Not only do these statistics suggest that government spending has hurt the private economy, common sense would suggest that since government has been spending to adjust the economy up or down for over 100 years, if government management of the economy worked, government economic experts would've developed a spending/taxing formula by now that maintains economic growth and balance. They haven't. Government interventions have finally created long term stagnation similar to what's been happening to Japan.
Entries in government spending (75)
Joe Scarborough referred to his type of politician as a Populist. Scarborough was talking about how it's silly for Constitutional/Limited Government Conservatives to cling to principles when they should compromise and get things done. Scarborough talked about the extreme elements of both parties who stand on principles, then he basically described such stances as politically cute but not politically useful or realistic. According to Scarborough, GOP representatives in DC, like he was in the 90s, come to the table fighting against deficits and debt while the Democrats come to the table fighting for taxes and spending and saving entitlements, but it's all a show, because when they get behind closed doors they start bargaining these show principles with one another to reach a deal. Scarborough says that the current Republicans are protecting rich financiers, and that he thinks all rich people should pay at least 30%, never 15% or so. This means Scarborough is promoting at least 30% taxes on capital gains and no "loopholes" at all that would reduce a rich person's tax rate below 30%.
Scarborough says he talks with many Republicans who share his "populist" view. I never knew this is what populist meant -- the politician pretends to support what his constituents say they want him/her to represent and fight for, but then behind closed doors the politician ignores the constituents and makes a deal which violates the principles of the constituents. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, Tim Huelscamp, and the other "Tea Party" candidates which Scarborough thinks are extreme, stay loyal to the Constitution and their constiuents who elect them to stop the out of control spending and expansion of power in DC -- Scarborough says these reps should stop representing their constituents and make deals like good populists. This is incredible.
If Scarborough is right that many Republicans think like he thinks, and I'm sure they do, then the GOP is finished. Scarborough lives in a world of political pragmatism, flip-flops and manipulation. He's the type who admires the arm-twisting and hard-ass deal making of a LBJ, and he loves the power that the statist system provides. Scarborough would say that deal making is necessary to get things done that are good for the country, and that the people don't always know what's good for them. Only politicians looking at the Big Picture can make the deals that help everyone (collective, as the left would say). Scarborough would say that the rich and powerful are hurting the middle class, and that if he has to compromise and make deals, then that's how the game is played, but it's all done to protect the middle class and make the rich pay their fair share. He said as much this morning. This is what Obama says. It's what all statists say to justify their protection of the status quo in DC against extremists like the Tea Party faction. If the people aren't quite as mad at the rich as they should be, I suppose a good populist gins up class warfare to properly reveal the true enemy of the poor and middle class. It's for their good.
These ideas promoted by Scarborough are what's caused all the problems he now says politicians have to fix. This game has been going on for decades as government creates problems through central planning, then has to create more regulations and fixes to deal with the unintended consequences of their meddling, until now government has created such a mess of regulations and financial manipulation, the economy is frozen, unemployment is around 14%, minorities and the middle class are suffering, cronyism is rampant in political power circles, the military/industrial complex has us bogged down in the mideast as our soldiers are misused because the President is afraid politically to make a decision to end the futile military pursuits in this region. The military aspect is one valid duty of goverrnment, but statism has corrupted government to the point that political concerns pervert pure national defense concerns so that actions actually needed to address national threats are not priorities.
Government interventions have brought us to this point with Obamacare stumbling through the economy like a violent drunkard striking out at everything in the way, with Dodd-Frank throwing out half-baked regulations contorted by special interests to protect the Big Banks and screw everyone else, and with potential jobs in energy blocked by a government-sanctioned religion of environmentalism that sees Satan in every energy source that's not an economic loser.
It's this long history of insider political wrangling, compromising and central planning in our statist system that Scarborough says we have to protect and make whole by bipartisan cooperation. Even at the level of political realism and sophistication, Scarborough's position is foolish, unless his real purpose is Democratic party control over the House, the Senate and the Presidency. For Republicans, Scarborough's prescription is suicide. Obama is hoping Centrists follow the Smart Government philosophy, reject their base and start wheeling and dealing, thinking the public will reward them for their political maturity, because if the Centrists do so, and if they push the division in the GOP deeper, then 2014 will go to the Democratic Party. Constitutional Conservatives and Libertarians will not vote for a party that promotes taxing and spending like the Democratic Party. Why? Democrats are better at it, so why even bother with Republicans?
On the issue of drones and Presidential power to kill Americans without due process of the law if the Americans are suspected of terrorist activity, I'm in complete agreement with Scarborough, Mika and the Morning Joe guests who expressed concern. I've written about this problem many times. One thing I'd like to say is that when the State gains powers beyond what the Constitution allows, and when many people happily accept such violations when it suits them or when it jibes with an anti-capitalist ideology, they have themselves to blame when the extra-Constitutional violations expand to areas that concern these very same people. When Leviathan is created, Leviathan does what unlimited power does. Congress has to act responsibly, devising a new definition of patriotism, and provide oversight, stop the violations of basic rights and totally re-evaluate the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, Mideast interventions, the drone program and our entire military/industrial complex.
An area of disagreement is the ongoing dicussion on Morning Joe regarding stimulus spending and long term debt reduction. Scarborough has framed the argument as his form of smart conservativism distinguished from the Democrats' desire for stimulus with no immediate fixes for entitlements. The GOP Centrist position now is that we need government stimulus -- education, research, infrastructure -- and we need to design debt fixes that take place down the road when the economy is better. This Centrist plan ignores those conservatives in the GOP who want to make serious changes to government and cut governement spending by reducing its size and scope of government power. Centrists are presenting their plan as the new GOP plan which addresses Democrat's desire for stimulus, but it forces the Democrats to develope a plan now to reduce the debt in the future. Democrats, following Paul Krugman, say that we need stimulus now to get the economy going, then after we know where we stand, after economic growth is a reality, and after we know exactly what the entitlement situation is, then we can deal with deficits and debt. If we make plans now, the cuts might not be needed later, or we might not cut enough, so just wait to see what has to be done after the economy is fixed.
If these are the two choices, the Centrist plan or the Democratic Party plan, then the Democrat's plan makes more sense -- if we're going to fix the debt and defict in the future, then wait to see what has to be fixed and how much has to be cut or tweaked or reformed. Scarborough says we need to make a plan now to satisfy investors and foreign countries, but, if we put the problem off, these smart professionals in business or foreign governments will know that either way, it's a long shot that the US government will do what it says it will do regarding real spending cuts or real entitlement reform unless reality is so dire we're forced to do it, but who's going to force austerity on the US? Maybe China and Russia and India will have the influence and economic power to force the US to follow through, but it's more likely that it will take a severe economic crisis within the US for the government to act.
I don't agree with the premise. I have no confidence that government stimulus will create economic growth sufficient for jumpstarting sustainable private sector economic growth I've stated my position of limiting government power, deregulation, non-interventionism abroad, free trade, economic growth through economic freedom, and elimination of entire government programs and departments, plus comprehensive tax restructuring. But the faction of the political class that leans toward classical liberal solutions is not even considered in the conversation in the media at this point. They haven't been mentioned on Morning Joe except as part of the crazies who need to be marginalized and coopted by Centrists.
On Morning Joe, Scarborough used a good portion of the first segment to continue the conversation regarding short-term government spending, long term entitlement cuts, picking Republican candidates who can win, Karl Rove's role in electing Republican's going foward and what type of Republican Party should emerge as dominant among the factions.
Centrists like Scarborough are all over the place as they try to answer all criticisms and present themselves as giving everything needed to everyone who needs. When the Centrists are confronted with the problem of national debt and deficits, they say they're as concerned as anyone about spending, but they want to cut spending when we can afford to cut spending, down the road. Presently, the Centrists want to follow the Democratic Party by supporting government spending on education, infrastructure and R&D. Centrists believe, like Democrats believe, that this type of government spending will create economic growth sufficient enough for investors to invest and businesses to expand and hire, but there's no evidence of this.
Scarborough and John Heilemann both snarked about the stock market being high, thus this disproves Obama is anti-Wall Street and that investors won't invest if taxes are raised. Actually, the informed criticism of Obama and the Progressive agenda is that it's killing small business growth. Yes, Obama and Co. are cronies/protectors of large corporations, but how does that create sustainable economic growth that generates good jobs? Yes, large corporations will make money if taxes are raised, but small business are hurt and they fire workers. So, the joking by Scarborough and Heilleman is not so funny when you look at who's hurt by Progressive policies. A few rich Wall Streeters are getting richer and sitting on their wealth or investing it overseas, and this is good for the nation? This says something positive about higher txes and Obama's policies? I don't get it.
Scarborough said he wants candidates who can win. So this seems to be the main point made by the Centrist/Establishment types -- they want to win and possess power over our statist system. Scarborough says Harry Reid is running the Senate because Republicans have given into the most extreme people in the GOP. Yes, the very moderate, balanced and reasonable Harry Reid won because Republicans are extreme. Got it.
John Podhoretz was on the show, and Pohoretz presented a distinction from the basic Centrist. Podhoretz brought up the fact that Centrists, who Scarborough considers the winners, did not run in the last election because they were afraid of the Obama money machine. This made way for the Herman Cain and Donald Trump show. The Scarborough types sat on the sidelines and made fun of those who ran. Yes, Republicans need to present smart propositions for governance, but the pretend balanced approach of government spending now with promised cuts in the future is the Democrats plan. Podhoretz laid out a good direction -- economic growth through economic freedom, deregulation, and leadership regarding peace and prosperity. Economic growth will answer a lot of our problems -- innovation, productivity, creativity, discovery. As new avenues of economic growth open up, the private sector breaks its dependence on government and moves toward private sector solutions. This is the way out. Centrists seem to believe they can offer Democratic Party lite and this will create wins in the GOP column -- I don't think so.
On Morning Joe today there was the usual cognitive dissonance that's generated from pundits with no guiding principles. These pragmatic members of the political class are more concerned with meddling, ad hoc interventions than with principled behavior, unintended consequences or cause and effect, so cognitive dissonance is a common occurence.
Joe Scarborough said early in the program, regarding gun control, that no one in government is coming for the guns. Later, however, Christie Brinkley and Al Sharpton were talking about rampant gun violence in Chicago which has the nation's toughest gun laws. Both Christie and Sharpton talked in terms of universal gun restrictions, and they both talked about getting guns out of the hands of Chicago citizens. They complained about Chicago citizens being able to easily buy guns right outside of Chicago, thus the need to expand Chicago's tough restrictions on gun ownership. Sharpton said that guns must be removed from the families of Chicago. It was obvious that both Brinkley and Sharpton support restrictions on gun ownership and not just assault weapons. It's obvious that many on the Left want to expand tough gun restrictions across the nation. If this happened, and if guns still found their way into the hands of those willing to violate the restrictions, then government would have to implement tougher restrictions, and we know where all this leads. It's not a simple matter of outlawing big military-like weapons -- the Gun Control Advocates want much more -- they are coming for guns. Maybe not all guns, but they want to make it almost impossible for law-abiding citizens to freely own and use guns. It's like a lot of freedoms -- the State will allow certain things but regulate the usage so that the freedom is meaningless.
Another moment of cognitive dissonance was when Scarborough brought up once again the Krugman interview from a couple of days ago. Scarborough said that despite what Krugman followers say, we can do two things at one time -- we can not worry about short-term deficits, spend money on infrastructure and stimulus that creates economic growth, while at the same time dealing with long term debt driven by unfunded entitlement promises. Brinkley made a comment about low interest rates, and Scarborough mistakenly thought she was making a point about the high service costs if rates go up, so he shifted and said that if something happens to raise interest rates we would be crushed financially, so we must make plans for lowering debt in the future.
This is confused thinking, because something can happen tomorrow that raises interest rates, and we're already have over 16 trillion in debt. The cognitive dissonance comes in here because Centrists like Scarborough try to have it both ways -- they acknowledge the problem of huge debt, but they want government to continue spending money, so they have to devise a way in which both can be done. Real spending cuts on the debt have been put off over and over by government for decades -- this is how the debt grew. Now that government interventions have caused economic stagnation, money coming into government has been reduced, but spending has not been cut. Leftists and Centrists believe that government spending can replace private sector economic growth and the creation of new wealth. Scarborough is mistaken on both sides -- infrastructure spending will not return economic growth, and government tweaking of entitlements will not solve the unfunded liabilities that threaten to bury us. Government spending now will enrich the politically connected, but it won't provide sustainable jobs and income for those in need.
Statists from both parties think that printed or borrowed money can act as new wealth to get the economy going, but investors aren't biting and companies aren't hiring, even as the Fed pumps 40 billion a month into the economy. So, Statists want government to create jobs directly through a giant infrastructure project, much bigger than the one they tried a few years ago. As I wrote yesterday, this is what FDR did, try one thing then another, everything but allowing a free market. Anyone who says that the "free market" caused the Depression doesn't understand history or economics or free markets.