re going to have to confront ramifications of the Industrial Revolution like population growth, resource scarcity, and pollution. I know that it’s silly to expect conservatives to talk seriously about the issue of climate change, but anyone should see the danger in continuing to base our economy so heavily on petroleum. Our health as a nation is also becoming more and more of a liability. These are big problems that require big solutions, and we shouldn’t abstain from attempting to solve them just because there isn’t another superpower out there forcing the issue.

    - Given government’s nature, as a super-powerful entity at the center of conflicting pressures from innumerable less-powerful entities who all feel like they must ‘capture’ the government to survive: Is government capable of knowing, in any reliable way?

    Depends on who you keep throwing in there to run it. The current system is rigged to only elevate people who are susceptible to those pressures. Capturing the government isn’t necessary, you just need to capture the process that staffs the government. I will reiterate again that just because a government may fail in some regard doesn’t mean that the concept of government is a failure. We get terrible results from our government because our candidates are chosen for us by powerful forces that have a vested interest in the government pushing certain agendas. Yes, government is capable of reliably knowing what problems it should be addressing, it’s just that our government isn’t controlled by people who want to do that.

    - The examples of where Federal spending has been somewhat productive are so few, that people count them on one hand: Internet, space program, interstate highways, maybe (maybe) NIH. And aren’t even those just a question of “If you make enough attempts, eventually one of them might be right”?

    It’s worth pointing out that the mere side effects of those spending projects revolutionized the economy. Where would personal computing be without the internet? Where would wireless communications be without the Space Race? The shipping industry without highways? And remember – the Space Race contributed to the attrition of the Soviet Union and prevented potential war. Can you put an economic price on that? How many jobs were created by preventing nuclear holocaust? Hell, you could make the case that Star Wars and Star Trek wouldn’t have taken off as cultural touchstones had it not been for millions of teenagers taking such an interest in space exploration in the 60s.

    To be sure, significant amounts of money are wasted every year on things that never pan out, and we need to become more efficient. But marshaling the economy around our big picture problems produces an incalculable amount of economic activity that pays for itself over and over again for decades. It’s worth noting, too, that when the government isn’t engaged in solving problems and isn’t encouraging private sector investment in their solutions, than the private sector reverts to activities like inflating bubbles and speculation and inventing convoluted new financial products.

    - And, if the government does stumble into something halfway successful, it never knows when to back off. Do you know what the number one entity *holding back* U.S. space exploration is, today? Guess Private entities could be doing it better than government, which stands in the way.

    Private entities have had very lucrative relationships with the government when it comes to space exploration over the years. I don’t know what you think the problem government creates here, but space exploration is obviously an international diplomatic issue that’s always going to be an issue for the government to deal with.

    The above effects are not accidental. They follow from government’s nature. It has a massive, crucially important power that nothing else has: it is a legalized monopoly on the use of physical force. Government is the giant gorilla, wherever it goes: it can give orders, seize people’s money, print new money, etc. *IF* it is going to intervene in the economy – and when it spends, for “stimulus” or for any other industrial policy, it is intervening – then people feel like they must capture it; they must become the ones directing it. An entity which functions like that will not reliably do the right thing. I say it’s better to keep government small – keep it out of industrial policy – and let people spend their own money, that is, money which is rightfully theirs anyway.

    That’s bogus. The people you’re worried about capturing the government are more primarily concerned with capturing customers and market share, and there is no amount of government involvement in the economy where that wouldn’t be true. People are always trying to get leverage, which is too obvious to use as an argument for or against a concept as massive as government intervention in the economy. Yes. Duh. People will try to capture it, because it has power and value. They try and do use it for their own bottom line when it should be helping the broader population. Just because it has the potential to be abused doesn’t mean we should sabotage it and never use it for anything. That also serves their purposes at our expense.

    Comment by Levi — August 27, 2012 @ 1:03 pm - August 27, 2012

  14. I recite this alternative history because, if you want to evaluate the Obama administration’s record on the economy, you have to have some standard to compare it to. To believe that a hypothetical McCain (or Romney) administration would have performed much better, you’d have to believe that the looming arrival of Obamacare and the uncertainty over taxes on high earners have significantly depressed the economy, and that different tax cuts, lots of defense spending, and/or a mortgage subsidy could have stimulated it far more than the Obama stimulus did. My sense is that while these policy differences surely would come to matter over time (my former Time colleague Michael Grunwald makes a pretty convincing case in his new book, The New New Deal, that the infrastructure projects in the Obama stimulus will be reshaping the economy for years), over one presidential term they wouldn’t have a big impact on GDP growth or the unemployment rate. Which also means I don’t think short-term economic performance in a McCain administration would have been significantly worse. The vast majority of the trillions of dollars of economic stimulus emanating from Washington over the past four years came from the Federal Reserve and from the federal deficits that ballooned automatically as tax receipts fell and demand for government aid grew. The differences in hypothetical McCain economic policies vs. actual Obama ones fade into relative insignificance beside that.

    Of course, over the past four years Republican economic opinion has shifted rightward, so one might want to consider another alternative world — call it DeMintia — where all the big banks were allowed to fail, government spending was cut dramatically, and the Federal Open Market Committee was replaced with a simple gold standard. Or then there’s Krugmania, in which the stimulus bill passed in 2009 was much bigger and the Fed more aggressive. Or SimpsonBowlesia, where the tax code has been reformed and simplified, boondoggles like the home mortgage interest deduction have been removed, and the federal budget set on a medium-term path to solvency. My guess is that in DeMintia unemployment would be well above 10%, in Krugmania it would be at 7% but lots of people would still be complaining about the “failed stimulus,” and in SimpsonBowlesia it would be about where it is now (8.3%), and every last officeholder who voted for the reforms would have had to leave politics for reasons of terminal unelectability. But all these are unrealistic scenarios — the politics of 2009 wouldn’t have allowed for them. “

    Comment by Passing By — August 27, 2012 @ 1:05 pm - August 27, 2012

  15. It’s worth noting, too, that when the government isn’t engaged in solving problems and isn’t encouraging private sector investment in their solutions, than the private sector reverts to activities like inflating bubbles and speculation and inventing convoluted new financial products.

    Pure babble. Henry Ford did more to cause the road and bridges infrastructure than the government did in spurring Ford to develop the automobile. Ditto Edison and generating electricity and electric lighting. Ditto Carnegie and steel. Ditto Bell and the telephone. Ditto Whitney and the cotton gin. Rockefeller didn’t wait for the government infrastructure before he made a major success of his industry in delivering oil to America and Rockefeller Center was not the dream child of city hall; nor was the Empire State Building, nor the Chrysler building, nor the Metropolitan Museum of Art, nor Macy’s, nor Times Square. In each case, the government reacted to the enormous growth and speed of the private sector shaping and forcing economic change and rising standards of living on a very grateful people.

    “inventing convoluted new financial products” is a natural reaction to loopholes, poor thinking and attempts at regulatory control by the government which is too often too cute by half. I offer “derivatives” and their reason for being as an example. That type of “banking” was the direct outcome to government manipulation of the housing market by forcing banks to make real estate loans to people who had no business carrying such loans.

    NIce try, Levi, but the worst place to go for financial advice and direction is to the people who have created this killing national debt. Your party is the one who believes that you can borrow your way out of debt. Your party says that the bigger the debt, the more you have to borrow in order to achieve prosperity. Your party says that taking from the rich and giving to the poor is a perpetual motion machine as if the rich have endless resources.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 27, 2012 @ 4:42 pm - August 27, 2012

  16. Thanks for the guest post. Well written, solid backup and engaging. I think Dan and Bruce should consider more guest posting from regular readers. For a long time it’s been mostly Dan generating content, which relies on him doing most of the engagement with readers beyond just initial posts. I would love to see a weekly or perhaps monthly contribution from others. Can the premiere blog of gay conservatives really reach a broader audience if only 2 people are generating content?
    Again, kudos to Dan and ILC.

    Comment by Tim in MT — August 27, 2012 @ 6:54 pm - August 27, 2012

  17. In each case, the government reacted to the enormous growth and speed of the private sector shaping and forcing economic change and rising standards of living on a very grateful people.

    Made me think of the buggy whip industry. Today’s liberals would fight to save it because of fairness and “too big to fail”, especially if it’s unionized and can kickback campaign contributions.

    Comment by TGC — August 27, 2012 @ 7:03 pm - August 27, 2012

  18. Pure babble. Henry Ford did more to cause the road and bridges infrastructure than the government did in spurring Ford to develop the automobile. Ditto Edison and generating electricity and electric lighting. Ditto Carnegie and steel. Ditto Bell and the telephone. Ditto Whitney and the cotton gin. Rockefeller didn’t wait for the government infrastructure before he made a major success of his industry in delivering oil to America and Rockefeller Center was not the dream child of city hall; nor was the Empire State Building, nor the Chrysler building, nor the Metropolitan Museum of Art, nor Macy’s, nor Times Square. In each case, the government reacted to the enormous growth and speed of the private sector shaping and forcing economic change and rising standards of living on a very grateful people.

    It’s not as if either the private sector or the government is completely responsible for any given thing. You can go around pretending that Henry Ford is completely responsible, but the automobile industry is what it is because it was nurtured by the government. How exactly would a car company profitably re-pave a 75 mile strip of highway that winds through the Rocky Mountains? How does a car company maintain national emergency response services to deal with road accidents? Why would a car company consider building another bridge to alleviate traffic and congestion, wouldn’t traffic and congestion be good things? Is there an assembly line that can do this stuff?

    Cooperation is the key. This isn’t some hamlet with 100 people where we need one butcher, one baker, and one candlestick maker. The economy is much more complicated than it was 150 years ago, and if you think it’s a good idea to set aside the government and just let corporations pull the economy in whatever direction they want with no consideration for the long term stability of our system, then you’ve got a lot of illusory economic growth and more accounting chicanery to look forward to. Like I said before, there used to be a sense of patriotism in American business, but that’s curled up and died since the Soviet Union fell. The people running things now are loyal to money, and they’ll sell everyone down the river if it means they can bank another million dollars that they could never hope to spend.

    “inventing convoluted new financial products” is a natural reaction to loopholes, poor thinking and attempts at regulatory control by the government which is too often too cute by half. I offer “derivatives” and their reason for being as an example. That type of “banking” was the direct outcome to government manipulation of the housing market by forcing banks to make real estate loans to people who had no business carrying such loans.

    I can’t get enough of this. Continue to ignore the people that have all the access and power in the world, who made off with hundreds of billions of dollars, and blame the government because they made rules. Way to sleuth it out, helio. Changing a rule that requires certain lenders to make a certain percentage of sub-prime loans is not authorization for investment bankers to lie to investors and exploit people. And if you think that only ever happens in the real world when government is involved, then you need to get out more.

    NIce try, Levi, but the worst place to go for financial advice and direction is to the people who have created this killing national debt.

    When Bush took office, there was a surplus, when he left office, there was the biggest economic crisis in a century. Who created what now? The Democrats did this? The CRA from the ’70s was primed to go off at just that moment? Fannie and Freddie were laying in wait for a century before they hatched their scheme?

    Are you sure it couldn’t have had anything to do with the Republican domination of government at the time?

    Your party is the one who believes that you can borrow your way out of debt.

    The sluggish economy is driving the debt. Borrowing to put people to work, ideally on projects that involve long-term advantages to the broader economy, is preferable to…. I don’t know, what is your guys’ plan? Laying off government workers by the millions?

    Your party says that the bigger the debt, the more you have to borrow in order to achieve prosperity.

    Nobody in the Democratic party says this. You do have to spend money to make money, and I think that philosophy is far more realistic than cutting off your revenue stream (Bush tax cuts) and starting hopeless, open-ended wars while pretending to give a damn about balance sheets. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – nobody in the conservative movement made a peep when Bush was doing all this ‘in order to achieve prosperity.’ You guys only care about the deficit when Democrats are in charge.

    Your party says that taking from the rich and giving to the poor is a perpetual motion machine as if the rich have endless resources.

    It’s just not good for a society to have insanely rich people and insanely poor people. It’s not a positive sign when your economic system produces massive growth for a tiny portion of the population while everyone else remains stagnant.

    Comment by Levi — August 27, 2012 @ 8:05 pm - August 27, 2012

  19. When Bush took office, there was a surplus

    Bullhockey.

    The funded entitlements were heading for bankruptcy and the unfunded entitlements were eating us out of house and home.

    The “surplus” when Bush took office was an accounting trick that would not begin to pay the interest on the debt that was part of the budget in which too-clever-by-half liars found a “surplus.”

    You liberals have $10 dollars left at the end of the month along with $22,000 in debt and you call it a surplus and run out and spend it on extra cheesecake.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 27, 2012 @ 8:33 pm - August 27, 2012

  20. And if you think that only ever happens in the real world when government is involved, then you need to get out more.

    I get out more in a year than most people do in a lifetime. It is you, poor Levi, who creates a charge and then maligns the person for the assumption that the charge you created is accurate.

    To wit: “if you think that only ever happens in the real world when government is involved…..” More Levi babble.

    I value sane, efficient, necessary government. I like guardrails. I like traffic lanes. I like safe streets. I like fire departments. I admire the military. I love safe water, food, drugs. I adore sound bridges. I worship air traffic control. I love to pitch in and help the city council.

    You idiot liberals can only argue that the opposite of intrusive regulation is zero regulation. If we conservatives want to cut waste and duplication in medicare, you liberals scream about us wanting our elders to eat dog food.

    You bloated government and more government and more taxes people never, ever permit a second look and a reexamination of current programs hemorrhaging money and swirling the crapper.

    For instance, you will defend Obamacare to the hilt, even though it was hatched in the dark, it is not yet fleshed out and a hodgepodge that is full of nasty surprises which are uncovered daily. But because of the liberal feel good doublespeak, you clowns will defend it reflexively and then claim that the conservative alternative to Obamacare is some stupid, fatuous, inane responses like: “if you think that only ever happens in the real world when government is involved…..”

    When you come around here crying for respect, you might review your own knee-jerk, reactionary crap of setting up the straw man of your own making and then laying off on others.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 27, 2012 @ 8:55 pm - August 27, 2012

  21. [10] Government stimulus spent on infrastructure improvement is typically a net-plus to the Economy.

    Again, I know what you mean, but I question the “typically”. In CA, the government is about to build a Simpsons-style Monorail! a fantastically expensive “high speed rail” boondoggle. It’s infrastructure. And it is decidedly *not* going to be a net-plus to the economy. The money would be far better left in the hands of citizens to spend on what they think is best.

    [12] there never is truly a lack of demand because everyone wants stuff

    Exactly. Government is needed for basic protection of individual rights to life, liberty and property. Given that as a base, and no more – i.e., given a government that stays the heck out of the way – people will then naturally produce and trade, and find that their economic lives together work pretty well. Because we all need and want “stuff”, and left to our own devices, we will come up with things that we can produce and trade with others.

    It’s been interesting to follow the European crisis, and read breathless articles about how ordinary Europeans “rely on each other” to find “innovative solutions” to their problems. (Maybe not exact words, but the concepts that stuck in my mind.) Guess what? The “innovative solutions” always involve the black market, in some form. In other words: BYPASSING GOVERNMENT.

    I read an article about a Greek town that allegedly reverted to barter; the details show that they didn’t revert to barter, but they did invent a new local currency, that the government can’t get a grip on. I read an article about an Italian town where people allegedly barter their time; again, what they actually do is deposit units (or points) of time that they have given to fellow citizens at “time banks” – and then spend those deposits, when they need other citizens’ services. Again, that’s not really barter; it’s inventing a new form of currency.

    The common thread is that these “innovative” new local currencies bypass the tax system. In other words: The citizens suddenly find that if they can carry out their exchanges away from the tax collector – if their actions are taxed effectively at 0% – then as if by magic, their economic lives work great!

    [14] one might want to consider another alternative world — call it DeMintia — where all the big banks were allowed to fail, government spending was cut dramatically, and the Federal Open Market Committee was replaced with a simple gold standard…My guess is that in DeMintia unemployment would be well above 10%

    You guess wrong. The problem in the Great Depression was that government increased its footprint on the economy, effectively attacking production and trade. Including Hoover. Contrary to left-wing myth, Hoover was an activist President who significantly increased government spending, planning and mandates on the economy. Then Roosevelt, still more. That is what prevented the economy from recovering, turning the Recession of 1930 into a ten-year Depression. We know because in the rather severe Recession of 1920, Harding *cut* government spending – and let businesses fail, and kept to a gold standard – and the economy came roaring back, with unemployment down to 4-5% within a couple of years.

    Henry Ford did more to cause the road and bridges infrastructure than the government did in spurring Ford to develop the automobile…

    Exactly. Ford, Edison, Carnegie, Bell, Whitney, Rockefeller, and others created the wealth and productivity which government then skimmed to fund its activities like schools, wars, roads, bridges and bureaucrats; not the other way around.

    [15] “inventing convoluted new financial products” is a natural reaction to loopholes, poor thinking and attempts at regulatory control by the government

    Also a natural reaction to artificially-low interest rates. Had the Fed kept interest rates at 5%, allowing the Clinton “dot-com bomb” recession to proceed as it should have, the housing bubble would never have happened. Likewise, today’s speculative bubble in U.S. Treasury bonds, that is going to punish the country with unimaginable cruelty and horror when it pops, is a creature of Uncle Ben’s 0% policy, which Obama supports and applauds.

    [16] Thanks for the guest post.. I think Dan and Bruce should consider more guest posting from regular readers.

    Thank you Tim, and I agree! Dan may not read this thread, so please send him a private e-mail with your fine suggestion.

    [19] The “surplus” when Bush took office was an accounting trick that would not begin to pay the interest on the debt that was part of the budget in which too-clever-by-half liars found a “surplus.” You liberals have $10 dollars left at the end of the month along with $22,000 in debt and you call it a surplus and run out and spend it on extra cheesecake.

    Nails it! And BTW, when Bush took office, he inherited a recession – the Clinton “dot com bomb”.

    [20] You idiot liberals can only argue that the opposite of intrusive regulation is zero regulation.

    I personally would like to see zero regulation; that is, the amount of regulation that arises from a government which impartially protects individual rights to life, liberty and property, including enforcement of contracts and reasonable torts… and no more.

    Having said that, though, I will gladly settle for a simple repeal of Obamacare + Dodd-Frank. Who can seriously argue that in 2008, we didn’t have enough regulations and laws on the books? They weren’t enforced. Levi’s beloved SEC was busy watching pr0n. The solution to bad bureaucrats is NOT to have yet more bureaucrats; the solution to existing laws and regulations not being enforced, is NOT to create yet more.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2012 @ 10:51 pm - August 27, 2012

  22. I doubt it is even possible for a government to work in a way that conforms to progressive theories. If your theory is that an efficient, yet big, government is the best government for society, how do you realize that theory? What safeguards could you implement to ensure that the big, efficient government stays efficient perpetually? How do you prevent politicians from abusing the power they are given?

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 28, 2012 @ 12:29 am - August 28, 2012

  23. ILoveCapitalism, thank you for posting this. I enjoyed reading it and I always learn a lot from you.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 28, 2012 @ 12:30 am - August 28, 2012

  24. What the idiot leftists also fail to understand is that big government never remains for very long under the control of their side. Control over it swings back and forth from Left to Right, etc.

    All the Left can do is keep the place warm, when they’re in power, for the very big-government social conservatives they claim to hate. The statist Left is the intensive-care unit for the social Right, and vice versa. Far from being rivals, they are actually partners.

    The American public has the collective memory of a swarm of gnats. They vote in a bunch of borderline sociopaths who steal from them, spy on them and generally restrict their liberty (in ways that can only become more nightmarishly Orwellian as technology advances), then tire of that crew’s mendacity and ineptitude and vote in the other side again.

    Each side likes to scare us with horror stories (many of them true) of what their adversaries will do. But each side actually counts on the other — needs it as a foil — and couldn’t survive without it. This scam has been going on for decades. And still, the gnats buzz dopily around, swarming from one bogus side to the other.

    If we keep on falling for this racket, we deserve what we get.

    Comment by Lori Heine — August 28, 2012 @ 5:04 am - August 28, 2012

  25. [...] of this originated as a comment to a Gay Patriot post.  I strongly recommend the post and then the accumulating [...]

    Pingback by Government Spending | A Plebe's Site — August 28, 2012 @ 8:00 am - August 28, 2012

  26. Bullhockey.

    The funded entitlements were heading for bankruptcy and the unfunded entitlements were eating us out of house and home.

    The “surplus” when Bush took office was an accounting trick that would not begin to pay the interest on the debt that was part of the budget in which too-clever-by-half liars found a “surplus.”

    You liberals have $10 dollars left at the end of the month along with $22,000 in debt and you call it a surplus and run out and spend it on extra cheesecake.

    Yeah, sure, whatever. Even if you explain it away, the point remains that the Republicans were in charge when things unraveled. You expect to be able to blame liberals, liberal policies, and liberal ideology for the economic crisis when it was conservatives running the government. How about that for a convenient argument? When it’s Republicans failing, it’s actually liberals that are failing.

    I get out more in a year than most people do in a lifetime. It is you, poor Levi, who creates a charge and then maligns the person for the assumption that the charge you created is accurate.

    To wit: “if you think that only ever happens in the real world when government is involved…..” More Levi babble.

    I think my charge is accurate. I only ever see conservatives glossing over the fact that a small group of people made billions of dollars off of the housing bubble when they’re handing out their diagnoses about government being the problem. You said;

    “inventing convoluted new financial products” is a natural reaction to loopholes, poor thinking and attempts at regulatory control by the government which is too often too cute by half.

    Conspicuously absent in your little sequence of events here is the desire and willingness to steal hundreds of billions of dollars. You can’t just ignore that. I know it serves your purposes to pretend that good old fashioned greed wasn’t the primary motivation in this fiasco, but it’s naive and just plain to stupid to pretend that somehow, less government regulation would mean that people and companies would stop scheming in this way. If people are willing to break the law and steal when there are more rules and regulations, than why would they be less inclined to do so when there are fewer rules and regulations? How does that make sense?

    I value sane, efficient, necessary government. I like guardrails. I like traffic lanes. I like safe streets. I like fire departments. I admire the military. I love safe water, food, drugs. I adore sound bridges. I worship air traffic control. I love to pitch in and help the city council.

    You idiot liberals can only argue that the opposite of intrusive regulation is zero regulation. If we conservatives want to cut waste and duplication in medicare, you liberals scream about us wanting our elders to eat dog food.

    You bloated government and more government and more taxes people never, ever permit a second look and a reexamination of current programs hemorrhaging money and swirling the crapper.

    For instance, you will defend Obamacare to the hilt, even though it was hatched in the dark, it is not yet fleshed out and a hodgepodge that is full of nasty surprises which are uncovered daily. But because of the liberal feel good doublespeak, you clowns will defend it reflexively and then claim that the conservative alternative to Obamacare is some stupid, fatuous, inane responses like: “if you think that only ever happens in the real world when government is involved…..”

    When you come around here crying for respect, you might review your own knee-jerk, reactionary crap of setting up the straw man of your own making and then laying off on others.

    While you’re admonishing me about my use of strawmen, I’d take care to point out that no one is arguing for bigger government for the sake of bigger government. Liberals don’t want a nationalized healthcare because we want there to be bigger government, liberals want nationalized healthcare because our current system doesn’t do a good enough job of providing healthcare to our citizens. I recognize that there is a lot of government waste and we need to be vigilant about that, but I don’t find it helpful when conservatives take that very real, very sane concept and start talking about entire systems and agencies and departments need to be liquidated. We should be looking for people who are motivated by a desire to manage the government well. I’ll never understand the logic of voting for someone who goes on and on about how many problems government creates but then really, really wants to be in charge of the government.

    Comment by Levi — August 28, 2012 @ 9:01 am - August 28, 2012

  27. I doubt it is even possible for a government to work in a way that conforms to progressive theories. If your theory is that an efficient, yet big, government is the best government for society, how do you realize that theory? What safeguards could you implement to ensure that the big, efficient government stays efficient perpetually? How do you prevent politicians from abusing the power they are given?

    Nobody goes around saying they want a government that meets some arbitrary size requirement. Just because conservatism has decided to argue that government needs to be as small as possible, doesn’t mean that liberals take up the inverse of the argument and argue that it needs to be as large as possible. Liberals think that there are some things that the government is better suited to run, that’s all.

    You prevent politicians from abusing power by having a good education system so that people can detect bullshit and by having a journalism industry that’s motivated by objectivity. Neither of those things exist in this country unfortunately, but you could still have some measure of control of that variable by enacting term limits and creating rules about where retiring politicians can work after their terms. But that’s never going to change either.

    Comment by Levi — August 28, 2012 @ 9:27 am - August 28, 2012

  28. I’ll never understand the logic of voting for someone who goes on and on about how many problems government creates but then really, really wants to be in charge of the government.

    Then you do not understand capitalism.

    Bain Capital took over problem companies and put 80% of them on the right track. That is a fantastic batting average.

    All business (government is the largest business of all) has productivity and market problems. Even productivity and market nightmares. But unless the business is protected by government subsidies, it has to make a profit in order to survive. It can’t just print money or tax citizens who are sitting at home minding their own affairs.

    It does not occur to you that Romney wants to put medicare and social security on a sound footing and to ditch the Obamacare Frankenstein’s monster for a healthcare system that is thought out and openly arrived at through open debate.

    I read this and found it applicable to the general liberal constipation in political debate:

    Climate theory pretends both to the throne of reason and to public policies dictated as if they were royal decrees. To question a royal decree in this case is construed as treason again reason. But how did reason come to rely more on a consensus of belief than skepticism about such grand causal claims?

    Unlike creation science, the advocates of social engineering who believe that science is equivalent to policy intimidate all doubters. The absence of intellectual diversity is detrimental to public policy debate, (… ) (it) also steers any debate toward predetermined conclusions.

    You big government socialists with your social engineering actually crowd out business from the debate. Time and again you only see business as employers and not as the fantastic producers they are who create the profit that funds pension portfolios and university endowments and insurance companies and municipal and state bonds and a vast section of the private economy.

    I smell a full blown Freudian slip in your statement:

    our current system doesn’t do a good enough job of providing healthcare to our citizens

    That is how social engineering autocrats think: you drag the populous “dragging and screaming into the future.” So health care is not provided FOR but provided TO our people. That leaves room for rationing and other necessary social engineering that only the provider can understand. And, you said “citizens” but you meant “people” because it covers everyone, in your world, who can get themselves inside our borders.

    So, Levi, what great service to Americans has the US Department of Education brought about? What great strides in energy development have we gotten from the Department of Energy? What does the Department of Labor do?

    Can you please explain the symbiosis between Flint, Michigan and HUD? Why is HUD “New York City’s worst landlord”? What is the mission of this Great Society relic beyond the phony-baloney manipulation of housing loans to those who can’t pay them? Why are they gearing up for a repeat of the Freddie/Fannie debacle that caused this depression?

    I just bet you will not consider trading your “affordable housing for all” dream for the reality of the market.

    Nope. You are so stuck on fundamentally changing America through the “science” of social engineering that you have structured your very life around government guarantees and handouts. You don’t have the confidence and courage to become an entrepreneur. And if you did become an entrepreneur, you would be the very first person to kick and scream about the burden of taxes and regulation. Unless, of course, you simply joined the underground economy and became a full fledged parasite on the system.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 28, 2012 @ 10:14 am - August 28, 2012

  29. It’s worth noting that “our current health-care system” is a Frankenstein creation of government. Not at all a free market! If only it were!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 28, 2012 @ 11:38 am - August 28, 2012

  30. (continued) And so the leftist solution is a complete government takeover of health care.

    Natch. Because our leftie social-fascist friends offer poison as food, poison as antidote. Mess up the system over several decades with increasing government intervention; then assert that more government is the only “solution”.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 28, 2012 @ 11:41 am - August 28, 2012

  31. Nobody goes around saying they want a government that meets some arbitrary size requirement. Just because conservatism has decided to argue that government needs to be as small as possible, doesn’t mean that liberals take up the inverse of the argument and argue that it needs to be as large as possible. Liberals think that there are some things that the government is better suited to run, that’s all.

    I realize that, but I view anything other than what I consider “limited government” (that is, what I view as the appropriate size of government) “big government.”

    Neither of those things exist in this country unfortunately

    Or Canada, or the United Kingdom, or Australia, et cetera.

    but you could still have some measure of control of that variable by enacting term limits and creating rules about where retiring politicians can work after their terms.

    That I agree with. But I’m not confident that most people care enough to inform themselves to the extent that is required to keep government free of people who want power specifically to abuse it (and keep that system efficient and free of corruption perpetually).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 28, 2012 @ 3:28 pm - August 28, 2012

  32. Liberals think that there are some things that the government is better suited to run, that’s all.

    WRONG. That is a LIE. Here is what liberals actually think:

    …Civilization is government. Government is the reason human beings don’t live in caves and live beyond the age of 30. Government is the most useful invention in the history of mankind. Without a doubt, a powerful, efficient, and transparent government is our best chance for success in the future… Comment by Levi — March 30, 2012

    That’s a different position; a totalitarian/fascist position.

    So, no. It’s *NOT* just a question of “liberals think that there are some things that the government is better suited to run.” It’s libertarian-conservatives who think that. Specifically, we libertarian-conservatives think that government is better suited to run the police, courts and military.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 28, 2012 @ 3:40 pm - August 28, 2012

  33. (continued) And not the medical system. Not the farms, the factories, the banks, the markets, what soda people drink or even whether they smoke.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 28, 2012 @ 3:44 pm - August 28, 2012

  34. Thanks for linking to that, Heliotrope.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 28, 2012 @ 3:49 pm - August 28, 2012

  35. [...] is an interesting post from College Insurrection (hat tip GayPatriot commenter heliotrope) that deals with the absence of intellectual diversity on university campuses.  This was the most [...]

    Pingback by The Religion of Worshiping “Science” « Canadian Rattlesnake — August 28, 2012 @ 4:32 pm - August 28, 2012

  36. [...] Liberals like Obama believe that a Keynesian “stimulus” must work because that’s what they’ve been taught in college and heard repeated by liberal politicians and policy wonks.  No matter that such stimuli, while working well on paper, tend to work as well in the real world.  (See, e.g,. our recent guest post.) [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Obama’s familiarity with economic notions that just “aren’t so” — August 28, 2012 @ 6:27 pm - August 28, 2012

  37. I read this and found it applicable to the general liberal constipation in political debate:

    Climate theory pretends both to the throne of reason and to public policies dictated as if they were royal decrees. To question a royal decree in this case is construed as treason again reason. But how did reason come to rely more on a consensus of belief than skepticism about such grand causal claims?
    Unlike creation science, the advocates of social engineering who believe that science is equivalent to policy intimidate all doubters. The absence of intellectual diversity is detrimental to public policy debate, (… ) (it) also steers any debate toward predetermined conclusions.

    You big government socialists with your social engineering actually crowd out business from the debate. Time and again you only see business as employers and not as the fantastic producers they are who create the profit that funds pension portfolios and university endowments and insurance companies and municipal and state bonds and a vast section of the private economy.

    Being lectured by the likes of you about skepticism and royal decrees is amusing. How was church last weekend?

    Anyway, businesses with money at stake are inherently unreliable when it comes to questions about the potential negative consequences of their industry in the broader society. Do you think that a giant company is going to approach the issue with objectivity or a self-serving impulse to protect their profit margins? Cigarette, anyone?

    Boo-hoo. You’re a Republican and no one takes Republicans’ claims about science seriously. That’s not the rest of the world’s fault, it’s yours. Greenhouse gasses heat up the planet, the planet’s been getting hotter since the Industrial Revolution, since the Industrial Revolution humans have been pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere … those are well-established scientific facts for which there is a century’s worth of conclusive data. Your only places to go from there are to acknowledge that humans have been contributing to global warming or that it’s just some random coincidence that we have nothing to do with. Unfortunately, we can’t exactly hit the reset button on an entire planet, change a few variables around, and run the experiment again, so don’t you think it might be wise to err on the side of caution? Maybe if your side didn’t wallow in anti-intellectualism you’d have a little more credibility?

    And before you get apoplectic about what erring on the side of caution entails, let me just say that there would still be plenty of money to be made and that the government wouldn’t seize anybody’s industry and nobody’s tax rate is going to quadruple. There are constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise to fix this problem and we’ll be all the better for it. Increasing energy efficiency has obvious economic value regardless of whether or not you could be convinced that humans are causing global warming, so why can’t you just get on board with that? Is it really so important that the wealthiest energy companies in the world don’t stop growing wealthier from one quarter to the other? You’re willing to make a gamble with the atmosphere and our ecosystems in order to preserve that?

    I smell a full blown Freudian slip in your statement:
    our current system doesn’t do a good enough job of providing healthcare to our citizens
    That is how social engineering autocrats think: you drag the populous “dragging and screaming into the future.” So health care is not provided FOR but provided TO our people. That leaves room for rationing and other necessary social engineering that only the provider can understand. And, you said “citizens” but you meant “people” because it covers everyone, in your world, who can get themselves inside our borders.

    So, Levi, what great service to Americans has the US Department of Education brought about? What great strides in energy development have we gotten from the Department of Energy? What does the Department of Labor do?

    Can you please explain the symbiosis between Flint, Michigan and HUD? Why is HUD “New York City’s worst landlord”? What is the mission of this Great Society relic beyond the phony-baloney manipulation of housing loans to those who can’t pay them? Why are they gearing up for a repeat of the Freddie/Fannie debacle that caused this depression?

    I just bet you will not consider trading your “affordable housing for all” dream for the reality of the market.

    Nope. You are so stuck on fundamentally changing America through the “science” of social engineering that you have structured your very life around government guarantees and handouts. You don’t have the confidence and courage to become an entrepreneur. And if you did become an entrepreneur, you would be the very first person to kick and scream about the burden of taxes and regulation. Unless, of course, you simply joined the underground economy and became a full fledged parasite on the system.

    I could just as well have used the word FOR. Does that render everything you said irrelevant?

    Yes.

    Comment by Levi — August 29, 2012 @ 8:54 am - August 29, 2012

  38. RE: Republicans & religionists vs. science:

    Why waste valuable time discovering evidence to support your beliefs when the most efficient way to maintain the peace and contentment provided by your beliefs is to dismiss the whole concept of evidence as an irrelevant triviality?

    Comment by Richard R — August 29, 2012 @ 10:48 am - August 29, 2012

  39. There are constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise to fix this problem and we’ll be all the better for it. Increasing energy efficiency has obvious economic value regardless of whether or not you could be convinced that humans are causing global warming, so why can’t you just get on board with that?

    There you go again.

    You have no understanding of free market competition in which quality and price are the major tools. A few years ago, you could have bought a flat screen TV or half a new car. Now you can buy a flat screen TV or a month of Starbucks lattes. How, pray tell, did the constructive, collaborative ways of government bring far higher quality flat screen TVs down to everyday consumer levels of pricing?

    How did the constructive, collaborative ways of government create Wal-Mart? How did the constructive, collaborative ways of government create the miraculous ways we have for drilling for oil and natural gas?

    You snidely use the cigarette as the poster child of the free market. In doing so, you reveal your deep seated hatred for free market choices. People choose to smoke, to drink, to do drugs, to eat salt, to load up on sugar, to go heavy on the transfats, to jaywalk, to ride bikes in heavy traffic, munch on candy bars, get tattoos, pierce themselves in sensitive places, have unprotected sex, sell sex, do orgies, get into whips and chains, ride mountain bikes, text while walking or driving, go to church, be loud atheists, absorb microwaves from everywhere, and on and on.

    You have decided that you and people like you should decide how other people may live. In New York City, cigarettes are around $15 a pack. That is equal to about three Starbucks lattes made with soy milk. Plenty of people pay the price for their cigarettes and there is a Starbucks across the street and down one block no matter where you are in NYC.

    So, Levi, how do you decide whether Wal-Mart or Starbucks is the enemy? How do you suggest that the constructive, collaborative ways of government be imposed on Wal-Mart and Starbucks and people raising their children with religious faith?

    The constructive, collaborative ways of government implies that the Politburo and the nomenklatura will direct the lives of the citizens [vassals] and the result will be a well-oiled socialist machine.

    Levi, you are a nothing less than a Bolshevik any you really should read up on Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and other successful masters of minds like yours.

    In the centralized government system you promote, rising up the ladder in the bureaucratic-political hierarchy is the primary path to power. The most important step for advancing in this hierarchy is approval from one’s supervisors, who evaluate their subordinates on the basis of cooperating with and promoting the political program and the ability to advance to the fulfillment of the economic plan. Naturally, political rivalries will be prevalent at all levels of the party and state bureaucracies and especially prevalent at the top. As always is the case, power and influence will decide the outcomes of these struggles, and the number and positions of one’s clients are critical components of that power and influence. Because fulfillment of the economic plan is decisive, systemic pressures will naturally cause officials to conspire together and use their ties and associations to achieve that goal. (Think: Obamacare.)

    There is a very good reason that you communists always end up with an enormous power fist thrusting upward and onward. It is a clear symbol of what will actually drag the vassals kicking and screaming into the future that is being thought out and imposed on them. The free market would only serve to screw up your scientifically ordered machine.

    You may choose your label from the following: Bolshevik, Bolshevist, Castroite, Commie, Leninist, Maoist, Marxist, Party member, Red, Socialist, Stalinist, Trotskyite, Viet Cong, apparatchik, com-symp, comrade, fellow traveler, pinko, red diaper baby, etc.

    So, Comrade Apparatchik, you and I are opposites. I am a capitalist and a conservative. I prefer to let the people (your vassals) to work out their own successes and failures rather than to success and failure assigned to them by the Politburo and the nomenklatura.

    Now go round up the smokers and the obese and the “haters” and the politically incorrect and the rich and the losers and the unhealthy and the obnoxious and the silly and the unjust and all those who need the healing magic of central planning.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 29, 2012 @ 11:59 am - August 29, 2012

  40. You have decided that you and people like you should decide how other people may live.

    Bingo. It’s what I call “the fascist impulse”. Perhaps I should call it “the collectivist impulse”, to include the commie examples. But, since the government takeover which Levi advocates would retain some fig leaves of private enterprise, he is technically closer to fascism. Unless it’s not really his preferred model; unless he prefers communism in his heart, and just hasn’t told us.

    Regardless of all that: the impulse to tell others how to live is, not-so-ironically, the thing that the Left always accuses the Right of harboring.

    Amazon has a book for Levi, on why a centrally-planned system MUST produce bad outcomes and bring the worst people to the top… but he shan’t read it.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 29, 2012 @ 2:46 pm - August 29, 2012

  41. You snidely use the cigarette as the poster child of the free market.

    What a lengthy, unnecessary diversion. I think it’s fairly uncontroversial to point out the tobacco industry as an example of how objective and scientific groups of businessmen can be when their money is at stake. This is what we were talking about, no? You were complaining about all the mean scientists that aren’t convinced by all your conservative businessmen, remember? Now you’re on to dedicating so many words to boring insults I’ve heard a million times before that mean nothing to nobody because you don’t even try to listen. Oh well.

    I will say again that I don’t think that the government is responsible for all economic growth. Your example of flat-panel TVs is good enough. Making thinner, cheaper, more energy efficient flat-panel TVs is obviously one of the things that private enterprise is really good at. Screen resolution and color reproduction in televisions is not a social problem that the government needs to worry about.

    Then again, any kind of consumer electronics industry owes much and more to the government for being one of the first customers of the computer industry. Do you think that the parts of the private sector developing and building the first computers appreciated the government’s financing and grants? Do you think that the private sector appreciated having an entity like the government to sell these massive computers to when they were prohibitively expensive for consumers and most businesses? Do you think the private sector enjoys being able to count on the millions of computers and accessories that the government has been purchasing every year for the past few decades? Or was all of the above ‘government interference in the economy’ oppressive and restrictive and not-at-all job-creating? Would we have been better off at this point if the above events I described never took place?

    Comment by Levi — August 29, 2012 @ 2:51 pm - August 29, 2012

  42. Bingo. It’s what I call “the fascist impulse”. Perhaps I should call it “the collectivist impulse”, to include the commie examples. But, since the government takeover which Levi advocates would retain some fig leaves of private enterprise, he is technically closer to fascism. Unless it’s not really his preferred model; unless he prefers communism in his heart, and just hasn’t told us.

    The government takeover which I advocate? You guys are too quick to resort to the Red Scare tactics. Go whisper into your toilet if you’re just going to say the same thing over and over again regardless of what I say.

    Regardless of all that: the impulse to tell others how to live is, not-so-ironically, the thing that the Left always accuses the Right of harboring.

    If the shoe fits. I know that there are liberals out there that get over zealous about soda sizes and that kind of thing, but there’s nothing so widely adopted or so intrusive on the left as the insistence on the right that gays not be allowed to marry or that women can’t decide for themselves whether or not to have an abortion. Whether or not you can buy an extra large soda is a comparably trifling matter when compared to people forcing other strangers to have kids they don’t want.

    Amazon has a book for Levi, on why a centrally-planned system MUST produce bad outcomes and bring the worst people to the top… but he shan’t read it.

    Just because you say I’m advocating for a centrally-planned economy doesn’t make it so. I think I’ll pass.

    Comment by Levi — August 29, 2012 @ 3:51 pm - August 29, 2012

  43. I think it’s fairly uncontroversial to point out the tobacco industry as an example of how objective and scientific groups of businessmen can be when their money is at stake. This is what we were talking about, no?

    No. I called you out over this: There are constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise to fix this problem and we’ll be all the better for it.

    You are, once again, proceeding on the implication that I and others are anti-government. You can not accept the idea that intrusive regulation is an improvement over fundamental regulation.

    Your cigarette industry targeted choice is steeped in how Joe Camel allegedly conned kids into smoking and how the industry scientists hid the medical data and how they lied like an Obamacare Democrat about nicotine addiction. Fair enough. Now show the connection between a greater than 16 ounce Coke and the Coca Cola Company forcing obesity on the citizens of New York City. What are the health benefits of Ben and Jerry’s ultra liberal ice cream? Why can’t a wedding photographer take the financial risk of offending the masses by refusing to take gay wedding contracts? Your answer: There are constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise to fix this problem and we’ll be all the better for it. On what basis do you decide that we’ll be all the better for it?

    Where, pray tell, has any conservative taken the stance that caveat emptor should rule and business should be allowed to load up milk with typhoid laden creek water?

    You have come to this site time and again with your fantasies of the state controlling people in their spiritual faith, in what they may and may not ingest, with dragging the reluctant vassals kicking and screaming into the future. You do not begin to promote “constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise.” Your party forced Obamacare on the people without one iota of “constructive, collaborative (….) work with private enterprise” or the Republican party.

    You have expressed disappointment in Obama for not being liberal enough. This President along with Pelosi and Reid have not been “constructive and collaborative” with anyone. They stonewall, deceive, lie and issue decrees. And you blame them for not doing more to screw over the private sector.

    Anyway, businesses with money at stake are inherently unreliable when it comes to questions about the potential negative consequences of their industry in the broader society.

    No one says that all business should be self-policing. You seem to wallow in the spotty and not very accurate histories which the muckrakers dredged up over a hundred years ago. Were there abuses? Yes. Were there marvels of success and a rapid rise in public health and living standards that were not the result of “constructive, collaborative ways that government worked with private enterprise? Heck, yes.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 29, 2012 @ 4:05 pm - August 29, 2012

  44. No. I called you out over this: There are constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise to fix this problem and we’ll be all the better for it.

    You are, once again, proceeding on the implication that I and others are anti-government. You can not accept the idea that intrusive regulation is an improvement over fundamental regulation.

    Your cigarette industry targeted choice is steeped in how Joe Camel allegedly conned kids into smoking and how the industry scientists hid the medical data and how they lied like an Obamacare Democrat about nicotine addiction. Fair enough. Now show the connection between a greater than 16 ounce Coke and the Coca Cola Company forcing obesity on the citizens of New York City. What are the health benefits of Ben and Jerry’s ultra liberal ice cream? Why can’t a wedding photographer take the financial risk of offending the masses by refusing to take gay wedding contracts? Your answer: There are constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise to fix this problem and we’ll be all the better for it. On what basis do you decide that we’ll be all the better for it?

    I was speaking very specifically about the issue of climate change, an issue of a size and scope that I think requires a decent amount of government coordination. I don’t think that’s true of soda sizes and ice cream flavors, so stop telling me that’s what I’m arguing.

    Where, pray tell, has any conservative taken the stance that caveat emptor should rule and business should be allowed to load up milk with typhoid laden creek water?

    Heh. That’s funny.

    But it’s also a small time grift from a much simpler age. Diluting your milk with creek water might net you a small fortune after a couple of years, but the financial industry swindlers of today are making off with billions of dollars virtually overnight. And yes, many conservatives I talk to, including you, seem to think that there shouldn’t be any regulation of the financial sector, and go to great lengths to absolve them of responsibility, instead citing government rules’ as the primary motivator in the financial crisis.

    You have come to this site time and again with your fantasies of the state controlling people in their spiritual faith, in what they may and may not ingest, with dragging the reluctant vassals kicking and screaming into the future. You do not begin to promote “constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise.” Your party forced Obamacare on the people without one iota of “constructive, collaborative (….) work with private enterprise” or the Republican party.

    Forced? People voted Obama and the Democrats into office, so spare me your forced. Input from the Republican Party is not needed if you can’t win over enough voters.

    You have expressed disappointment in Obama for not being liberal enough. This President along with Pelosi and Reid have not been “constructive and collaborative” with anyone. They stonewall, deceive, lie and issue decrees. And you blame them for not doing more to screw over the private sector.

    Being constructive and collaborative is a two way street, and no Republican in 4 years has made the slightest overture to the Obama administration. He’s a fool for chasing after them to begin with, but don’t put the onus completely on him when Republicans have been completely intractable.

    No one says that all business should be self-policing. You seem to wallow in the spotty and not very accurate histories which the muckrakers dredged up over a hundred years ago. Were there abuses? Yes. Were there marvels of success and a rapid rise in public health and living standards that were not the result of “constructive, collaborative ways that government worked with private enterprise? Heck, yes.

    Government’s been there the whole way. Discounting its contribution makes you look crazy.

    Comment by Levi — August 29, 2012 @ 4:57 pm - August 29, 2012

  45. You know, it’s nice when on vacation, I can pop in and enjoy watching Levi being spanked by facts.

    Oh, and he still can’t produce any evidence of the founding fathers wanting gun control.

    Ok, off to the Amana colonies tomorrow. Levi’s worst nightmare, a religious socialist commune in America, that failed and realized free markets work best.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 29, 2012 @ 9:02 pm - August 29, 2012

  46. And yes, many conservatives I talk to, including you, seem to think that there shouldn’t be any regulation of the financial sector

    Idiot.

    You may now produce the words where I implied in any manner whatsoever that there shouldn’t be any regulation of the financial sector.

    It is this type of uninformed verbal diarrhea that makes you a laughing stock when you pretend to think.

    You don’t have the testosterone to debate honestly.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 29, 2012 @ 11:11 pm - August 29, 2012

  47. Go whisper into your toilet if you’re just going to say the same thing over and over again regardless of what I say.

    I could say “Pot, kettle, here’s your chance to meet black!” But instead, let’s have Levi in his own words:

    …Civilization is government. Government is the reason human beings don’t live in caves and live beyond the age of 30. Government is the most useful invention in the history of mankind. Without a doubt, a powerful, efficient, and transparent government is our best chance for success in the future… Comment by Levi — March 30, 2012

    Levi spells… TOTALITARIAN.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 29, 2012 @ 11:30 pm - August 29, 2012

  48. Your party forced Obamacare on the people without one iota of “constructive, collaborative (….) work with private enterprise” or the Republican party.

    … a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy. Government was already swollen monstrously to over a third of the economy, by itself. Obamacare takes that to over half. Once the dust is settled on that: Levi moves on to advocating a government takeover of the remnants. Just like Levi’s Obama has ALREADY started talking about.

    Again: the proper name for “constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise” *is* fascism.

    Fascism, as an economic system, *is* that form of collectivism in which the government planners, always the 1000-pound gorilla seeking to control as much as they can possibly get away with controlling, invalidate property rights (and all freedom) by continually looking for so-called “constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise”.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 29, 2012 @ 11:46 pm - August 29, 2012

  49. (continued) As stated earlier, government has powers that no enterprises should ever have access to.

    The moment government begins to “constructively collaborate” with enterprises, they are not free enterprises; all must tip their caps to the bureaucrats, keep a dejected and worried eye on the bureaucrats’ movements, and court them – or capture them. The ‘level playing field’ is gone. ‘Money in politics’ becomes essential as a matter of survival; indeed, ethically mandatory (insofar as survival and self-defense may be ethical duties). Property rights, government impartiality/fairness, and human freedom are all destroyed.

    Levi knows all of that on some level… and dreams of that world. Sometimes, as in this thread, he will not drop the mask and admit it; other times, as in his words that I’ve quoted from another thread, he will (or may come close). Masked or not, his ideas always point to MOAR GOVERNMENT.

    For me, as for others here, “less government” is NOT always the answer. A proper government – which, by definition, is a limited government – crucially provides impartial police, courts and military who protect individual rights to life, liberty and property.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 30, 2012 @ 2:42 am - August 30, 2012

  50. Bravo! ILC. Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it!

    Levi, the statist, pretends that “constructive collaboration” between the government and free enterprise means that if the government discovers it should leave free enterprise alone in a given “constructive collaboration” session that it will just pack up a butt out. But, then, why did the government force the “constructive collaboration” charade in the first place?

    Can’t you just see the bureaucrat at the door of a small business saying: “I’m from the government and I am here to help you through ‘constructive collaboration’. Tomorrow we begin with a thorough examination of your process and facilities.”

    As long as the fascist has a happy-face pin on his lapel, it isn’t really fascism.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 30, 2012 @ 9:30 am - August 30, 2012

  51. The financial crisis was caused by “constructive, collaborative ways that the government can work with private enterprise”: the Federal Reserve’s central planners forcing interest rates down to 1%, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitizing subprime mortgages on a massive scale, and government regulators telling the banks that they will be punished as racist if they don’t lower their standards and do those mortgages.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 30, 2012 @ 11:39 am - August 30, 2012

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