I wrote about this subject a week or so ago. I'm not an economist, so I was a tad unsure of my conclusions, but I felt I was on track. It feels good to be vindicated.
Entries in economics (25)
A pundit on one of the political cable news shows stated that we're in the era of Obama politically, just as we were in the Reagan era previously. The idea is that Obama will have a lasting effect on politics in the US and will influence the role government plays in our lives going forward for a period of time.
I don't doubt this, although this is nothing like the effect Reagan had on America. The Obama Effect is more negative than positive, at least from libertarian, economic freedom, civil liberties, non-interventionist perspectives. Although Obama, and those on the Left he's influenced, claims to be a pragmatist, not an ideologue, this is only partially true -- it's an act of progressive obscurantism to soften the effects of modern socialistic/statist politics by claiming pragmatic common sense.
Many on the Left are pragmatic, no doubt, but they're pragmatic within the realm of government interventions and Progressive, social justice ideology. This is why their calim to be pragmatic not ideological is only partly true -- their overarching worldview is from a interventionist/statist perspective, so their pragmatic solutions are government solutions. I don't see any Progressives searching for pragmatic, private sector solutions using free market principles.
As I wrote around 2007, party politics is obscured by this modern rejection of ideology and embrace of pragmatism. It sounds reasonable to pragmatically analyze each problem and do "what works" best, but progressivism is not looking very far down the road when determining what works best -- it's a short term strategy to expand State power and create widespread government-dependence among Americans through an ever-growing welfare/warfare State -- both the promises (becoming more empty as time goes on) of the safety net and security/police state are designed to have Americans dependent on government for social security and physical security and as a chamption of equality and fairness against unfair, vicious market forces. We are asked to give up freedoms for security, and to the extent Americans make this trade we'll know how long the Obama era lasts and how deep the influence will be.
As the police/security state grows more intrusive, and as healthcare interventions and financial interventions and economic interventions in general become more restrictive and coercive, the Obama Era could last for a long time, whether we want it to or not.
Please, Mr. Romney, explain why the President, his wife, his operatives, his supporters and the Democratic Party are lying
I overheard a very recent speech by Michelle Obama telling her audience how huge the recovery has become. She repeated the Left/Centrist mantra that when Obama came into office 800,000 jobs were being lost in a month, and now jobs are being added each month.
Romney has got to call Obama on this tonight because Obama will surely repeat it. A case can be made that when Obama came into power during the recession, smart business people understood they were getting a double whammy and during a short period of time, as it happens when recessions hit hard, employees were dumped in even larger numbers than should have been. But, let's say that business people had confidence Obama would do everything within his power to help with the economy, still, recessions take predictable paths, and one is that unemployment is very high for a few months as companies adjust to the new economic reality, then once the malinvestment is corrected, capital begins flowing to more productive areas of the economy, and hiring and expansion take place. Obama and the Democrats added to the malinvestment and blocked economic adjustment, so hiring has been anemic, not even keeping up with population growth, and the long term unemployed have dropped out of the labor market and are no longer counted as existing in an economic sense. It's horrible, yet Michelle Obama is telling audiences that the economy is doing great. This is beyond spin, it's propaganda. This administration is rotten to the core -- even the First Lady is spreading propaganda.
Sadly, Centrist types will decide the election -- those who call themselves Left-Libertarian, Independents, No-Label, liberaltarian and such. These middle of road opportunists, for the most part, move according to what's popular. The Right has been demonized as racists, homophobes, misogynists and rednecks, so anyone concerned about fitting in with the popular crowd will call themselves liberals and vote Democratic. Some of this crowd will give economics a little thought, but they are basically pragmatists economically and socially liberal, so they think if a government intervention works, then that's fine. The problem is that they haven't read enough about political philosophy to understand the difference between shrt-term effectiveness and long term unintended consequences. They understand that orthodox socialism is certainly the wrong path, but they laugh when anyone suggests that Democrats have socialist tendencies. Most don't seem to understand or acknowledge modern socialist politics, so they simply see it all as pragmatic experimentation or technocratic management by smart experts who know more than the average American.
If lack of economic understanding leads the nation to give Obama another try because they believe recovery is underway, and if they think that Obama will have the mandate to really put his agenda in place, and if they think Obama will try different things to grow the economy, then we are in big trouble. So, the Right has to explain why the Left is taking the country in the wrong direction -- the media certainly won't, and the Centrists don't seem to understand.
I think the Tea Party type Republicans would rather have just about any Republican in office if it means getting Obama out, but I'm not so sure about moderates. GOP congresspeople want Romney to win, but there's a faction of Republicans that may not be keen on a Romney win, because it will interfere with their plans for a Centrist GOP in the future. Despite what many have said, Romney is not a Centrist as the term relates to the political realm. The GOP Centrists see their route as the only path to power, and it doesn't include Romney, the Tea Party or libertarians.
Romney has been a pragmatic businessperson, but he's not a political Centrist. If Romney has backing among GOP legislators, he will be more limited government and free market than Centrist/Statist. The Centrist/Statist faction of the GOP is made up of political thinkers like David Brooks, David Frum, Bruce Bartlett, Sam McKinnon, Joe Scarborough, Michael Murphy, Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels and the like. They consider themselves true conservative intellectuals in the vein of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, William Safire, etc.
The Centrists are embarrassed by the Tea Party types -- to them Romney is just a rich businessman who doesn't understand politics and the art of statism on the Right. They will be embarrassed by Romney because, they think, it'll make the party look like sterotypes of Republicans doing business with Robber Barons in the exclusive country clubs. They will settle for a Paul Ryan technocrat-type because he has a head on his shoulders and they think he will play the Centrist game -- I think they might be wrong about Ryan playing the Centrist game.
I have a feeling that the Centrists will not find a comfortable place in the GOP, and if Romney wins, the Centrists will be his biggest critics -- but they won't have much influence, because they don't have an economic plan. The Centrists are much like modern liberals, they have dismissed economics as a primary concern, and they think that really smart, sober people can intervene intelligently and get the economy going. The Centrists think of the economy as secondary to their attempt to design society according to their world views -- political pragmatism, efficient welfare/safety net, reformed education, infrastructure investment, State Capitalism that competes with China, smart environmentalism, moderate pursuit of energy independence with a level-headed approach to alternative energy. The Centrists want to be just a tad right of the Democratic moderates, so they can create an alliance with independents, minorities, women, etc.
The Centrists have bought the Modern Liberal narrative of anti-free marketism, but they think Modern Liberals are too beholden to the far Left faction of the party. Centrists think the Romney GOP is too influenced by Ron Paul on limited government issues and by the Tea Party types regarding opposition to Modern Liberalism. Centrists believe they can do from the Right what the Modern Liberals tried to do from the Left -- create a new government of no-labels, bi-partisan cooperation, politically pragmatism, getting things done to help the American people.
This is just one more effort by statists to save the status quo, but the statist system has failed. The Centrists haven't gotten the message.
It's almost impossible to discuss liberalism without discussing conservativism, because liberals, in large part, find their identity in anti-conservativism. I hear much more from modern liberals about the sorry nature of conservativism than I do the virtuous nature of liberalism. Liberals are constantly attacking conservatives, and especially in this election season. Modern liberals would say it's the other way around, and conservatives are certainly attacking liberals, but liberals have more media and megaphones, plus, they have assistance from universities, public schools, Hollywood (which can be classified as media but deserves its own category). On tv and in the movies, political weapons are being deployed to disparage Republicans, conservatives and capitalists in ways that are truly troubling in a free society.
Because most reporters, journalists, talk show hosts and such in news media are liberal, liberals have a huge advantage when it comes to messaging, and liberals choose to use this advantage to smear conservatives rather than to promote their ideas. The liberal war against conservatives has become vicious since the 2010 elections favored conservatives. Now, conservatives like Paul Ryan are attacked 24/7 as friends and supporters of the Very Rich who favot the wealthy in society at the expense of those in most need. Liberals have positioned themselves as patrons of the unfortunate in society, those who don't have special privileges due to birth or genetics or race or gender. Liberals spend very little time, if any, defining their plans to provide assistance, how this assistance will improve the lives of the unfortunates, how it will be paid for, and how and why the rich are harming the poor.
Liberals have painted a cartoon version of conservatives as hard-hearted white-men who want to protect their culture from change. Conservatives are portrayed as consciously or subconsciously racist, misogynist, homophobic and bigoted toward immigrants. Much of the liberal attack on conservatives is designed to build their alliance among minorities, women, the gay population and independents who are socially liberal. It's about political power. There's no hard evidence that conservatives are more racist than liberals, and the issues which relate to women and gays are mostly differences in religious beliefs. In 2012, even among conservatives, there are very few people who seek to use the State to implement religious dogma. Most conservatives have a live and let live view towards gays and minorities, and they certainly aren't waging a war against women. This doesn't mean that there's no racism or bigotry or sexism or homophobia among conservatives, but self-described liberals, who are "liberal" in the sense they vote for the Democratic Party because they believe the party will work to benefit them economically, can be just as racist, sexist, homophobic and bigoted -- just think union members and African-Americans who are homophobic and sexist and perhaps angry at hispanics for taking jobs, etc. The racist/homophobic/bigoted/etc mindsets are attributed more to lack of education and cultural limitations than to conservative or liberal. If liberals are honest, and if they have the intellectual capacity, they realize that conservative ideas are the proper target for debate, but liberals have lost the ideological edge due to the "conceptual mayhem" which has afflicted liberalism since statism infected the American political realm. Honest liberals also know that they have to answer, not to social conservatives, but, to libertarians and limited government conservatives and free market proponents of all stripes.
So, going forward, I want to avoid having to address conservatives on every single point which I address liberals to find "balance" or "fairness", because this is about modern liberals, not conservatives.