Paul Ryan’s Radicalism

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin stubbornly persists in his crusade for free-market capitalism though criticism of his “Roadmap for America’s Future” is fierce.

In February, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag deconstructed Ryan’s plans, stating that although they address long-term fiscal problems, many lawmakers might find them “objectionable” because, as Politico put it, they “would shift risks and costs onto individuals and their families.” According to Orszag, Ryan’s is a “dramatically different approach in which much more risk is loaded onto individuals.”

That, apparently, is a bad thing.

“Democrats have followed up,” notes Time, “with a flurry of withering attacks, all of which signal a tactical shift: after months of painting their opponents as obstructionists willing to sacrifice critical legislation for electoral gain, Democrats are now tripping over themselves to juxtapose their ideas with a substantive Republican policy proposal.”

Ryan, unfortunately, is hardly typical of today’s GOP, no matter what his opponents may argue. He is typical of the GOP of thirty or even fifty years ago when Republican stalwarts as Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater brazenly defended individual responsibility and American capitalism. “I don’t see these things as third rails anymore,” Ryan told Time. “You literally crush our economy no matter if you try to tax or borrow your way out of [debt]. It’s just that unsustainable. The sooner we acknowledge that, the better off everybody’s going to be.”

Voters appear to agree. The British Telegraph ranked Ryan as the most influential Republican legislator, and the ninth most influential US conservative after Dick Cheney, Robert Gates and several prominent figures in media. The reason is hardly surprising. Where Democrats try to taint the GOP as the “party of no,” Ryan is one of the few Republicans with true vision.

The congressman spoke about his principles with John Stossel on the Fox Business Network last February 12. Americans, he said, are increasingly “more worried about their material support from goverment than they are about their own liberties.” Those in the federal goverment meanwhile, have apparently convinced themselves that their job is not merely to equalize opportunity, but to equalize the results of peoples’ lives. “The more we ask government to do for us,” warned Ryan, “the more government can take from us.”

Health care reform is a case in point. Ryan has repeatedly warned, even in conference with the president, that under the Democrats’ plans, costs will skyrocket and plunge the country further into debt. Obama announced on March 3 that his reform package will cost about $1 trillion over the next ten years; Ryan estimates that the real cost will be close to $2.3 trillion. The truth is, no one knows for sure.

Instead of treating Ryan’s alternative as a “serious proposal”, which is how both the president and Orszag described it, his objections were shuffled aside by Democrats who threaten that he, as Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of California put it, would leave Americans exposed to the “whims of Wall Street.”

As health care reform reached the floor of the House of Representatives once again on March 21, Ryan made a passionate last stand for liberty, recognizing, unlike so many of his colleagues from both sides of the aisle, that the matter before the House that day was not merely a health care bill. “We are being asked,” he said, “to make a choice about the future path of this country.”

“This is really not a debate about prices, coverage or choosing doctors,” said Ryan. “This is ultimately about what kind of country we are going to be in the twenty-first century.”

He cited the Declaration of Independence which professes that man’s rights are derived, not from the state, but from nature and nature’s God. This guiding principle of American government has been violated repeatedly by massive entitlement programs and pervasive restrictions and controls on both businesses and individuals. Health care reform only accelerates a process that leaves “more Americans [dependent] on the federal government than on themselves for their livelihoods.”

Should we now subscribe to an ideology where government creates rights, is solely responsible for delivering these artificial rights, and then systematically rations these rights?

Do we believe that the goal of government is to promote equal opportunity for all Americans to make the most of their lives — or do we now believe that government’s role is to equalize the results of peoples’ lives?

The latter, evidently, is the philosophy of the Democratic Party today: a philosophy which Ryan described as “paternalistic” and “condescending” and one that “tramples upon the principles that have made America so exceptional.”

Health care reform, at least for now, has passed, yet its place in history, said the congressman, has not yet been decided. “The quest to reclaim the American idea is not over,” he promised. “The fight to reapply our founding principles is not finished, it’s just a steeper climb. And it is a climb that we will make.”

Comments

  1. It wasn’t just the liberals trashing Ryan’s plan. The Center for Budget and Policy broke it down in detail. They are the final word on the tax effects of policy. I blogged the following story, with links at the bottom of the page you should check out, especially the “rebuttal.” You can also search Ryan at the top of my blog. America is a democratic republic. Capitalism is an economic policy, it is not a form of government.

    http://democurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2010/03/ryan-road-map-redistributes-money.html

  2. individual moral sovereignty is a nightmare to those people. better have the state take care of us

  3. John, I hope you’ve noticed that I’m not so much defending Ryan’s “Roadmap” specifically as much as his approach to government in general.

    Spending is spinning out of control. The entitlement programs are becoming too expensive. People are increasingly relying on government instead of on themselves for their material well-being. These are problems that most politicians won’t bother to discuss, let alone try to find solutions for.

    Ryan’s “Roadmap” may not be perfect, but I find it admirable that at least he’s stating the problems confronting America today plainly and frankly while coming up with solutions.

  4. I didn’t think you were defending Ryan, but giving him credit for a horrific Dickensian plan, because he had the courage to propose one. The press is ga ga over his no nonesense, wonky, plan that shifts wealth upward and short changes everyone else. The links I provided didn’t get any press. He actually expects immobile seniors to shop for Medicare. If you noticed, his plan injects government into our lives as much as the current system, but in a more convoluted way. Taxpayer Medicare checks, taxpayer paid high risk pools..etc. all the while giving the profits to the private insurance industry. Socialized risks, privatized profits. And to top it all off, we have to wait 50 to 70 years.

    I don’t think I’m relying on government for my material well being. I had my own business until the big recession hit. No unemployment, no health care. The state Medicare program now insures us. That coverage is not material well being, it’s a safety net. For Ryan and his fellow Republicans, my situation calls for a supposed “self reliance” on the free market, charities and community help. Simply put, government is socialism and somehow bad. Beg your neighbors, have a fund raising car wash.

    “Entitlements” (a word used to create outrage) like health care are going broke because the private for profit industry is out of control and pushing Medicare and Medicaid costs through the roof. Reform or a single payer system would put an end to these massive price increases.

    By the way, love the man from uncle logo. I wished I had used it.

  5. John, I disagree wholeheartedly with your assessment that private insurance is driving up costs in health care. I’ve written a previous post about this, Why America’s Health Care is Broken. Summarizing: I blame government.

    You describe Medicare as a “safety net”. How is that different from ensuring people’s well being?

    If you’ve read some of my other stuff here, you’ll probably know that I’m favor of limited government and regard all law and spending that goes beyond the protection of people’s rights as superfluous and, in fact, immoral. You understand then, that I actually think Ryan’s plan doesn’t go far enough. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security—they should all be abolished, as far as I’m concerned.

    Yet along with Ron Paul, Ryan is the only congressman that I know of who stands up to defend capitalism and constitutional conservatism, so that’s why I am praising him.

    I live in the Netherlands, so I don’t actually get to see an awful lot of American television beyond what I can watch online, but is he really getting that much coverage? I see him on the Fox Business channel quite regularly, especially on John Stossel’s show, but other than that, I don’t hear him being discussed a lot. Paul Krugman, on the other hand, whose column you linked to, gets to sit on ABC’s “This Week” every Sunday.

  6. How’s the health care there? Unaffordable, free market and deregulated?

    Your use of “defend capitalism and constitutional conservatism” are the new buzz words used by Tea Party crazies and the Texas Board of Education. Have something against the word…Democracy? I guess.

    Capitalism is an economic model, not a political system. In your world it is. It’s a little mixed up. Check out the meaning behind Dickensian, and you’ll see your utopian vision of a well off wealthy elite.

    I believe in the idea that a “needy man is not a free man.” I doubt you can point to any country utilizing your ideological theory, while I can point to every industrialized country in the world.

  7. Health care in the Netherlands has largely been deregulated in recent years, yes, and it is, in fact, quite affordable. Indeed, the system on the whole ranks among the most efficient and economic in the world. The government is involved in three ways though (and obviously, I object to all of them ;)): first, everyone is required by law to have health insurance; second, health insurers can’t turn anyone down; and third, there are subsidies available for people of low income which cover about a third of one’s monthly insurance costs.

    Please, don’t denounce capitalism and constitutional conservatism simply because the Tea Party movement has recently adopted similar ideals. As much as I’m excited to see that so many Americans are rediscovering these philosophies once again, there is much about the Tea Party movement I don’t agree with. That shouldn’t invalidate the principles they claim to uphold however.

    Capitalism is a socioeconomic order. It is not a political system, no, but it does carry political implications which, basically, mean that it can only exist within a republic—which is, of course, exactly what the United States was supposed to be, not a democracy.

    I believe in the idea that a “needy man is not a free man.”

    Ah yes, the “despotism of physical want”. There’s a fitting quote from Ludwig von Mises’ The anti-capitalist mentality (1956)…

    Critics level two charges against capitalism: First, they say, that the possession of a motor car, a television set and a refrigerator does not make a man happy. Secondly, they add, that there are still people who own none of these gadgets. (73)

    If the physical wants or needs of people entitle them to rights, this can only come at the cost of the rights of others. If you intend to “free” man from his needs, ask the question—at whose expense?

    I doubt you can point to any country utilizing your ideological theory […]

    Not anymore, no. But countries as Australia and New Zealand and Switzerland come close. Check out the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom previously discussed on this site.

  8. Two things: Your deregulation, free market theory recently collapsed the world economy (U.S. fault). No, really it did. Alan Greenspan confirmed that and admitted he was wrong at a congressional hearing. Neo liberal trade policies suddenly made every country dependent on the other. Sovereign countries used to provide for its own, but fell to the will of corporate interests when tariffs and workforce protections were stripped away and moved to free market third world nations. The race to the bottom accelerated, taking advantage of regulation free capitalist “utopias” with slave labor wages and envirnmental devastation.

    “Needy” is not the same as “wanting,” so conflating the two was an obvious ploy to make your case.

    And finally, you can count yourself one of the great “pretend” authorities of the constitution. Scholars and constitutional lawyers disagree over its intent and meaning. For you to claim you know what the founding fathers meant is elitist and presumptive. The constitution provides a structure for our representative democracy. The people are the ones who govern. What you’ve done is insert capitalism into a document that I don’t believe includes the word. But again, I don’t “pretend” to know everything about the constitution.

    Don’t forget, deregulated captilism in America tanked the global economy. For pure ideological reasons, you want to repeat it. To ignore that fact is to put everyone in great peril, again

  9. Your deregulation, free market theory recently collapsed the world economy […] Alan Greenspan confirmed that and admitted he was wrong at a congressional hearing.

    I hope you don’t mind me referring you to other articles again, but I’ve written on this subject before: read Deregulate the Banks! in which I argue that years of government interference in the American housing market, significantly intensified under the Bush Administration, were responsible for the financial meltdown of 2008. Greenspan confirmed that.

    Neo liberal trade policies suddenly made every country dependent on the other. Sovereign countries used to provide for its own, but fell to the will of corporate interests […]

    You seem to be arguing against globalization in its entirety now. If you believe autarky is really the way to go, you should have a hard look at those countries which attempted it, compare their prosperity (or rather, their lack thereof) to that of the countries which did indeed abolish protectionist measures, before blaming the big bad corporations from raping the world.

    “Needy” is not the same as “wanting,” so conflating the two was an obvious ploy to make your case.

    You can leave out the “want” part and my argument still stands. The difficulty is separating between the two though, for who decides which “needs” are legitimate?

    For you to claim you know what the founding fathers meant is elitist and presumptive.

    I suppose no one can ever be completely sure about what they meant, for they’re no longer alive. But if you read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, and so on, you can get a pretty firm grasp of what they envisioned.

    Of course, there are people who might disagree with my interpretation and I welcome discussion. But if we all agree beforehand that we can’t ever agree on the meaning of American republicanism, what’s the point in debating it?

    What you’ve done is insert capitalism into a document that I don’t believe includes the word.

    That’s not exactly what I’ve done. It wouldn’t make much sense either, if only because the Founders weren’t consciously attempting to set the ground rules for a capitalist society. They were setting the ground rules for a free society (if I may dare try to understand them), which is the precondition for capitalism. They devised a system which divided power and explicitly limited the purpose of government. I can’t imagine an awful lot of constitutional scholars disagreeing with that.

    For pure ideological reasons, you want to repeat [capitalism].

    No, I would like to see capitalism being tried for real, for once. America hasn’t been a capitalist country since the late nineteenth century and even then, there were restrictions and restraints that kept the market from being truly free.

  10. For Ryan and his fellow Republicans, my situation calls for a supposed “self reliance” on the free market, charities and community help. Simply put, government is socialism and somehow bad. Beg your neighbors, have a fund raising car wash.

    Your neighbors should have the right to refuse to help you. Perhaps it sounds cruel, but the alternative is to force them to help you. Where does that force end? You seem to think that begging is worse than taking without asking?

    I would argue that if the government did not tax people and force them into what they deem “proper causes”, people would largely do it by their own free will (if they valued it themselves). And since corporations and non profits are often more efficiently managed than the government, the money would go further.

    As a business owner, wouldn’t you agree that if you didn’t have to pay more in government taxes you would have had a better chance of survival? Payroll taxes for your employees? Unemployment insurance? You may have been able to pay more bills or hire more employees with the money lost.

    Some of these tea party activists are crazy, but that doesn’t invalidate all of their points. You may not have known that while the tea party activists were waving signs and wearing costumes in one area, there have been groups of equally outraged but less decorated people nearby with similiar principles but with a rational approach. They are called the libertarian party.

  11. @Shane: I hear you loud and clear. I’ve been in business for over 25 years and know what it takes just to stay afloat. Forget about just profitability alone. A company cannot survive without positive cash flow.

    And the government does all it can to keep you cash-flow negative!

    I see corporations as a GIFT to a country, in that they employ citizens. And government views corporations as the teets on a cow.

    Okay, so I’ll pay my “fair share” of taxes so that we can be deemed as civilized and “taking care of our own”. But the entitlement programs out there far, far outweigh the necessity. Now with Obama and Company, they want to turn middle class into an entitlement group.

    Their agenda is crystal clear. And that creates a nice, new voting bloc.

    My “bleeding heart” went out the door a long time ago. I was born into absolutely nothing. And it never once occurred to me that the government was going to have something for me. Makes me ill.

  12. @Sue < I like that by the way, very web 2.0 :D

    There was a possibility that some of the stimulus money would be spent in the form of payroll tax holidays for employers and employees, which would have resulted in employers investing in new opportunities within their businesses and employees plowing more into the economy as consumers.

    But instead we got a bunch of pet projects.

    Even if they can cultivate this "entitled middle class" they are simultaneously alienating other portions of the population. Like the innovators that create the jobs that employ this entitled middle class. But I suppose if you replace those companies with the government itself, problem solved. But where does that leave business owners? Especially small business owners?

  13. Are you guys feeling better now that you’ve been dumping on the “entitled middle class” as a way to support your crazy failed (great recession) ideology? Oh we’re entitled alright; outsourced “race to the bottom” wages, health care reducing take home pay, negative income growth, discouragement of entrepreneurs who want to leave jobs but can’t because of health care benefits and the take-it-or-leave-it control business has over all of us in a tight job market.

    It’s funny, in the ’50’s, the tax brackets for the wealthy were in the 90’s, how did that discourage innovators from prospering? Oh, it didn’t.
    Ooops, there goes that red herring. Enjoy stroking each others inhumanity.

  14. @John – not sure what your ultimate point is. You say, “support your crazy failed (great recession) ideology”. I don’t understand the sentence.

    How can I support a “failed great recession ideology”? I don’t know what that is. Maybe you can re-word it.

    I am fully aware of what the middle class is up against. Fully. And you can blame “outsourcing” on our “Big-Hearted” government (Dem or Rep) on taxing the living daylights out of big business, medium business, small business…you name it. They couldn’t stay alive, so had to bolt.

    And this is one of the biggest shames we have had happen to our nation. Our manufacturing base has been annihilated. Which directly has impacted our Fed and State tax base (from corporations and those employed). Thus, you have states budgets and Fed Budget that goes broke. That’s where we are now.

    If you want to be taxed 90%, be my guest. Just cut a much larger check to the government. It can be your contribution.

    Your post is all over the place. It shows you want it all.
    You want “others” to be taxed at 90%, yet you want higher wages.
    You want more manufacturing and no out-sourcing, but you don’t mind that corporations are viewed as the piggy bank for the government to pilfer from.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    My mother worked for General Motors on the transmission line for over 20 years and she had awesome benefits! And it saved my family from the poor house. Thank you, mother! And Thank you, capitalism!! Because just before she got that job, we were teetering on the plank – heading to be on welfare, food stamps, etc. And we both know where that would have put us. We would have been another pitiful family begging for assistance from the Fed Government. So, I know what living on the brink means.

    As far as current the majority of the middle class, all they want to do is work. They do NOT want government assistance. They want a JOB!
    And they want low enough taxes so they have a descent take-home pay.
    They want the government out of their lives.

    Not sure if you’re anti-capitalism or anti-government policy. You’re not clear. Except that it is clear you are frustrated, as we all are.

    Believe me, the last thing the middle class needs to be shifted towards and that is over to the “entitlement” side of the ledger. Doomsday for them and Doomsday for America.

  15. “Are you guys feeling better now that you’ve been dumping on the “entitled middle class” as a way to support your crazy failed (great recession) ideology?”

    John I was speaking of a hypothetical group for the purpose of discussion. I don’t want to get into the causes of the great recession (which I’m assuming you are referring to the recent housing and financial collapse), that would take an entirely new thread. But I can assure you that the cause was not free market capitalism. The government was involved every step of the way.

    “discouragement of entrepreneurs who want to leave jobs but can’t because of health care benefits”

    People do have the freedom to leave their jobs, but as you just expressed, you have to evaluate the pros and the cons. Starting a business is a huge risk and you may not be able to afford a lot of things (including insurance). If you want to start a business, you should save up while working at the job you don’t want, work on your business and marketing plan in your free-time and eventually quit your job and start your business. It would also be helpful to self-educate yourself about business, there are a lot of resources out there, many of which are free (like the Internet). I know it is difficult and risky because I started a business. You either learn quickly or you fail. If you fail you can either give up or start over again all the wiser. But I digress again.

    “and the take-it-or-leave-it control business has over all of us in a tight job market.”

    So you mean to say that many employers are not offering much compensation because there is an increased supply of workers? Well you certainly can’t generalize that to all employers. But it doesn’t matter because you don’t have to work for those guys if you don’t want to. And if the government wasn’t charging that employer 20% on top of what they pay you in taxes and taking 30% of the money you should be receiving, lower wages would go much further and employers could pay their employees more.

    “Enjoy stroking each others inhumanity.”

    What is this supposed to mean John? Are you attempted to make an argument here? What is inhumane about wanting less government involvement in your life and more freedom? I can only speak for myself, but I don’t always agree with my government and so I want them as powerless as possible.

  16. “As far as current the majority of the middle class, all they want to do is work. They do NOT want government assistance. They want a JOB!”

    I agree Sue, people really do want to work, and those that want to start a business can still do so too. It might be more difficult to find capital, but you can always be frugal and create your own capital. And capital is out there, it is just expensive as heck. You may be able to get a loan, but you have to evaluate if it is worth paying 15-20% APR.

  17. DUH!

    “@John – not sure what your ultimate point is. You say, “support your crazy failed (great recession) ideology”. I don’t understand the sentence.

    How can I support a “failed great recession ideology”? I don’t know what that is. Maybe you can re-word it.”

    Gee, I can’t imagine what that would mean. You’re the free market genius, figure it out.

  18. “I can assure you that the cause was not free market capitalism. The government was involved every step of the way.”

    Taking your theory one step further, socialized government regulation and control of capitalism failed because “free market” libertarian theories were involved every step of the way.

    That makes my point of view just as relevant (and in this case, right). You guys and your excuses and word games. Delusional Humpty Dumptyisms. (check it out in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

    One thing I’ve noticed: Your attempts here to sound like elitist economic authorities with your snarky “perhaps you can re-word that” none answers and topic avoidance.
    But that “would take an entirely new thread.”

  19. Taking your theory one step further, socialized government regulation and control of capitalism failed because “free market” libertarian theories were involved every step of the way.

    What “free market” libertarian theories?

  20. “Taking your theory one step further, socialized government regulation and control of capitalism failed because “free market” libertarian theories were involved every step of the way.”

    John, I apologize, I was drawn out by your swipe at capitalism and I took a swipe back. My point was that we were getting off the original topic.

    “One thing I’ve noticed: Your attempts here to sound like elitist economic authorities with your snarky “perhaps you can re-word that” none answers and topic avoidance.
    But that “would take an entirely new thread.””

    John, I am offended that you would call me an elitist, there was certainly no elitism intended. I would appreciate it if you kept the discussion about the topics and not attack the character of those involved. It may not be inhumane, but it is definitely rude.

    “That makes my point of view just as relevant (and in this case, right). You guys and your excuses and word games. Delusional Humpty Dumptyisms. (check it out in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)”

    I’m still reading Through the Looking Glass, but speaking of literary references, have you ever read 1984? I won’t assume you have or haven’t, but it is a kind of cautionary tale when people fully trust in the government.

  21. Look, John – as far as the “DUH” comment….you need to look at your actual English grammar and structure of your sentences. That is what I mean when I say I don’t know what your POINT is. Your sentences about the recession are simply not coherent.

    As a matter of fact, I am very much “up” on macro and micro economics, so, if you actually asked a question or made a comment in which I knew what your point is, I would be able to give you a coherent response.

    What is getting more clear to me is that no answer is good enough for you because the difference between you and I is that you want ASSISTANCE and I have NEVER wanted government assistance. Now, for those who are TRULY in need, I most certainly support interim support. But what you seem to like is our on-going building of more and more and more and more entitlement programs.

    One new type of “breed” we’ve created in this society is the “SINGLE MOM”. MILLIONS of young girls are out screwing around, and just collecting checks. But, OH….don’t say anything against a single mom in our society now. She’s up on some pedestal and I don’t know how that happened. You’re cool with paying money out for all this? For people who want “freedom” but don’t want to be responsible for it?? Count me out on that one. And the precious “single mom” status these days is just one of thousands of new entitlement groups who are non-contributors to society. Just takers.

    FREEDOM is not free, John! If you’re having a tough time right now, stop being so bitter! There are 6 million people on this planet, with most in poverty or under control of governments and they have zero say in their lives. Stop the pity party. I was born into nothing and I didn’t have a pity party about it. I just went to work, starting at age 16.

    As far as your assertion that I’m “inhumane”, you don’t get it. My being for self-reliance does not make me a hard-hearted person. I’ve raised 4 children and am a big-hearted, loving mother who also feels deeply for others and their needs in this world. You need to stay on “point”.

    Again, if you have a “coherent” statement or question, I would be happy to address it specifically. Newsflash: The ’08 catastrophe and subsequent deep recession was primarily cased by the government being incestuously involved with Freddie/Fannie. The government broke its own laws of Trade Practices Act – (regarding monopolies). Government pushed and pushed the banks into making the highest degree of loans. Then, the banks had to “off-load” and share the risk. This created the market of “mortgage-backed securities”. They all THOUGHT the risk was spread. But, it was not. So, thank our Government for “upsetting the true, free market”.

  22. Alright, I will suggest Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”

    Publishers Weekly wrote this partial review, reflecting my feelings exactly, about a philosophy that drives me crazy (as you’ve probably noticed): “The neo-liberal economic policies—privatization, free trade, slashed social spending—that the Chicago School and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous—depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author’s accounting—their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market reforms the public would normally reject.”
    Agree?

    Your account of the global crash is incorrrect, so I’m not surprized by you conclusions. It the simplistic “right wing” talking point cause freeing them and their ideology from blame. But it’s not reality.

    Having been in the real estate business for 10 years,I never once saw a home buyer “force” a bank to make them a loan if they couldn’t afford one. Nor was it the government forcing the banks. The banks were at fault, selling risky mortgages and repackaging them to spread the risk, make money and hide the scam. Banks had an alternate market of risk, derivatives.

    Check out Now on PBS, and Bill Moyers Journal on the topic, and see for yourself. If you don’t believe them because PBS ins “liberal,” then you’ve got bigger problems. My Blog has borrowed from these shows as well, so if you search “banks,” “recession,” you’re likely to find this information, though edited for time.

  23. Note to Sue Palmer:
    I don’t want assistance. Most people don’t. Most people go through hell and high water refusing to take assistance. So don’t insult me with your “I’m better than everyone else” BS. I don’t know where you were during the health care reform debate, when victims of the “for-profit system” proudly didn’t seek help, self rationed, and died or bankrupt the their own families trying to avoid asssistance. Think of the emotional tauma our own ruthless health insurance industry puts people through. So don’t smuggly insult 99 percent of the proud individuals who try not to take assistance. Your cartoon caricature is your own projection, not theirs.

    So you never wanted to take assistance, I’m so impressed.

    No one ever said freedom was free. We have an obligation to help others while setting up a system that will help us if we need it. In your world there is a cut-off price for human suffering, a limit, and a cut-off price for help. After that, I guess they just weren’t worth it.

    Your cruel reference to the “new type of breed” in this country sounds like something out of a Dickens novel. Your repugnant view of single mothers is an area I’m not even going to get into. Suffice it to ssy you’ve proved my point a thousand fold. You scare me.

  24. John, what you’re doing is simply refer to other commentators, pretend that their views are authoritive on the subject, then blame others for “sounding like elitists” because they offer opinions of their own. This is not a very courteous thing to do, nor is it a very productive thing to do if you honestly intend to debate.

    As for your view on capitalism and “right wing” ideology, you seem to assume that everyone on “the right” shares the same values and opinions when it comes to economics. If this is the case, it’s a great misunderstanding. The majority of conservatives in the United States, judging by their political representatives, are no staunch defenders of free market capitalism. In fact, I can count exactly two people in Congress today who are. You’ll find that many conservatives, actually, are in favor of state intervention, typically justified on humanitarian grounds. As you so typically put it: “We have an obligation to help others.” Libertarians beg to differ.

  25. Pot calling kettle black: “…blame others for ‘sounding like elitists’ because they offer opinions of their own. This is not a very courteous thing to do, nor is it a very productive thing to do…”

    As a former radio talk host, I spent a lot of time tolerating senseless theoretical debates based on Friedman and Rand, only to see the fruit of their once unproven philosophy produce economic devastation. An unintended consequences if you will. A disciple like Alan Greenspan was shocked by the results.

    What surprises and frustrates me is your inability to adjust your all or nothing free market train wreck once presented with the facts.

    The idea Republicans, who would repeal the New Deal, cut taxes for business at the expense of Americans and ignore the environment, aren’t anti-government enough is bizarre.

    Yes, we have ideological differences, but under my democratic representive government by the people, not corporations, people aren’t left to die. All I see here in these comments is tough love, limits on help and capitalism knows best. Can you point to the word captilism in the constitution. It’s not there, just like universal health care isn’t specifically mentioned.

    We will always be dependent on someone, either an employer or government (both, other choices?). I’ll always be pretty leery of someone who has to check their bottom line to see if I’m worth their time.

    You complain here about our bought and paid for congress, but would at the same time turn everything over to the ones who own our politicians.

    It’s masochistic.

  26. For real, I can see that we will never see eye-to-eye.

    1) You have a VERY narrow view of the globe called Earth. You’ve been too isolated in America to know what REAL poverty is. Poverty that people are born into with ZERO, ZERO, ZERO “FREE WILL” – Zero chance to even CONSIDER a way out. GOVERNMENTS DO THAT!! What part of that do you NOT understand? I’ve seen poverty in places that is stomach-turning. And that has only strengthened my appreciation for being given just an iota of a chance (from birth) to better myself without some HEAVY-HANDED government and raunchy despot telling me I CAN’T!!! Thank you, Mr. Founding Fathers!

    You say you are in real estate. Well, you don’t even have any appreciation that YOU had the opportunity to exercise the free will to get into that. All you can do is bitch and moan about your “plight” in this life.

    2) You obviously know absolutely nothing about how BAD the “Community Reinvestment Act” was for this nation. The banks WERE INDEED pressured to make very risky loans. Now, I am most certainly not saying that that is the whole story. An entire history book will be required to write the entire story. Were banks complicit? Absolutely. But, before the “Act”, banks were always highly self-regulated – based on risk analysis. But, you also have to ask yourself, “Did people over-extend themselves?” (Making them complicit, also?) Absolutely. So, don’t give me that nonsensical notion that individuals didn’t know what their own risk tolerance was. They were just as greedy. Greed was everywhere.

    3) You mention “corporations looting”. You simply choose to close your eyes to the fact that GOVERNMENTS are the BIGGEST looters of all. And not only in America. It is a “global issue”. Who is the government?? Government is made up of human beings who want power. Period…Full Stop!

    You obviously feel that governments (locally, Federally, or globally) have big hearts. Wrong. It is a phenomenon – a part of the human condition – for people to want to have power over others. It’s egregious! Hence, the Founders and Framers wrote extensively on the very nature of human beings to want to usurp power from people.

    3) You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to agree on anything Bill Moyers has to say about the past, present or future. The man is blinded by his socialist (and anti-American) views. His prerogative to his own belief systems, but whatever he is selling, I ain’t buying.

    4) Seems that since you are in real estate, you’ve been hit hard and perhaps this is getting in your way of thinking clearly about free will and individual freedoms to pursue their own path (and it’s put you on a path of a “blame game”). It’s so ironic. You have the opportunity (a blessing) to exercise your free will to take that path, yet when it doesn’t follow a straight line (in perpetuity), corporate America has got to be your fall-guy. Too much narrow-mindedness there for me.

    The fact remains that this Administration is hell-bent on pointing the finger at corporations (it’s so condescending to anyone who has a brain to fall for it) for the woes and ills of a society. This is a “classic” M.O. of governments (again, world-wide and throughout the ages of time) to get the masses angry as hell at something or someone so that they can say, “trust me – we’ll take care of you”. Then…BAM! THEY are the ones with all the power. CENTRALIZED power. And that, John, is when human beings lose everything.

    I’m looking at the big picture on an historical time-line of how humans become enslaved. And you’re stuck on the past few years, which is a blip on the radar screen. You’re willing to be a “follower” of a few people (government) and their populist tactics just to end up losing your free will? The history books are full of this same story repeating itself time and time and time again.

    Go ahead and try to search the world for a “perfect system”. You won’t find it. And it will never be created here either.

    Get off the trip that corporations are the bane of society. And get into your history books to make the discovery that governments suck the life out of any society.

    (And as a follow-up on the shocking statistics of young girls having babies with no financial ability whatsoever to take care of them; they most certainly are not held up in high esteem in my eyes. My love does go out to the children who are exposed to high risks and abject poverty. The numbers are staggering – and growing – and so is the cost to society, both financially and socially. Not my opinion. Statistics bear this out.

  27. To Sue Palmer; I don’t have the time to answer one ridiculous exaggeration about me, refute the idea I’m whining instead of discussing(but your not complaining?), and your elitist demonstration of authoritarian wisdom over me is jaw dropping.

    Moyers by the way has GUESTS on his show, professionals on the economic crash, its not his opinion. Wow, what an open mind, blaming people for banks willfully taking advantage of them to make a buck. Which reminds me:

    Radio host Thom Hartmann breaks it down this way: Liberals trust people and the peoples government. Conservatives distrust everyone, most of all a government of untrustworthy people.

    The flaw in the libertarian ideology: People can be thieves, greedy, crooks and deceptive. It’s a cancer in the unregulated free market crap shoot. Good luck with that.

  28. @John:

    You say, “…your elitist demonstration of authoritarian wisdom over me is jaw dropping.”

    John, you only PERCEIVE that I am engaging in authoritarian wisdom. Therein lies your inability to engage and “listen” to another point of view. You just can’t handle it. Not my fault….sorry.

    You clearly are on the Left and I am right of center. So, we will not get anywhere. I’ve found that the Left espouse that they are the “open-minded” ones on the political spectrum. I…don’t…think…so.

    I talk substance like history (whether you agree or not) and you do not respond to make your case. No comment on the detriments of a powerful Centralized Government? Just name-calling?

    Like I said in my previous post, I’m thinking in terms of long historical periods and you’re stuck on just the past 2 years (and ready to upheave EVERYTHING based on that short time). Benjamin Franklin said, “They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I’m going to stay in a much longer time zone and not have a knee-jerk reaction to our current recession and give up my liberty for “a little temporary safety”.

    You say: “Liberals trust people and the people’s government.”

    WOW! That is SOME scary “sheeple” stuff. No WONDER there are so many dictatorships in the world. You mean like how “the people” trusted Lenin and Stalin? Where between 1924 and 1953, he was soley responsible for 20 MILLION deaths of his own people. And forget about trying to estimate the number of political prisoners were taken and how many were shipped off to Siberia.

    Like “the people” trusted Hitler? The young people in Germany today are only just now trying to come to terms as to how their parents and family members got sucked into that.

    Like “the people” who trust(ed) Hugo Chavez? – who was voted in and has now shut down all of their free speech, radio and television because he says it’s best for them to not be deceived.

    Like “the people” who trusted Mao when he led them into a devastating horror called “The Great Leap Forward” creating famine beyond our comprehension and caused 30 MILLION deaths. Or his “Cultural Revolution” which caused an estimated 25 million (MILLION!) deaths of PEASANTS. Again, not my opinion. It is historical fact.

    And, you know, John? These examples only go back to 1923. And, it only covers Europe and China. Consider the entire world and how many cliffs people walked off for their GOVERNMENT. Idi Amin was trusted by “the people”. He is solely responsible for over 500,000 of his own people in 5 years.

    So, I will always be respectful of my country, my government and be thankful for our “civilization”, but will always have a very HEALTHY mistrust of the Government because it is made of up people and people can go off the rails. And I won’t go off with them.

    Don’t try to win an argument on these posts. Just read history and have an open-mind about becoming an individual and not part of a “collective”.

    Then, if you want to be in “collective”, that is your right. Cuz, hey! This IS a free country!

  29. Alright, I will suggest Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”

    lol

    Naomi Klein is the Anne Coulter of the Left. Neither bother to offer substantive research, both grossly and intentionally misrepresent their targets and both invent false accusations with glee.

    What surprises and frustrates me is your inability to adjust your all or nothing free market train wreck once presented with the facts.

    you haven’t presented a single shred of fact but logical fallacies and false dichotomies. Come back when you have facts and not distortions.

    the rest of your rantings are BS and not worthy of a response

  30. To Sue Palmer: Yes, people trust other people. How odd, huh. Like the sheeple who trusted W.? The rant proves you have nothing but fearful fantasies to support your belief system. Surprisingly, much of the current political anger revolves around being responsible; having health insurance.

    Saving peoples lives, as a country, suddenly brought out the “freeloader” underpinnings of the libertarian movement. With the knowledge of a safety net health care system in place, libertarian big talkers whine about having to buy insurance, even if you don’t need it. Thank you for raising my premiums $1200 a year for your irresponsible concept of freedom. Remember, freedom isn’t free, except to libertarians.

    I’ve been on the private market for 15 years, paying every dime, arguing every denial, while employees take all this stuff for granted and whine about how much they like the way things are now.

    Other “I lost the argument” rant points: “you only percieve.” “You clearly are on the left..” “Hitler” “Chavez” (are saying Obama?)

    “I talk substance like history (whether you agree or not)”

    History is recorded fact. If you want to disagree with fact, fine, many ideologues do. Maybe you can join the Texas Board of Education and rewrite history for our childrens text books.

    “No comment on the detriments of a powerful Centralized Government?” We don’t have a detrimentally powerful centralized government. That’s your imaginary villain, not mine. Deregulation, a move away from this “villain,” gave us the Great Depression (a fact?).

    To Fareed: I was waiting for your typical comment: “you haven’t presented a single shred of fact but logical fallacies and false dichotomies. Come back when you have facts and not distortions…the rest of your rantings are BS and not worthy of a response.” This is the standard authoritarian, know-it-all answer given by libertarians. I know, it’s beneath you. Sorry. God I hate wasting time like this with truly nasty, self indulgent pontificaters.

    I always end up regretting taking these whimsical journeys down the rabbit hole.

  31. When I mentioned “Hitler”, Obama never even entered my mind. Not for a nanosecond. I gave you some truths in our 20th Century history.

    Typical lefty who LIVES & DIES for the “TALKING POINTS”. Pitiful.
    THAT is “collective thinking”.

    Go to The Huffington Post and get some solace from those who will most certainly agree with every word you say and where the “collective thought” is alive.

    I don’t mind a good tete a tete, but you just have too much rage.

    Over & out.

  32. This is the standard authoritarian, know-it-all answer given by libertarians. I know, it’s beneath you. Sorry.

    Nothing authoritarian about it. Using Naomi Klein as your source of information tells me all I need to know about your ideas and facts regarding Capitalism. Your statement Deregulation, a move away from this “villain,” gave us the Great Depression” is just one example and there are plenty more in your posts.

    God I hate wasting time like this with truly nasty, self indulgent pontificaters.

    then please take your vile and angry comments somewhere else. we don’t need more ignorant people here.

  33. John, all other points aside, do you really have complete faith in our government? There is such a thing as a healthy mistrust of government. It isn’t paranoia, it is simply accepting that the leaders of the government are regular people (albeit somewhat elitist and ideological) and are susceptible to corruption like the rest of us. But they also have the added shortfall that they are drawn to power.

    That doesn’t mean they will all make bad decisions, but that also doesn’t mean we should tune out to all of it and trust them.

  34. Which is also why I am an advocate for minimizing their involvement in my life.

    I can easily minimize a corporation’s involvement in my life by not buying their products. We can write our senators and vote them out of office, but laws are extremely difficult to repeal, especially those that remove our freedoms. The Patriot Act being one of the more recent offenders.

  35. To Shane:

    I agree with your statement completely. I spend hours, sometimes days, verifying the information I use to make decisions. I am skeptical of everything I hear and see, until I investigate, and I’m sure you do to.

    Repealing those laws that favor business and sells out government, laws that “minimize” the peoples control of our country, are also difficult. It cuts both ways.

    In health care, you can’t stop buying cancer treatment, allergy drugs, diagnostic test for a sudden illness, prenatal care…etc. Health is not a free market product. Insurers are an unnecessary middle man.

    The Patriot Act was a BIG mistake, an intrusion supported to protect our freedoms, and recently found to be unconstitutional.

    We may disagree on many issues, but you sound sane, thoughtful.

    To Fareed: Klein gives a books worth of examples, what are you talking about? It says a lot about you that deregulation doesn’t raise a few red flags. Vile? Be off with you heathen.

    To Palmer: Collective thinking, how original. A bit Ayn Randy. “Obama never even entered my mind” is so laughable. Then why did you mention the evil socialist list? Calling Obama anything but a centrist is partisan right wing group think.

    It’s funny after reading your stuff, I’m the one who has the “rage” problem? Over and up the rabbit hole.

  36. John, I’m going to be honest with you and with no sarcasm. I do feel sorry for you. Because you’re like a dog with a bone that just can’t let go. You have an overwhelming need to have “the last word”.

    Perhaps you are a very young man and need to time to learn how to debate properly. I don’t know the answer.

    I have no more debate left. Your last post can be “the last word”.

  37. To Fareed: Klein gives a books worth of examples, what are you talking about?

    Klein does no such thing. She quite openly rips quotes out of context, falsely attributes positions to her opponents which they didn’t take, and invents lies. I found it shocking that Kline simply lied to people and claimed that Milton Friedman was a supporter of the War in Iraq. Milton had spoken out in opposition to the war numerous times before died. But Naomi doesn’t let a minor detail like the truth get in the way of her politics.

    She spent a lot of time misquoting Friedman and stripping comments out of context to often ascribe to Friedman positions that were the polar opposite of those he was actually taking. Klein also claimed that libertarians somehow engineer a crisis, like the Iraq war, to push for changes that they get through any other way. To do this she had lie about the position most libertarians took on the war — for instance she claimed the anti-war Cato Institute was a “neo-conservative” think tank!

    In short, from describing Friedman–and Cato–as neoconservatives, to slyly implying that Friedman supported land theft in Sri Lanka, to juggling statistics and years, Klein simply built a shocking indictment on a foundation of sand. She simply does not bother to offer substantive research but wants us to believe that Friedman/liberal economists/neoconservatives/corporations/the Bush administration are all part of one big free-market/corporatism/militarism-complex. And then she can take the worst thing one of them does and blame all the others for it.

    It says a lot about you that deregulation doesn’t raise a few red flags

    it doesn’t need to do. I see the failure of the regulatory state each and every step and have plenty of evidence to support it. Furthermore you haven’t offered any credible evidence to the contrary apart from Naomi’s dishonest book which Johan Norberg wrote a devastating critique of.

  38. thats it from me. if you do find credible sources I am more than happy to re-consider but the conscious distortions offered by Naomi– which I can expand on even further— does little to convince me that capitalism and corporations are the demons you make them out to be.

    over and out

  39. I appreciate all the final comments. No need to answer this.

    I’m 59, a 27 year radio veteran, 10 years political talk. I’ve had these conversations by the hundreds. Heated sometimes, condescending most times and no meeting of the minds.

    No one has given me one example of a successful free market Friedman dream come true. No one. Human nature doesn’t allow it. Somalia has been suggested, but I’m not familiar with their system. Not a great place for a vacation or cruise I hear.