The Outsiders


Pat Buchanan interviews Ralph Nader.

NEXT: Property Rights Update

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  1. Ralph Nader: First of all, we have to say what is the impact on African-Americans and Hispanic Americans in this country in terms of wages of our present stance on immigration? It is a wage-depressing policy, which is why the Chambers of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, Tyson Foods, and the Wall Street Journal [and Reason Magazine and Radley Balko --LW] like it. The AFL-CIO has no objection to it because they think they can organize the illegal workers?

    Ralph was on Wolf Blitzer's show a couple weeks ago and they discussed immigration. Wolf sadly shook his head when Ralph told him his immigration position. Wolf just couldn't believe Mr. Peace Love and Freedom was actually somewhat sane on immigration matters and didn't want to invite every Third Worlder into the U.S. to make the WSJ and Reason happy.

    P.S. I think the Libertarian Party should consider a big reach out to "Latino" voters. Or, at least that minority that supports Open Borders.

  2. RN:

    The peace movement (in Israel) is broad indeed

    Tom Friedman, wrote that memorable phrase, ?Ariel Sharon has Arafat under house arrest in Ramallah and Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office.?

    Virtually no member of Congress can say that, and so we come to this paradoxical conclusion that there is far more freedom in Israel to discuss this than there is in the United States, which is providing billions of dollars in economic and military assistance.

    both parties concede their independent judgment to the pro-Israeli lobbies in this country

    Of course there is freedom here as well to criticize the Israeli government's occupation and the US government paying for it, just as the Israelis do. The problem is political cowardice.

    But, this doesn't always have to be. This is the difference between business and government. In business, if a course of action is a disaster, there is market motivation to make rapid change.

    Our government's supporting the Israeli government's occupation of Palestinian land is unjust and wickedly counter productive to the interests of both peoples. Yet, it continues.

    But, this can change. We can change the climate of fear of the Israeli government lobby in Washington:

  3. Spotted an oddly reasonable economic comment by Nader there....

    Concentrated corporate power violates many principles of capitalism. For example, under capitalism, owners control their property. Under multinational corporations, the shareholders don?t control their corporation. Under capitalism, if you can?t make the market respond, you sink. Under big business, you don?t go bankrupt; you go to Washington for a bailout.

    Really deserves to be contemplated. If only we could hear this from someone who wasn't a longshot, a Marxist, or both...

  4. b-psycho,

    Yeah, I caught that too. Hey, you know what they say a broken clock is twice a day. But if you just caught that quote, you might think, "Hmmm. Whoever this is, they sound like a thoughtful champion of classical liberal values."

    And as for this:

    PB: What do you think is the maximum income-tax rate that should be imposed on wage earners?

    RN: Zero under $100,000.

    I have to admit that I don't agree with it but I'm in favor of it since it targets me as a special interest group. My personal favorite flavors of income tax are "flat" or "abolished", but unfortunately my vote can easily be bought.

  5. Mark, the other half of Nader's tax "plan" is to eliminate the income tax on the first $100k of income. That's more money in the pockets of consumers, who will turn around and buy stuff from...businesses and rich people! Businesses don't turn profits by paying low taxes, they turn profits by selling goods and services. Allowing more people to spend more money on those goods and services will, in turn, make the businesses richer. Trickle up economics.

    Now, there's a counter-argument to be made. But this argument is about supply-side vs. demand side, not about taxes vs. no taxes. By trumpeting his proposals for high incomes and ignoring what his plan would to for low income earners, you certainly make it clear where your conerns lie.

  6. If no one who makes less than $100,000 dollars pays taxes but relies on soaking the rich for all the government gravy they think they deserve, that giant sucking sound you'll hear is all of the nation's capital heading (and its owners)elsewhere.

  7. joe: Given a choice, I prefer to be rich. If I could be less ambiguous, tell me how.

    Nader didn't talk (this time) about business taxes. He was directly attacking private wealth and capital accumulation. That wealth usually gets invested in business, unless the state takes it away.

    Supply-side v. demand-side is a red herring. The real issue is freedom of choice to create and keep wealth for one's own purposes, and to employ it according to one's one preferences. Those who have been inculcated to believe money is evil, and/or that ordinary people can never attain much improvement of their lot by their own efforts support state punishments upon success. Apparently your greatest hope for yourself (and anyone) is to toil for wages until the generous state burns your remains?

  8. BP: correct. Which is why w/o the end of said gravy train such a move would be suicide.

    Then again, the first income tax was really a "class tax" in design, so some could argue the precedent has already been set. I'd rather hear a justification other than "they can afford it" myself though.

  9. It's always amusing to see politicians claiming to be "helping the poor" when arguing for some rediculous increase the minimum wage (in this case $10 an hour), seeminly unaware of the unemployment effects this would have on the same group that they are supposedly trying to help.

  10. "Supply-side v. demand-side is a red herring. The real issue is freedom of choice to create and keep wealth for one's own purposes, and to employ it according to one's one preferences."

    And how exactly is reducing the tax burden on lower and middle income people an affront to the idea of letting people keep the wealth they create? I can see how higher taxes on the wealthy detract from these principles, but wouldn't you agree that lower taxes on the rest of us (that is, the vast majority of us) serve to advance them? Or do your principles only kick in at six digits?

    "Given a choice, I prefer to be rich." Me too. Given a choice, I prefer to be tall. Should I then give preference to tall people in formulating my policy recommendations?

    You talk about state punishments: why is collecting $100,000 from one person more punitive than collecting $100 from 1000 people?

    "Apparently your greatest hope for yourself (and anyone) is to toil for wages until the generous state burns your remains?" Well, only once I've been repeatedly violated by a herd of camels. You do realize your a loon, right?

  11. So how does RN propose to keep US jobs from moving to China, without Smoot-Hawley-esque tariffs or Brazil/Argentina-esque restrictions on capital transfer?

    Maybe he would place mines in San Pedro & Long Beach harbors?

    Personally, I think that RN & PB should have talked about gun control. That would have been fun.

  12. A $10 minimum wage? Oh, please.

    If I promise to pay you 10 quatloos an hour, but the value of the quatloo floats, what's to stop The Powers That Be from creating so many Q's that, six-months down the road, you only have the buying power of 5 quatloos at Time Zero?

    This is why a minimum wage, or living wage is, at heart, a fraud. If you institute it under a hard money regime, it leads to fewer human-hours of work demanded by employers. If it is enacted under a fiat money scheme, inflation wears down the value of the new, "higher" wage until an equilibrium occurs. It is a mug's game.

    The "corporate pornography" meme is a new one, though. Obviously, orgasms obtained from looking at hand-made, locally-produced pornography are superior to those garnered from perusing Playboy. *snicker*


  13. Will somebody please drive a stake into Keynes? The Japanese have been trying hard for two decades to demonstrate the real value of demand stimulation- which is to say little to none.

    Cash in hand stimulates current demand for current goods, but is completely useless for the very large portion of the economic engine that seeks to meet future demand. Supply side = future demand = growth potential. Savings isn't theft, it is investment.

    "And how exactly is reducing the tax burden on lower and middle income people an affront to the idea of letting people keep the wealth they create?"

    Because the system is already skewed so that we low and middle income types don't pay for but a small fraction of the 'public goods' you keep creating, and you want to make it so that we pay for even less of what we use. Let's compromise and go across the board on tax reduction, then our principles are in tact.

    "You talk about state punishments: why is collecting $100,000 from one person more punitive than collecting $100 from 1000 people?"

    Interesting concept. Is the law regarding public drunkeness more punative than the law regarding capital murder because it captures more people per year at a lower penalty?

  14. kevrob:

    No, no. You have it all wrong. Liberals have a magic wand. The wave it and the actual value of labor changes *poof*. Every job is worth at least $10 per hour because they say so.

    Like Friedman, I have always wondered why they don't use the wand for greater good, like $100 per hour. I mean, clearly, the value of labor is arbitrary, so we might as well make it high so that everyone is rich ...

  15. I like the way you guys think!

  16. joe: Whether you extract the money from the masses directly, or wait until the shrewd, efficient, or criminal have gathered it into a convenient account, taxation remains an affront to free action. What you call "reducing the tax burden" is a clever trick to fool the masses into thinking they're not paying for the state via higher prices. Let's turn your argument around: Why is it kinder to punish one dramatically for the sins of all, than to collect the same small toll of each sinner?

    One can actually apply talents to become rich. Height is not realistically changeable. Imagine we have developed a technique by which hard-working joe could become tall, but then the state took a few inches off his achieved height. In the name of fairness!

    What business is it of the government how tall, or rich, any citizen is? Wealth and height are conditions, not actions. Why not tax redheads, too?

    I don't get the camel reference. Please dumb-down your comments for the loons in the audience. You talk as if you're smarter than we are. Funny that you're not already rich.

  17. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

  18. [RN]..."I think we should have a very modest wealth tax. I agree with the founder of the Price Club, who thinks it should be 1 percent.

    PB: One percent of your wealth each year would be turned over to the federal government?

    RN: Right."

    Would that be on top of the 4+% that already is lost due to inflation?

  19. Ralphy: Which of deese am I?

    a. Republican
    b. Democrat
    c. Halfass Libertarian
    d. wolf in sheep's clothing
    e. haven't decided

  20. "RN: Because big business realizes that the main countervailing force against their excesses and abuses is government, their goal has been to take over the government. "

    Talk about your circular arguments. Sadly, many people take this guy seriously.

  21. Nader Hater,

    Nader misses the whole point. He should have said: "Because some big businesses realize that the main enableing force for their excesses and abuses is government, their goal has been to take over the government. "

  22. "The Outsiders?" Don't you mean "The Losers?"

  23. Why does Ralph hate rich people? If we tax wealth and investment, who is going to pay the $10/hr minimum wage...the state?

    It is true, to me, that the system is structured to place the burden on the great masses of employees, yet those gtreat masses receive the transfers, too. The monied have and will always have the power, no matter the tax/transfer scheme. Quit bitchin' and figure out how to get rich!

  24. You might not believe this, Mark, but some of us with considerable talents apply them to tasks other than getting rich.

    I prefer collecting tax dollars that would otherwise go into bank accounts, luxury cars, and other non-essentials to those that would go towards keeping refrigerators full, family cars running, and medical bills from going into arrears. Not because I have anything against the former (which are all quite nice, and do good for the economy), but because the latter of so clearly more important.

    Your assumption that all corporate/wealth taxes would be transformed into higher prices for the purchases made by working people has two problems. First, you assume that such a hike would be necessary to allow suppliers to maintain their profits margins; however, given the extra demand created by the deep cuts Nader recommends in poor/working class/middle class/upper middle class taxes, the sales receipts of those corporations would be that much higher. Second, suppliers do not have unlimited latitude to raise their prices, since there is always some lean and hungry little entrepreneur who'll undercut them if their prices get too high.

    I don't support taxation to make rich people poorer; I support taxation to pay for stuff. If we could pay for the stuff we need without collecting a dime from anyone, even Donald Trump, that would be great. But, Reagan/W fantasies to the contrary, you can't base your entire economy on government debt.

    And to dumb things down to your level, your hystericaly comment about the state burning my remains was, as a response to what I wrote, so insanely off point and overdramatic as to warrant mockery. I'm sorry if I didn't raise the rhetoric to a level of hysteria sufficient to clearly be read as sarcasm, but given your comment, it was difficult to reach such heights.

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