Future Technocrat in Chief Newt Gingrich Supports the Right Subsidies

Embittered Mensa reject Newt Gingrich sat down with Glenn Beck today to discuss the ways in which Newt Gingrich is the right person to be in charge of America. The interview was "gaffe-free," according to Beck, unless one considers a GOP presidential candidate endorsing Solyndra-style command-and-tickle of the U.S. economy a gaffe (I do): 

GLENN: Regulation and the government scares the crap out of me and I think most Tea Party kind of leaning conservatives, and Theodore Roosevelt was the guy who started the Progressive Party. How would you characterize your relationship with the progressive ideals of Theodore Roosevelt?

 GINGRICH: Well, that depends on which phase of Roosevelt you’re talking about. The 1912, he’s become a big government, centralized power advocate running an a third party candidate which, for example, Roosevelt advocated the Food and Drug Act after he was eating ‑‑ and this supposedly the story, after he was eating sausage and eggs while reading up to Sinclair’s The Jungle, which has a scene in which a man falls into a vat at the sausage factory and becomes part of the sausage. And if you go back to that era where people had ‑‑ dealing with the Chinese where the people had doctored food, they had put all sorts of junk in food, they ‑‑ you know, I as a child who lived in Europe and I always marveled at the fact that American water is drinkable virtually anywhere.

So there are minimum regulatory standards of public health and safety that are I think really important.

GLENN: Okay. So you’re a minimum regulation guy on making sure the people don’t fall into the vats of sausage?

GINGRICH: Yeah. What I’m against is the government trying to implement things because bureaucracy’s such a bad implementer, and I’m against government trying to pick winners and losers. I mean, there’s no accident that the Smithsonian got $50,000 from the Pierre plane and failed and the ‑‑ from the Congress, and that the Wright brothers invented the airplane because ‑‑

GLENN: Okay.

GINGRICH: But I do think ‑‑ and I think almost everybody will see this, I believe. You want to make sure, for example, if you buy certain electric things that they don’t start fires in your house.

GLENN: Sure. But you have selected a winner when you are for, quite strongly, the ethanol subsidies.

GINGRICH: Well, you know, that’s just in question. When Obama suggested eliminating the $14 billion a year incentive for exploring for oil and gas, everybody in the oil patch who’s against subsidizing ethanol jumped up and said, hey, you can’t do that. If you do that, you’re going to wipe out 80% of exploration, which is all done by small independent companies, not by the majors. I supported, I favored the incentive to go out and find more oil and gas. Now, that’s a tax subsidy. It’s a bigger tax subsidy than oil ever got. But I want American energy to drive out Saudi Arabia and Iranian and Iraqi energy and Venezuelan energy. And so I am for all sources of American energy in order to make us not just independent but to create a reservoir so that if something does happen in the Persian Gulf in the Straits of Hormuz, the world’s industrial system doesn’t crash into a deep depression.

GLENN: Why would we, why would we go into subsidies, though? Isn’t ‑‑ aren’t subsidies really some of the biggest problems that we have with our spending and out‑of‑control picking of winners and losers?

GINGRICH: Well, it depends on what you’re subsidizing. The idea of having economic incentives for manufacturing goes back to Alexander Hamilton’s first report of manufacturing which I believe was 1791. We have always had a bias in favor of investing in the future. We built the transcontinental railroads that way. The Erie Canal was built that way. We’ve always believed that having a strong infrastructure and having a strong energy system are net advantages because they’ve made us richer and more powerful than any country in the world. But what I object to is subsidizing things that don’t work and things that aren’t creating a better future. And the problem with the modern welfare state is it actually encourages people to the wrong behaviors, encourages them not to work, encourages them not to study.

At least he got the date right on Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures." As for the idea that bureaucracy is "a bad implementer"—this is also true! But what Gingrich suggests as an alternative is that government support companies and industries that would be winners without government supporting them. At least, this is what he seems to mean when he says, "What I object to is subsidizing things that don’t work and things that aren’t creating a better future." By Gingrich's logic, government would not be "picking" a winner, it would be recognizing one. And yet, products and ideas that work—Facebook! iPod! Pot!—work not because government says they work, but because people use/buy them. Some people would call Gingrich's line of reasoning "counterintuitive." I say it's like putting a monocle on a coma patient and telling his family that he is deep in thought. 

To test the former House Speaker's theory, let's ask ourselves (and maybe Gingrich?) the following questions: Do things that things that work need government recognition for consumers to know that they work? And is ethanol—which Gingrich should probably be embalmed with—creating a better future?  

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  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    "Command-and-Tickle"

    I prefer Command and Conquer, myself.

  • Arcaster||

    I really enjoyed playing the Zero Hour expansion for Generals. Great game.

  • Libertarians like enTITLEments||

    Such as big-government regulation of the land to restrict free movement of Non-State societies.

    It goes to show how much Libertarians hate personal autonomy and sovereignty, and fear taking personal responsibility for living a truly free lifeway.

    Libertarians are city-Statists to the core, just as much as any Communist or Progressive.

    Historically, people in non-state societies are relatively autonomous and sovereign. They generate their own subsistence with little or no assistance from outside sources. They bow to no external political leaders.

    NON-STATE AND STATE SOCIETIES
    http://faculty.smu.edu/rkemper.....ieties.pdf

  • ||

    Do you not read guys like Rothbard, Shaffer, Woods or Libertymike?

  • Libertarians love enTITLEments||

    I've got quite a bit of the libertarian canon in my library; I'm quite familiar with the libertarian catechism.

    But then I decided to check my premises.

  • Urkobold™||

    THAT'S "LEAVE THE PREMISES," FOOL!

  • ||

    And peace is war and liberty is tyranny.

  • Matt M||

    And he wants kids to work in Dickensian labor camps.

  • tarran||

    What an abysmally stupid man...

  • ||

    But energetic!

  • Fluffy||

    I think it's telling that he sees the only conceivable opponent of ethanol subsidies as being the oil and gas industry.

    This is how deeply his experience as a Washington insider has damaged his mind. There are only recipients of subsidy fighting it out among themselves for spoils, to him - that's the whole country.

    The idea that there could be some separate group of citizens who don't like higher food and energy prices and tax handouts to farmers...that's just not part of his way of looking at policy any more.

  • Tim||

    Newt Gingrich: Asshole.

  • robc||

    The idea of having economic incentives for manufacturing goes back to Alexander Hamilton’s first report of manufacturing which I believe was 1791.

    America's Founding Statist.

  • Raston Bot||

    Shot in the hip and died six days later. July 11th is a blessed holiday.

  • ||

    Though by today's standards, he was an anarchist.

  • Libertarians love enTITLEments||

    I don't know a single Libertarian who isn't an agricultural city-Statist. City-Statists live in an often-reinforced collective fear of the personal responsibility of a sovereign individual in the Original Affluent Society. (Sahlins, 1972)

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Newt can suck it.

  • robc||

    what I object to is subsidizing things that don’t work

    sigh.....FUCK YOU.

  • ||

    He doesn't like it when the government picks winners, because they pick the wrong winners.

    Help, I think my eyes just rolled down the hall.

  • Libertarians love enTITLEments||

    you're not for zero entitlements at all

  • ||

    Ugg. Really him or Romney?

    How about we streamline the tax code and lower the corporate tax rate to a reasonable level - like 15%? Then manufacturers, oil exploration firms, and all sorts of companies will have an economic incentive to invest - namely profit.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Apparently the GOP thinks McCain lost because he didn't have poofy hair.

  • Gojira||

    To be fair, that is why I did not vote for McCain.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Nope. Him, Romney or Obama.

    Are you crying? I'm crying.

  • ||

    Conor Friedersdorf's article Why a Newt Gingrich Candidacy Would Doom the Tea Party is pretty good.


    The Tea Party wasn't just a reaction to President Obama or the financial industry bailouts. As Jonah Goldberg puts it, "a major motivating passion of the tea-party movement was a long-delayed backlash against George W. Bush and his big-government conservatism." Support for the War on Terrorism and the invasion of Iraq caused many conservatives to stay loyal to Bush. But that didn't mean they liked No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the attempt at a guest worker program, TARP, or the Harriet Miers nomination. Especially after the defeat of John McCain, many on the right insisted they'd never again support Bush-Rove conservatism.

    And Gingrich supported almost all the most controversial Bush-Rove policies!
  • Metazoan||

    Why are so many political soundbites near incomprehensible? I'm not talking about the ridiculousness of their ideas, I mean the fragmentated nature of- you know, the sentences that- well, we need to try- um, my position is that- well, you know...

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It's important to string together the non-sequiturs with "um", "well, you know" and other devices. Otherwise, these clowns would sound like idiots who only speak in non-sequiturs.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    My favorites are "Look!" and "Listen!" at the beginning of some sentence which is nothing more than an long, unsupported assertion which translates to "Nu-uhh".

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    "Let me be clear..."

  • affenkopf||

  • ||

    Good god what a buffoon.

  • Veemee Sashimi||

    Ah yes, the right wing version of "if only the right people were in charge."

    Clueless when blue does it, clueless (and hypocritical) when red does it.

  • ola||

    Newt is running at the mouth about the $14 billion in "subsidies" to the oil and gas industry. That amounts to about 11 cents per gallon of gasoline sold each year in the U.S. and that only affects half the barrel. Besides the "subsidies" Newt is vomiting about is essentially an acceleration of depreciation of capital investment. He's a frickin moron. It really is no subsidy, it is just a deferral of payment to a later date, so I guess it is a benefit. But it is not what the Newtster is trying to portray in his interview. The true damage the feds do to the oil and gas industry is the regulations, permits, environmental studies, public hearings, more studies, lawsuits, changes in conditions of the original permit applications, more environmental studies and finally moratoriums. Been there, done that. I wish an interviewer would ask the obvious follow up question about ethanol. Newt, you seem to be up to speed on ethanol, can you be so polite and enlighten us to the benefits that the normal jerk on the street sees from you promoting and mandating growing corn and putting it in our gas tanks?

  • ||

    The "true" subsidy to the oil and gas industry is the trillions of dollars in money and many lives expended positioning ourselves in the Middle East because of its oil.

  • Restoras||

    So, Gingrich would be the same as Obama who is the same as Bush. Just shovelling more coal into the train that's already going full speed for the cliff.

  • ||

    "But I do think ‑‑ and I think almost everybody will see this, I believe. You want to make sure, for example, if you buy certain electric things that they don’t start fires in your house."

    So, we need. . .what, exactly? A private organization called UL?

  • ||

    "But I do think ‑‑ and I think almost everybody will see this, I believe. You want to make sure, for example, if you buy certain electric things that they don’t start fires in your house.

    He's right. I DO want to make sure. Good idea Newt! OH wait, he means the Government should make sure? Like I have no incentive to make sure? WTF

  • Gojira||

    Average people are not intelligent enough to check these things on their own.

    If you operate under the assumption that, 1) everyone is stupid, and 2) stupid people deserve to be protected from the consequences of their stupidity, then everything he says makes sense.

    I'm willing to conceed point 1), but we went off the rails when point 2) became the default position of the land.

  • ||

    If you concede point #1, you must therefore concede that Newt is stupid and government employees are stupid and therefore the proposition that goernment can make things right is stupid.

  • Gojira||

    Sadly those who believe in gov't carve out the caveat that point 1) does not apply to lawyers and Ivy League power-families.

  • cynical||

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that noticed that. If I was running the interview, I'd derive maximum mockery potential from it.

    Newt: (Borderline incomprehensible technocratic bullshit).
    Me: Wow, good point Newt. Those UL ratings are pretty important. I guess you won't eliminate the federal department that does that testing.
    Newt: (More garbage, sarcasm detection fail).
    Me: Yes, I agree, we should definitely preserve the government agency that Underwriters Labs belongs to.

  • kinnath||

    I got an email from the Paul campaign saying they just bought a million bucks worth of ad time in Iowa and New Hampshire. They're going to run the anti-Newt and Shih-Tzu ads.

    I'm gonna have to send some money this weekend.

  • ||

    I keep sending him money. And when the Florida primary comes along, I'm voting for him.

    I suggest that everyone register GOP for their state's primary to do the same.

  • ||

    Newt's solution is to only subsidize things that work. Sounds like Will Roger's investing advice; buy stock and hold it till it goes up, and if it don't go up, don't buy it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Newt needs a photo-op with Rachel Maddow pushing for America to use its children's future tax dollars to think big.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    What exactly does he mean by "certain" electric things that start fires? And what was he trying to express in regards to the Smithsonian, and the Wright brothers inventing the airplane? Vague language. Muddled thoughts. Maybe indicative of the early onset of Alzheimer's? Or maybe he's just a goddamn moron.

  • ||

    Newcular Titties prefers language that allows him to change his position later without actually having to admit that he changed his position. Parse, reparse, unparse, parsec.

  • robc||

    And hasnt UL done far more to prevent electric fires than all governments combined?

  • ||

    Seems like a nice little model for consumer protection "regulation" to me.

  • ||

    I kind of liked Bush-Rove. Newt seems to have a good concept of what kind of policies & regulations are good for the economy and which aren't.

  • ||

    Certain policies, which reward the production of certain strategically important goods and services, can be very good for the economy.

    And, certain regulatory bodies, like the FDA, do have an important role to play.

    Domestic fuel production, for example, could really improve the budget and the 'sense of independence' that we all have as Americans. I, for one, would love to be free of foreign oil, even Canadian Oil.

  • Gojira||

    ...could really improve the budget and the 'sense of independence' that we all have as Americans.

    I'll kindly thank you to pay for your nebulous concept of a "sense of independence" with your own money, instead of mine via taxes.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Shit Gojira. I thought "Jonathan L. Gal" was your new sockpuppet. Sort of an "Alan" for a new day.

  • Gojira||

    Sadly, no. Though I wish I had invented him. This shit is gold.

  • ||

    It's an anagram for "A Gallant John."

  • ||

    What Orwell said in affenkopf's link.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It's also an anagram for Alan John Galt. Goddamn you Gojira!

  • Gojira||

    Wow, you guys have really stepped up your game.

    In a few months when I come up with some lefty sock I'm really gonna have to work on that anagram to make it teh awesome.

  • ||

    I suspected you when you responded.

  • Gojira||

    No, that seriously isn't me. I was saying "in the future" I'll have to work on a hard anagram.

    1) I don't repeatedly post unless someone responds, and 2) I always cop to it when confronted.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Jonathan L. Gal is a real person. I looked him up on LinkedIn. Seems like a decent guy. But he isn't going to get much much love on the Hit & Run boards with statements like, "And, certain regulatory bodies, like the FDA, do have an important role to play." So be gentle with Jonathan, and try to apply soft pressure to get him to embrace his inner libertarian.

  • ||

    With than anagram? No way he's not a libertarian, even if he doesn't know it yet.

  • ||

    With that anagram, that is.

  • ||

    The obvious prejudice against Newt, by the author, is confusing to me. Why do you hate him so much? And, what do you mean by 'embittered, Mensa reject'. I have no idea what you are talking about on that.

  • ||

    The U.S. Free Market system is like "The Force" in Star Wars. It works best when you "let go".

    Dodd-Frank is failing us, because it has put a stranglehold on the capital markets.

  • ||

    The U.S. Free Market system is like "The Force" in Star Wars. It works best when you "let go".

    Dodd-Frank is failing us, because it has put a stranglehold on the capital markets.

    When the government succombs to the feelings of anger, hatred, and class warfare, as it has in the past 3 years, under Dodd-Frank, then the government becomes an instrument of the Dark Side of the Force.

    Let Go, Luke, Let Go!

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Dodd-Frank is failing us, because it has put a stranglehold on the capital markets.

    You are correct. The FDA is failing us because it has put a stranglehold on the development and production of crucial drug treatments, and the freedom to produce and consume certain foods.

  • ||

    Newt is a twenty year veteran of the Council on Foreign relations.
    He is a globalist that cares nothing for American sovereignty or our constitution.
    The fact that republicans are supporting him shows what a horror-show this media-ocracy has become.
    I'd rather have Obama neutered by the right for 4 more years than this globalist.

  • romulus augustus||

    Gingrich thinks that hindsight is the same as wisdom.

  • ||

    It is. . .when you have a time machine.

  • Butterfly Effect||

    I respectfully disagree.

  • Joe M||

    GLENN: Why would we, why would we go into subsidies, though? Isn’t ‑‑ aren’t subsidies really some of the biggest problems that we have with our spending and out‑of‑control picking of winners and losers?

    GINGRICH: Well, it depends on what you’re subsidizing.

    Newt, go fuck yourself.

  • Gojira||

    Here is a story with more relevance than anything Newt could possibly have to say.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I had a dog that lived to be 21. Had I known how close to the record she was, I'da cut out all that sausage and eggs we used to feed her for breakfast. Cut years off her life.

  • ||

    If government dog schools had made your dog read "The Jungle" she could have saved herself like Teddy Roosevelt did

  • ||

    Newt: "And you see? This is exactly what we need to do here in the U.S. Why aren't our dogs living to 52?? What's stopping us? We're the most powerful nation on earth we should be able to -look chester a. arthur owned a pitbull, a pitbull- and back in '97 we didn't know what we knew now. See, we'll send UPS packages to Japan and TRACK their dogs that way.. See how simple that was?"

  • ||

    Funny he should mention "...electric things that don't start fires..." in as much as UL is largely responsible for ensuring that electrical products are safe and is entirely private.

  • ||

    Sorry, didn't see the UL post above.

  • Rich||

    Did Gingrich really use the transcontinental railroad as an example of a good government program? Apparently the aspiring historian in chief never read about the non-stop corruption of that endeavor, or the fact that there already was a nearly complete railroad to the west coast when it started.

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