He's Slamming Statism, He's Protesting Protectionism, He's Citing Mises and Hayek on the Floor of Congress, He's…

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Barney Frank?

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  1. Wow! A real Nixon-goes-to-China moment…

  2. Unfortunately, this sounds like a “gotcha” speech. Frank did indeed nail “free market” Republicans with writing protectionist rules. But there’s no indication that Frank would vote Free Market when it comes to restrictions favored by Democrats.

  3. I actually like Barney Frank. He is a true rare animal; a liberal with any form of human charm or sense of humor. I wish he would come over to the free market side, but I fear Larry is probably right.

  4. But there’s no indication that Frank would vote Free Market when it comes to restrictions favored by Democrats.

    Who cares! When you’re right, you’re right, and Barney Frank hit the bullseye with that diatribe.

    Beauteous.

  5. He is a true rare animal; a liberal with any form of human charm or sense of humor.

    Jon Stewart could kick Dennis Miller’s ass.

  6. Stopped clock, twice a day, etc.

  7. Larry: I don’t believe for a moment that Frank has converted to free-market libertarianism.

    But it’s still a great speech.

  8. Brian,

    I said rare not unique and Jon Stewart is not that funny, neither is Dennis Miller for that matter.

  9. Well it seems like someone hasn’t been getting their palms greased by the Agricultural lobby lately.

  10. Well it seems like someone hasn’t been getting their palms greased by the Agricultural lobby lately.

    I guess we’ll have to wait to see how he responds to the next round of cranberry protectionist legislation.

  11. Wonder what got him so angry at the sugar related protectionism?

  12. I just posted the link at reddit and it is starting to take off already. If only everyone there liked my links….

  13. Wonder what got him so angry at the sugar related protectionism?

    His limbic system is out of balance due to too much fructose in the diet?

  14. Oops, it just went down a point. Perhaps a farmer voted?

  15. Wonder what got him so angry at the sugar related protectionism?

    ADM forgot to pay him.

  16. The man is obviously senile. Here he displays the telltale trait, remembering events from years long past as though they were yesterday;

    I have listened to many of my conservative friends talk about the wonders of the free market, of the importance of letting the consumers make their best choices, of keeping government out of economic activity, of the virtues of free trade, but then I look at various agricultural programs like this one.

  17. Warren,

    I don’t think it is ancient history that Republicans say such stuff. It is the doing such stuff that is ancient history.

  18. The Republican response line you are all looking for is: “He only favors free trade in sugar because he’s soft on Castro!”
    –G

  19. If the ghost of Goldwater and Hayek were to rise from the grave and intoduce you folks to libertarian liberals you all would still say it ain’t so.

    But you all have no problem siding with anti freedom forces (market and otherwise) becuase they told you they didn’t like public skools (right after they voted themselves a pay raise and doubled the local school budget).

    I have never, and I mean never, seen any evidence that Republicans are any stornger (in the long run) on the total free market package. Most republicans I am aware of are quite against it as far as I can tell, favoring a corporate/state conjoining similar to Germany in the first half of the 20th century. (not to say that I’ve seen any evidence that the democratic party supports free markets either, I have only seen evidence of individuals supporting the free market).

  20. Several years ago, I watched on CSPAN as Barney Frank and Gerald Solomon debated dairy subsidies. Solomon, the conservative, represented a dairy farming district, and supported the subsidies.

    Frank represents urban consumers of milk, and opposed subsidies and price supports. Frank made reference to Mises, Hayek and Friedman in his speech supporting the free market side.

    So this is not a total fluke, although it is clearly a matter of representing the interests of the district, rather than abstract free market ideology.

  21. Grant Gould says
    “The Republican response line you are all looking for is: “He only favors free trade in sugar because he’s soft on Castro!”

    Several years ago, a friend ran for Congress on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket, and he attacked the incumbent Republican Congressman for receiving large contributions from sugar interests. He speculated that such contributions were the reason that Congressman Calvert backs the embargo on Cuba. Cheap Cuban sugar would represent a threat to America sugar interests.

  22. Gene,

    The Sugar Industry pays a lot of money to get one vote per year. It could easily keep out cheap Cuban sugar. Those policies have nothing to do with Cuba. They are just straight up bribery on the sugar industy’s part.

  23. I am left to wonder where Frank stood on other Ag subsidies, specifically the Northest Milk Compact. If he supported the compact I think it would be hyprocitical stance, but he’s gain my respect if he opposed the compact as well.

  24. Opps looks like Gene just addressed my question.

  25. Looks like Flake is on the right side of things yet again.

    This is where I think Libertarians (big L) get in trouble. A guy like Flake is such a massive colossal improvement over most other options at the Congressional level, and yet because he isn’t absolutely 100% pure in his libertarianism (the war, a few issues related to religion) many Libertarians still don’t like him.

    And I just don’t get this. Someone like Flake in a higher leadership position in one of the two existing parties seems like it would be an unquestioned boon to many libertarian positions. Why is it so hard to throw support his way? Because he has _some_ contrary positions?

  26. “He’s Slamming Statism, He’s Protesting Protectionism, He’s Citing Mises and Hayek on the Floor of Congress”

    Anyone else think these could work as lyrics in either a They Might Be Giants or Cake song?

  27. Again – I’ve been touting Flake for a while now on this very site. He seems to be about the most libertarian-friendly Congressman/Senator out there, aside from Ron Paul.

    I know he’s a Mormon, but aside from that, what, exactly, does his record indicate that he shouldn’t be a candidate that libertarians should love.

    Alas, last I heard, he was not going to seek another term. Which is just another sign that he truely understands his role as a government official.

  28. “I know he’s a Mormon, but aside from that, what, exactly, does his record indicate that he shouldn’t be a candidate that libertarians should love.”

    I agree, but of course that didn’t stop the LP from running a candidate against him in 2004:

    “Flake’s challenger, Libertarian candidate Craig Stritar said he was disappointed that Flake didn’t talk about the Patriot Act, a law enacted by Congress less than two months after Sept. 11, 2001, that gives law enforcement agencies unprecedented tools to combat terrorism.

    Stritar said Flake voted for the Patriot Act and that is one of main reasons why he is running against the incumbent.

    ‘The Libertarian Party is trying to provide a peaceful alternative [to the war],’ Stritar said. ‘But you can only push people so far and [Libertarians] are worried that our peaceful alternative is being ignored.'”

    So because Flake was more or less pro war (with some wise hesitations about details on costs and duration), he gets the heretic stamp and the LP blows resources (though granted not many) running against what has to be one of the top 10 most libertarian members of Congress.

    I don’t like the Patriot Act either and I think the war (in Iraq not Afghanistan) was a mistake, but this seems mighty counter-productive regardless.

  29. “He’s Slamming Statism, He’s Protesting Protectionism, He’s Citing Mises and Hayek on the Floor of Congress”

    Anyone else think these could work as lyrics in either a They Might Be Giants or Cake song?

    I do.

  30. SR:

    When I first read the header, I thought it was a reference to “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.”

    John:

    I was really just being silly with that comment, but I have to say that in my experience, the class of people who have no sense of humor can best be described as “politicians.”

  31. Truth is where you find it. Even when you find it coming outa Barney Frank’s brain.

  32. I’m impressed that he’s read Mises and Hayek. Ya know, if we libertarians can bring our anti-war and pro-capitalism, thus pro-prosperity, messages to the liberals, I think that we can win converts among them. So perhaps then they will help us defeat the liberals who won’t turn away from the dark side, and also defeat the kind of liberals who go by the name “neocons”.

  33. If we had a congress full of the likes of Jeff Flake and Ron Paul, we’d be far far freer.

  34. Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then. – HST

    Methinks I detect a whiff of hypocrisy…

  35. You know that things have gotten weird when Barney Frank is the voice of economic reason among Congressional Democrats.

    I admire mavericks, even the ones that I frequently disagree with.

  36. Is this the Bizarro Barney Frank?

  37. If Barney Frank reads Austrian economists, the chances are increased that he reads Reason and this stellar blog…What? It could happen. So…

    Hey Barney Frank, Kudos to you on that speech! Please check all of this out. The individual freedom philosophy works well for poor folks-makes it so that they can make themselves unpoor. Also, among the libertarians/paleo-right, you’ll find some of the most cogent critiques of needless wars like the Iraq war.

  38. Way to go Barney. Thanks again for demonstrating the libertarian proclivities of a Liberal Democrat as opposed to the opportunistic money-grubbing of the “free trading” Conservative Republicans.

    Contrary to the oft expressed opinions of many self-described libertarians, Liberals come down far more often on the side of “hands off” government than today’s Conservatives. In fact, the major areas of disagreement between Libertarians and Liberals are monetary. As a Liberal, I believe in fiscal responsibility – pay as you go. As a Liberal, I also believe that, since the wealthy and powerful get to control most wages, write most laws, influence most politicians and judges, that we should do our best to ensure that those who have benefitted the most from the system pay the most to make it work for the benefit of all the citizens.

  39. i Liberals come down far more often on the side of “hands off” government than today’s Conservatives.

    I don’t think so. Maybe vis a vis those phony conservatives, meocons. But that’s it.

    As a Liberal, I also believe that, since the wealthy and powerful get to control most wages, write most laws, influence most politicians and judges

    It’s the liberal philosophy that grants too much power to politicians and judges so that there is this power to buy from politicians in the first place. Under libertarianism, the laws that may be written are very limited.

    we should do our best to ensure that those who have benefitted the most from the system pay the most to make it work for the benefit of all the citizens.

    And to accomplish your “ensuring”, we’re looking at a very “hands on” government.

  40. No saint like a reformed sinner, I suppose. My only question, as others have asked: Has Barney truly “reformed”?

    I am so weary of seeing faux-libertarians feed true libertarians the rhetoric, and then slip them the salami after being elected.

    Clinton was “sort of a libertarian”?
    GW Bush was “the best hope for liberty in our lifetimes”?

    Puh-leeze. Give me someone who is the real deal (or, at least, as close as American politics can come to that ideal).

  41. I don’t mean to defend Republicans in general because for the most part they’re pretty indefensible lately, but most of the listings of congresscritters and other relatively high profile politicians who exhibit at least some signs of being a libertarian, it’s just a fact that you see ‘R’s next to their names more often than you see ‘D’s.

    Now it may very well be that this is due simply to a traditional alliance that could very well be unraveling, but just as an example, both libertarian type congressman mentioned here (Paul and Flake) are Republicans in name at least, though they seem to battle their own party more than the other these days.

  42. “He’s Slamming Statism, He’s Protesting Protectionism, He’s Citing Mises and Hayek on the Floor of Congress”

    Much more likely a ZZ Top song. They can make the #1 sign with their fingers and point heavenward. And Jesse Walker will be there with a trenchant article, that’s why we trust him.

  43. Pardon the minor threadjack, but the other day I was passing by the “specialty” section of the supermarket, and saw a bottle of “ABSOLUTELY GENUINE!!” Jamaican soda. Please note, the word “genuine” was very prominent.

    I got excited, thinking I could taste soda with REAL CANE SUGAR for the first time in my life. I mean, there is lots of sugarcane in the Caribbean, right?

    Then I looked at the ingredients…

  44. MNG-

    You don’t drink Jamaican soda for the sweetener. You drink it to feel groovy, if you know what I mean.

  45. I was in Jackson Heights, Queens a few years ago with some Indian friends and was given the opportunity to try some just pressed Cane juice.

    Good gawd, it was disgusting. My friends thought my reaction was pretty funny.

  46. What is this canard that liberals are somehow opposed to the “free market?” Where does this come from?

    JMJ

  47. Well, they tend to favor higher taxes, higher minimum wage, government control of health care and pensions, and more gov’t regulation of corporations. So certainly they favor a “less free” market.

    That’s in the U.S. In most of the rest of the world, of course, the word “liberal” means the exact opposite, so it’s a little complicated.

  48. What is this canard that liberals are somehow opposed to the “free market?” Where does this come from?

    Oh, nothing JMJ. Nothing at all.
    Minimum wage laws. Death taxes. Protectionism. Stupendously high rates of federal income taxation. Corporate gouging. Overburdonsome regulation on the X industry. Opposition to right-to-work laws. The Fairness Doctrine. Environmental scare-mongering. Business-bashing. A general distrust of the profit motive.
    Nothing JMJ. Nothing at all.

  49. I grew up in Barney Frank’s district, Newton, MA. It’s mostly upper class professionals. One time we got a pamphlet from the local Libertarian party trying to show us the light. Its gist was mainly, “vote for us and you’ll get more money.”

    If you’re going to try to reach out to liberals, particularly liberals who already have a lot of money, don’t try the appeal to self-interest.

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