Capitalism

Let's Take the "Crony" Out of "Crony Capitalism"

It's time to choose the free market

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When Judge Richard Posner, the prolific conservative intellectual, released his book A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent Into Depression last year, you might have thought the final verdict was in: Capitalism caused the economic downturn and high unemployment.

That this verdict was pronounced by someone like Posner, who is associated with the University of Chicago and the free-market law and economics movement, gave moral support to all the politicians who were intent on exploiting the recession (as they exploit all crises) to increase government control of the economy.

But what exactly is this "capitalism" that is blamed?

The word "capitalism" is used in two contradictory ways. Sometimes it's used to mean the free market, or laissez faire. Other times it's used to mean today's government-guided economy. Logically, "capitalism" can't be both things. Either markets are free or government controls them. We can't have it both ways.

The truth is that we don't have a free market—government regulation and management are pervasive—so it's misleading to say that "capitalism" caused today's problems. The free market is innocent.

But it's fair to say that crony capitalism created the economic mess.

Crony capitalism, by the way, will be the subject of my TV show this week on the Fox Business Network (Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern; Friday at 10).

What is crony capitalism? It's the economic system in which the marketplace is substantially shaped by a cozy relationship among government, big business, and big labor. Under crony capitalism, government bestows a variety of privileges that are simply unattainable in the free market, including import restrictions, bailouts, subsidies, and loan guarantees.

Crony capitalism is as old as the republic itself. Congress' first act in 1789—on July 4, no less!—was a tariff on foreign goods to protect influential domestic business interests.

We don't have to look far to see how crony-dominated American capitalism is today. The politically connected tire and steel industries get government relief from a "surge" of imports from China. (Who cares if American consumers want to pay less for Chinese steel and tires?) Crony capitalism, better know as government bailouts, saved General Motors and Chrysler from extinction, with Barack Obama cronies the United Auto Workers getting preferential treatment over other creditors and generous stock holdings (especially outrageous considering that the union helped bankrupt the companies in the first place with fat pensions and wasteful work rules). Banks and insurance companies (like AIG) are bailed out because they are deemed too big to fail. Favored farmers get crop subsidies.

If free-market capitalism is a private profit-and-loss system, crony capitalism is a private-profit and public-loss system. Companies keep their profits when they succeed but use government to stick the taxpayer with the losses when they fail. Nice work if you can get it.

The role that regulation plays in crony capitalism is unappreciated. Critics of business assume that regulation is how government tames corporations. But historically, regulation has been how one set of businesses (usually bigger, well-connected ones) gains advantages over others. Timothy Carney's book about this, The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money, explains why Phillip Morris joined the "war on tobacco," General Motors pushed for clean-air legislation, and Archer Daniels Midland likes ethanol subsidies.

As economist Bruce Yandle writes, "(I)ndustry support of regulation is not rare at all; indeed, it is the norm."

If you wonder why, ask yourself: Which are more likely to be hampered by vigorous regulatory standards: entrenched corporations with their overstaffed legal and accounting departments or small startups trying to get off the ground? Regulation can kill competition—and incumbents like it that way.

When will Michael Moore figure this out? His last movie attacked what he calls capitalism, but his own work shows that it's not the free market that causes the ills he abhors. Had he called the movie Crony Capitalism: A Love Story, he would have been on firmer ground.

It's time we acknowledged the difference between the free market, which is based on freedom and competition, and crony capitalism, which is based on privilege. Adam Smith knew the difference—and chose the free-market.

What's taking us so long?

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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  1. I seriously thought that was a bucket of chicken when I first looked at that picture.

    1. My mind read “Save The Whales”

    2. “Man, Colonel Sanders has really let himself go!”

      1. Indeed, as evidenced by the fact that he is not wearing his white suit as it no longer fits.

        1. he ate the suit

    3. A lot of the subsidies that various industries receive are because they are strategically important should the US gets involved in an actual war.

      Steel, cars (vehicles), food, etc. are essential because I doubt that China will honor any trade agreement should we ever find ourselves in a war-like situation with them.

      1. The problem with this statement is that they would then be dependent on us to buy the cars, steel, etc. to make money. This, and their better economic situation from making and selling goods, in turn makes it less likely that they would actually go to war with us. Also, we could just try to avoid war.

        1. Yeah, but wars are inevitable.
          It’s human nature.

          Detroit won World War II for the Allies through tank production.

          If we don’t have material and factories readily available to mass-produce weapons and food to feed the troops then we’re fucked.

          The practice of bailing out and subsidizing strategically important sectors of the economy will disappear when there are no more wars to be fought.

          1. Hey moron, do you really think we are using tanks in a war with China?

            It will be nukes.

            Thinking like you are fighting a war from 60 years ago is moronic.

            1. It’s not just tanks.

              There are a lot of vehicles in Iraq.

              Do you think China would have built them for us, especially since they were against the Iraq war to begin with?

              1. Yes, I do. The Chinese seem to actually like making money.

                1. Then you’re either naive or trolling.

                  China is run by communists and they will shut down any commercial enterprise and shoot the CEO on site if they feel it’s in their interest to do so.

                  1. It’s in their interest to make money.

                    1. China desires to become more powerful.
                      Money is just another tool to use.

              2. Only a dumb shit would think a war with China would be like a war with Iraq.

                1. Only an idiot would think that China wouldn’t block US exports to further their own interests.

                  1. Right, with China’s large navy of container ships? We don’t need to perpetually build cars and strategic materials, we only need the knowledge and resources to do so (iron, carbon, factory space). We have plenty of both.

          2. Perhaps you are overestimating the merits of the Sherman death box. Against German tanks it was a slow truck with a bazooka. Against German infantry it was a slow halftrack.

            1. It required 10 Shermans (and ten dead crews) to kill one Panzer.

      2. We have the resources to produce all of these things domestically without subsidies. The military can contract to buy the things they need and private business will produce it, subsidies are unnecessary.

        1. But then the congressmen can’t payoff their contributors and supporters. C’mon! Why else would a corporation give so much money to campaigns except for the chance to recieve tax payer money.

        2. And if we need to really, really, really ramp up production?
          Are we going to wait for months while factories are being rebuilt because China doesn’t want to sell us vehicles?

          1. Well, we could use japanese steel as they will be completely unlikely to side with the chinese. We have auto factories, and tons of them, outside of detroit. Every single product could either be produced or acquired from some other country. Ask yourself this, did we have a huge military build up before WW2? Did Germany build more or less of its military hardware before the war started, or did they build most of it well into the war, during the age of carpet bombing while they were economically isolated? The latter is actually the case. Your argument is therefore completely fictitious. Even taking your argument at face value, we already have a military that could handle millions of enemy combatants. For any other military to increase production enough to challenge us, it would have to draw A LOT of attention to itself. We’d already know what was happening, and we’d be able to start making plans for increasing our military production ourselves. Your argument is such crap.

            1. Well said twelge. Furthermore our modern wars are come as you are. Any war with China would immediately result in the US taking it to their borders, bombing all their production centers and trying to decide if we want to occupy the nation or stir things up and let the Chinese take care of their government or split up the nation.

            2. Well said twelge. Furthermore our modern wars are come as you are. Any war with China would immediately result in the US taking it to their borders, bombing all their production centers and trying to decide if we want to occupy the nation or stir things up and let the Chinese take care of their government or split up the nation.

            3. “Ask yourself this, did we have a huge military build up before WW2?”

              We had a manufacturing sector back then that could be converted to manufacture military equipment.

              If our entire manufacturing sector goes overseas (read: China), then we’re shit out of luck when the next war comes.

      3. Yea, because if we depend on imports from China now, then we will always and forever have to depend on them. Every part of your argument is ridiculous.

        1. I’m just grateful that you are not in charge of national security.

          “Let’s buy weapons from China and when we do something China does not like, they’ll stop exporting weapons to us!”

          1. This is idiotic. What if aliens invade and ally with the Chinese? What if dolphins learn how to use mind control on submarine crews? What if Godzilla returns and we don’t have a giant mecha robot to fight it? We better get building those giant mecha robots or else we’re screwed!

            Fight the enemies that you have, not the enemies that you want to have or the enemies you think you have.

            1. Having resources available for reasonable eventualities is not the same as “OMG! What if aliens attack!”

          2. Basically we are not at war with the Chinese so we shouldn’t behave as if we are at war with the Chinese and should stop spending money as if we have to be prepared to fight everything.

            1. China is our enemy.

              And relying on countries that aren’t your allies for your military supplies is a very, very, very bad idea.

              1. Did we declare war on China? Did they declare war on us?

      4. I am confident we have the raw materials, skilled labor, and production capacity to domestically produce anything on short notice, not to mention the already huge stockpile of ordnance the military has waiting around.

        During world war two, factories that built shit like refrigerators, automobiles, and railcars were quickly converted to produce planes, trucks, and tanks.

        1. Yes, but we don’t have those factories anymore, since they’ve all moving overseas.

          1. We still have more than enough domestic factories to suit military needs. Many more products than you think are uneconomical to import from overseas. The war department can also finance factory construction like they did during world war two.

          2. If you want massive growth in manufacturing industries in the United States, support deregulation, lower taxes, and free markets. Barriers to entry supported by big businesses and entitled citizens are what really drive away business and competition.

            1. In principle, I agree with you.

              However, that only works if our trade partners are honest and do not engage in currency shenanigans, subsidy tomfoolery, and protectionist monkeyshines themselves.

        2. I am confident we have the raw materials, skilled labor, and production capacity to domestically produce anything on short notice, not to mention the already huge stockpile of ordnance the military has waiting around.

          If you believe that, you’re out of touch old boy. Massive chunks of our manufacturing capacity have gone over seas (China and India primarily).

          Take commercial jet engine production. Do they call it Honeywell or GE now? I forget after all the mergers, but this conglomerate now owns things like what used to be Allied Signal — well, they moved their commercial jet engine work (engineering, manufacturing, the whole shit-and-caboodle) to India. Military engine work is still here, but the reserve manufacturing capacity that the commercial lines provided is gone.

          kyle is right, whether anybody likes it or not.

          1. No, Kyle is wrong and you are making some extreme preconditions. Factories producing anything other than cereal can be converted – in a short amount of time – to produce things like Jet Engines. US Manufacturing capacity operates at around 65% and we have all of the intellectual property to make the most advanced weapons in the world. Oh yeah, and we have the sattelites.

  2. If only we could honestly label things. Just that alone would help us solve a great deal of our problems.

    1. “Confucius believed that social disorder often stemmed from failure to perceive, understand, and deal with reality. Fundamentally, then, social disorder can stem from the failure to call things by their proper names, and his solution to this was the rectification of names.”

      1. Social disorder is semantic divergence? I like it.

        1. Where’s Wittgenstein when you need him?

          1. If I ever get near omniscience and awesome superpowers–and I’m asking alien superbeings for them in this comment–I might just sit around correcting people’s public misuse of words: “Sorry, that’s not what ‘capitalism’ means. Please go to the penalty box–on the Moon.”

            1. On second thought, I may charge a fine. I need some sort of cashflow to fund my Fortress of Solitude.

              1. Why would you need the fines to finance you Fortress if you get omniscience and awesome superpowers.

                If you had the omniscience as of last sunday morning, you would have put every cent you had on Green Bay and Arizona to beat the over. Hey, you could bankrupt all of the sports books and casinos. But b/4 you do, will Indy cover this weekend?

                1. Near omniscience. And yes, you’re right, I could make plenty off of that. But a nice, regular counter-cyclical income would be prudent.

            2. If I ever get near omniscience and awesome superpowers–and I’m asking alien superbeings for them in this comment–I might just sit around correcting people’s public misuse of words: “Sorry, that’s not what ‘capitalism’ means. Please go to the penalty box–on the Moon.”

              You must ask an alien superbeing other than Domtar.

              Perhaps “Bob Dole.” Ha. I am developing an appreciation for Earthling humor.

  3. Wow, no Chony commentary yet. Those dudes are slackin’.

  4. You state the obvious – that crony capitalism is a big problem. But what I don’t get about libertarians is that you all think there is such a thing as a pure free market. Money will always corrupt and as long as a capitalist gets his hands on surplus dough he is going to use it to influence the government. And if no government body exists for him to influence he will use it to create one! So instead of always alluding to this utopian free market lets get honest and assume a mixed economy is always going to be the case and work on ways of achieving a real democracy where money has less influence. It will never be pretty but it will be more honest.

    1. Money is the root of all evil? That’s original. Many thanks.

      1. If money is the root of all evil, and government has or controls more of it than anyone else and continually tries to get more of it, what should I conclude?

        1. evil is the root of all government.

        2. Money is not the root of all evil… the love of money is the root of all evil.

    2. I’d be satisfied with a freer market.

      1. agreed, most of us are not so naive to think we will ever be going back the Phoenician system, improvement is all we ask

        1. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never considered that we would return to the “Phoenician System.” I have no idea what that was.

    3. Ya got yourself all wrapped in a circle here. You say money will always be influential so let’s have a democracy with less monetary influence. So, which way is it gonna be?

    4. Yet another dick head who wants to tell us what it means to be a libertarian.

      Since you’re obviously into bodacious unsupported proclamations, let’s try a new one.

      The less power government has, the less value it represents to those seeking influence, the lower the price influence-seekers will be willing to pay to get influence, the less control that influence-seekers with deep pockets will actually have over the rest of us.

      1. Well said.

      2. kinnath, that’s save-worthy and quotable.

          1. +2. I’m saving that for future plagiarization.

    5. The only way money will have less influence is if there is nothing *to* influence.

      The more power we give to hacks in Washington, the higher the stakes are and larger incentive there is to try to find ways of manipulating it.

      Eliminate the power and you eliminate the incentive to use money (or anything else) to influence it. Problem solved.

      1. This assumes that the only form of power is via government use of force, an axiom that many don’t accept.

        1. What else is there? Government use of nagging?

          1. According to Webster-Merriam’s site Power means the ” ability to act or produce an effect” and the “possession of control, authority, or influence over others.”

            I can certainly think of how someone could have that without government force.

            1. I’d rather have someone write me a check then put a gun to my head.

              1. If that check is the only way you could afford life-saving medecine then there’s really little difference in the amount of power that person has…

                And it depends on what you have to do to get him to write that check as to whether I’d rather have one or the other…

                1. “life saving medicine?”

                  That’s the first flaw in your hypothetical: There is no such thing.

                  1. There’s no medecine that, if taken could stave off death but if not death would result? C’mon LM…

                    1. Well, you know that I am not a big fan of allopathic medicine and the efforts employed by Big Medicine, the allopathic jihaddists and the state medical boards to crush alternative and complementary modes of healing and those who practice them.

                      Actually, now that I think about it, this little aside is actually thread relevant.

                    2. Support your local nurse practitioner! 🙂

            2. Having something that someone else wants badly or needs badly can certainly get you power over that person.

              1. Are you talking about you and your wife? Or millions of men and their SOs?

                1. Hey, that is one form of power, believe me…

              2. That is patently and qualitatively different form initiating force on someone and you know it. By your definition all human interactions are excercises in power, which may be the case for your definition of power.

                But, when people talk about government power over individuals you know very well there is a difference between that and say, your hot neighbor refusing to have sex with you, which falls under your definition.

    6. Peter is right about everything. Money corrupts everything. The free market is bullshit. That’s why we need to take money from the people who just want to produce shit and provide services through taxation and save the planet from warming and get everyone health insurance. And maybe get everyone a Prius. Libertarians are so stupid.

      1. “That’s why we need to take money from the people who just want to produce shit”

        It’s always fun to see into the minds of fanatics, the black and white and the heroes and villians, the lazy simplistic understanding of life…

        Yes, yes, liberals are just dying to take from those who are trying to produce things and provide services, that’s just how they see it…

        1. Don’t forget abortions for everyone and such…

        2. Nah, they just don’t why that production happens and that you can only act parasitically for so long before the host sickens and dies.

        3. Yes, yes, liberals are just dying to take from those who are trying to produce things and provide services,

          Well, they are. There’s just a superiority complex going on there where they know better how to spend/invest/distribute than the person actually doing the producing.

          1. Well, yes, they do think the money brought in as taxes better belongs in certain areas. To some point they think the person is just paying for services too.

        4. There are blacks and whites.
          There are grays.
          There are also rainbow coalitions.

      2. Money corrupts everything. The free market is bullshit.

        This is performance art, right? Right?!

    7. Re: Peter,

      You state the obvious – that crony capitalism is a big problem. But what I don’t get about libertarians is that you all think there is such a thing as a pure free market.

      Peter, as long as people are free to trade, there will be always a free market.

      Money will always corrupt and as long as a capitalist gets his hands on surplus dough he is going to use it to influence the government.

      Then the solution is obvious – get rid of government.

      And if no government body exists for him to influence he will use it to create one!

      Ok, and why would that be a bad thing? I am just curious.

      So instead of always alluding to this utopian free market lets get honest and assume a mixed economy is always going to be the case and work on ways of achieving a real democracy where money has less influence.

      I don’t understand, you’re begging the question – why would having a “real” democracy ispo facto reduce the influence of money, and why would that make for a better “mixed” economy?

      It will never be pretty but it will be more honest.

      Why would it be more honest. What is it about a “real” democracy that would lead people to do less lying?

      What I am seeing is that you don’t understand what the market is, nor what Free Market entails. You, the same as many of the clueless, believe the Free Market means several Scrooge McDucks running wild or something.

    8. Money is a tool used to express value, you stupid fuck.

      1. The dollar sign is a tool used to express value. Money is a tool used to store it.

    9. Money will always corrupt

      wat

    10. Money will always corrupt

      Let me free you from corruption, my son – I am willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for your purity of sould by taking your money.

    11. Never mind that a Cult of Personality can corrupt the democratic process as much as money does.

      We both agree that companies can corrupt the government. Well, if there is less government, there is less to corrupt and their efforts have less effect. Not all Libertarians want a total lack of government, they want a very small and limited government (although no gov’t would be prefered to too much gov’t). Libertarians are not anarchists.

      1. I always believed that at the heart of every libertarian stands an anarchist who is too embarrassed to admit that they are an anarchist to their friends and family.

        1. I’m more of a jazz purist myself.

        2. I have absolutely no qualms about calling myself an anarcho-capitalist and telling anybody that can hear me what I believe. So your belief that all libertarians are embarrassed to admit what they are is wrong.

          1. The embarrassing thing is you’re not embarrassed. There is perhaps a certain nobility to anarchy. But that’s not the same thing as workability or political appeal.

            An interesting point I read the other day. If you’re not taking into account political realities in formulating your policy views, you’re not taking in reality, period. You can’t advocate violent overthrow and installation of an anarchist system. You can’t make it happen by democratic appeal. Basically it can’t happen. What’s the point of being an idealist?

            1. Why does the caged bird sing?

            2. What was the point of the last Enlightenment?

              If people were able wake up to the idiocy of allowing themselves to live lives of subservience to an all-powerful church, or an all-powerful king, then I hold at least a little hope that they will eventually do the same with respect to an all-powerful government. It’s not a political ideal, nor is it something you campaign for; it’s a critical-mass paradigm shift that will happen when it happens. We’re talking on the five-hundred year time scale – not in our lifetime.

              A majority of people ruling a minority (and what we have is even worse than that) is no more justified than one man ruling another on an individual basis. Democracy is simply the most insidious mind-fuck the world has seen thus far, since it so effectively convinces the slave that he is occupying his only justified place in society – that his bondage is just, by virtue of its universal and perceptually self-administered nature. He will eventually wake up to the fact that it doesn’t have to be that way.

              Power to the people.

          2. I am partly being a jack ass, partly serious.
            I think some are afraid of the negative connotation associated with the word so they safely cling to libertarian. It’s like socialists who try to cling to the label liberal or progressive. And also, the word anarchist, just like the word libertarian, has different meanings to different people so it can be a communication issue.
            As for the others, it’s interesting. If you debate with libertarians long enough, a lot of them idealistically believe in a world of free will, free association, and no force. But they still stubbornly hold on to the belief that we need some form of government, so, yes they refuse to admit that they are wrong (I think this is where I am being a jack ass).

        3. How about a little free association exercise: what pops into your head when you hear the term ‘anarchist’? What would you come up with if asked for an off-the-cuff definition of the word by someone who had never heard it?

          1. I would ask them: “Do you choose your friends yourself?” And when they say that they do, I reply “Anarchist!”

    12. Money has almost no influence in North Korea. Obviously they essentially have no foriegn currency in their economy and their native currency isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, but I realize that’s a utopian paradise lightyears ahead of our quasi-feudal Western society, so it’s difficult to compare but I digress…

      While the government is horridly corrupt, “buying influence” = gulag. If you’re curious as to how pleasant that experience is, check out Yodok, or Camp 22.

    13. Replace “money” with “speech” and reread what you wrote.

    14. This is not the time or place for practical thinking.

    15. Wait a minute, belief in a pure free market is naive and childish, but we should all work towards a “real” democracy!?!?!? Four marks for ignorance about oneself.

      1. The problem with campaign finance laws is that they merely divert funds away from politicians who are at least somewhat accountable to the voters to shady third party groups who can be complete assholes on a politicians behalf while the politician can just say “hey, it wasn’t me.” Think swift boats, the goal should be transparency so that people know who got money from whom. Along with of course lessening the value of influence by keeping government out of areas it has little to no business in and I would add with favoring federalism and subsidiarity where individuals are better able to gather information upon candidates and issues and have more sway relative to national elections. This is one of the huge problems with progressivism, they really have no way to solve this problem and while some of the social democracies are reasonably well governed none of them are nearly as large as the entire U.S. We have some reasonably well governed individual states too.

    16. If you want money to have less influence, democracy is the very first thing that has to go.

      Though I think you’re right, we’ll never manage to achieve anything better than a mixed economy in real world practice.

    17. So instead of always alluding to this utopian free market lets get honest and assume a mixed economy is always going to be the case and work on ways of achieving a real democracy where money has less influence.

      You completely missed the point and missed.. all of history.

      Attempts to ‘fix’ it cause more of it.

      Devolve government and there’s less corruption. Empower government and there’s more corruption.

      That’s the reason crony capitalists WANT more government.

      It’s not going to be used in your interest.

      It never has in all of history.

  5. And if no government body exists for him to influence he will use it to create one!

    I have all this money, but no one to corrupt. 🙁 …I know! I’ll create a government body!

    WTF?

  6. “Money will always corrupt and as long as a politician gets his hands on surplus dough he is going to use it to influence the government.”

    1. I think this is about right. When Marxists claim that the USSR was an example of “State Capitalism” then that is a cop-out, and so is saying that no pure free market has ever existed. Free market utopias are not stable for the same reason minarchist utopias are not stable. Crony capitalism is always going to be a problem whenever you have private ownership of the means of production and it is kinda silly to suggest that free markets would work really well if only we got rid of those pesky crony capitalists.

      1. Sorry, that was supposed to be in reply to MNG’s post at 12:31 below. Goddamn squirrels (or was it robc?) screwed it up.

        1. My full name is Pontius Vanderbilt Hubert Lexington Rochester Pierce Worcestershire Bennington XV.

          1. Welcome, Pontious.

          2. You know what I hate? People who use nomina gentiles as first names. You people make me sick.

      2. But compare to today to the age of mercantilism and aristocracy. Things have changed and are changing. More free countries and (even now) more free markets is becoming more and more the norm and not the exception. People generally like freedom. The last shoe to drop will be the realization that crony capitalism is the problem. Then people will prefer government actions that aren’t just a scam. People won’t stop voting for more government, but they might at least vote for a government that doesn’t directly feed the problem.

      3. The problem is the political class needs the crony capitalists.

  7. It’s unhelpful to talk about this in any but relative terms. If libertarianism is on to something then there should be a correlation between the amount of government intervention and restriction and some good. If the benefits of libertarianism can only be seen with a totally free and perfect Libertopia then it’s in the same box Marxism is in. Whenever bad reports from the USSR came in die-hard Marxists would just say “well, that’s because they have’nt “really” gone totally Marxist, it’s just those few market processes left that are mucking up everything.” You end up with more of a religion than a political or economic philosophy. Of course, you also open up your philosophy to being shown to be contrary to the available evidence.

    1. Re: MNG,

      It’s unhelpful to talk about this in any but relative terms. If libertarianism is on to something then there should be a correlation between the amount of government intervention and restriction and some good.

      There are myriads of correlations. After the deregulation of long distance phone service, long distance became amazingly cheap. The non intervention on the personal computer industry lead to a digital revolution nobody could have even dream.

      And as contrast, the War on Drugs has lead to big budgets, nonviolent people being jailed, and thousands of deaths.

      If the benefits of libertarianism can only be seen with a totally free and perfect Libertopia then it’s in the same box Marxism is in.

      And if you can see the results BEFORE reaching Libertopia, then the conclusion is wrong. Right?

      Whenever bad reports from the USSR came in die-hard Marxists would just say “well, that’s because they have[n’]t “really” gone totally Marxist, it’s just those few market processes left that are mucking up everything.” You end up with more of a religion than a political or economic philosophy.

      You said it. There is only one snag with your comparison – Libertarians do not say “things will be better if we just had 100% Libertopia”. They argue that the only moral political principle
      is freedom. What people do with their freedom is THEIR problem. Instead, Marxism always fell victim to the Nirvana Fallacy, as do all Statists, or haven’t you read from them that “If only we had the proper mixture of markets and government, things would be much better?”

      Indeed, as a libertarian I believe it would be better to freely act, just as I would tell to the strangler it would be better for his victim to let her go. Why would THIS be comparable to the mystical undertones of Marxism and Statism? Please, tell me: I want to know.

      1. The statists would reply:

        “You don’t wanna know.”

      2. Libertarians do not say “things will be better if we just had 100% Libertopia”. They argue that the only moral political principle is freedom.

        So it’s a religion with only one commandment. Moral codes are subjective, and yours is both subjective and simplistic. So whence the self-righteousness? I feel you believe in vastly less individual freedom than I do. I just define freedom in a meaningful way.

        1. freedom is the ability to act without violent coercion

        2. Only the government can use violent coercion, so its role should be marginalized as much as possible.

          1. So the guy who mugged me at gunpoint was working for the government?

            1. tkwelge that only the government should be authorized to use coercive force, but even this is wrong. Coercive force implies an initiation of force. The government should only use force as retaliation.

            2. You mean that IRS Agent? Yes. He works for the government. That’s why you couldn’t defend yourself.

              Had it been a real mugger you could have shot him.

        3. Plz to provide your meaningful definition of freedom?

        4. Tony, utilitarianism is the worst, most subjective, most simplistic moral system of them all. All liberal philosophies are based on utilitarian morality. It is a morality based on factors that cannot be determined objectively before the fact. It also has no regard for human rights or principled reasoning.

          1. Tony, utilitarianism is the worst, most subjective, most simplistic moral system of them all.

            Heller I disagree.

            Progressives aren’t utilitarian. At some point you can’t divorce utilitarianism from empiricism. Utilitarianism is about results. We see the results. Yet, progressives persist anyway. They aren’t utilitarian. They are religionists of the worst sort. Their god has been shown to be murderous and evil yet they persist.

            I am a utilitarian. I see the results of the relative freedom in the united states and the results of collectivism.

            Even if he didn’t care to study deeper than that, any utilitarian would judge a prima facie case for freedom from a cursory reading of history.

            The flaws of utilitarianism aren’t in utilitarianism. The flaws of utilitarianism are when people claim it but aren’t really utilitarian.

            I’m a libertarian because I’m a utilitarian.

            I hold to free markets because I’m a utilitarian. Overall they perform best. Do they allow for error? Yes. Do some people suffer? Yes. But we see clearly the results of managed markets and they perform far worse. More people suffer. There is more privation.

            If collectivism worked I would consider it. It doesn’t.

            The greatest good for the greatest number is accomplished by freedom.

            Ultimately if you want to do the greatest good for the greatest many and you ever fail to be concerned with the entity which will bear the real consequences of any proposed action, the individual then I say to you, you are no true utilitarian.

    2. I never argue that a free market will solve everyone’s problems. I simply believe that a market forces never go away. You can divert the market like a river or dam it up, but you can’t ever really stop the forces of the market. They will always manifest themselves somewhere. It’s no use fighting it. I don’t worship the free market or believe in a utopian ideal. I simply believe that more freedom is better, and it is better to embrace and deal with natural market forces than fight them.

      1. Gains to liberty aren’t precisely linear, but in general more liberty is better than less. The problem arises when things are half deregulated where companies are promised bailouts but don’t have any rules placed on them, that is a recipe for failure. So arguing that some half assed deregulation effort didn’t work doesn’t mean that a full effort would be twice as bad. Like usual, progressives use misleading aggregates; while the correct approach is to look at individual products and industries, and in many products and industries it is completely possible to have what amounts to basically a free market. Also recognizing that a moderately progressive tax code that funds some social safety net is a much smaller infringement upon liberty than all sorts of price control and regulation schemes designed to produce the same effect; yet many people on both the left and the right foolishly don’t see it that way. It’s like when people assume that the U.S. health care system is more free than France just because the U.S. system doesn’t as blatantly redistribute money and control prices; followed up by a claim from people like MNG that therefore more freedom doesn’t always work and thus libertarianism amounts to an unprovable religion. If anything, certain aspects of the French system such as the choice of competing public plans, higher out of pocket costs, and more over the counter drugs would tend to be evidence that more freedom works rather than evidence against it. Then again, health care is a huge sector of the economy and there are all sorts of things going on so it is really tough to even say which mixed systems are in the aggregate more free; and the same applies almost everywhere else.

    3. It’s unhelpful to talk about this in any but relative terms.

      Just so MNG. And we can see just this. As government has gotten larger we see more income diversity. As government has meddled more in markets we see failures in those markets. On average, the cost of college tuition was about 1 months salary at the turn of the last century, about 2-3 months salary at the middle of the last century and about 6 months salary now.

      The answer.. clearly more government subsidies!

      Health care.. ugh don’t even get me started.

      Everywhere government mitigates the free market we see the results of that mitigation.

  8. Hell yeah! That didn’t make any sense, but it is right on.

  9. Real capitalism has never existed, of course. What we have now, a mixed economy (a precarious blend of freedom and controls) gets called “capitalism” by its friends and foes alike. Lots of blame to go around, but capitalism itself, as a politico-economic system, is innocent.

    1. Like a unicorn is innocent.

      No unicorn anywhere has ever harmed anyone!

      1. MSG is right. It’s the same way guns come to life and go around shooting everyone. My gun was chasing me around the other day trying to shoot me.

          1. His gun had had too much MSG-

    2. Real capitalism has never existed

      Of course it has existed. It existed everywhere before there was a state there. It still exists in isolated tribes. It existed in the pioneer US west where there was no law yet.

      And don’t embarrass yourself by saying ‘well people help each other so that wasn’t capitalism’

      Of course they did. Capitalism doesn’t mean people don’t help each other.

      Capitalism just means people don’t help each other to the property, labor, and life of each other at the point of gun or sword.

  10. Mo’ better freedom.

  11. Michael Moore is a great capitalist. He’s provided a product people want and in the process has seen more success for himself than anyone on this thread will likely every accomplish.

    To some extent that has to be some kind of credit to capitalism: in what other political or economic system could someone become so successful dumping on that very system?

    1. It still doesn’t keep him from being a hypocritical fat fuck.

      1. SF-

        Even if he were not a hypocrite, he’d still be a fat fuck. Christ, if he underwent a life changing transformation and became a genuine Rothbardian, you’d still call him a fat fuck.

        1. Fat, but maybe not so much as a fuck.

          He’s a fuck because he presents his hard ideological slant in a completely disingenuous manner.

    2. Moore uses capitalism to spread his messages, MNG, but he himself is no capitalist.

    3. Michael Moore is a perfect example of a crony capitalist. He made his money and wants to lock down the market behind him so other people can’t.

      Also he availed himself of special market dispensation from the government to make his movies.

      Which market protection the Supremes, happily, just did away with.

  12. I look forward to seeing your coverage of Cheney, KBR/Halliburton, and the Iraq War.

    1. I also look forward to 2004.

  13. Fun fact: In Team America: World Police the Michael Moore puppet was stuffed with ham and other foods before he was blown up.

    If only life would imitate art more often.

    1. Tsk, tsk, such venom directed at a successful entrepeneur…

      1. I’m not sure it was even meant that way. I bet the special effects guy in charge of that puppet just though food would be the best effect. Those guys always look to the kitchen for materials.

      2. Is this what passes for clever in your mind? The scorn for Moore isn’t because he’s an entrepreneur, but because he’s a liar and hypocrite who popularizes evil ideas. But you knew that already. Jerk.

      3. He deserves derision because he’s exactly what the topic is talking about.

        He wants to make his money in what’s left of a free market but close the door behind him.

        This is part of the problem in general.

        “No one hates capitalism more than capitalists”

      4. He’s a crony capitalist. Not an entrepreneur.

  14. Stossel is overly simplistic yet again.

    He thinks capitalism = unfettered “free markets”? What a joke.

    Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production. The US is more capitalist now than at the tail end of the Bush years since $400 billion or so of TARP has been repaid.

    There have always been taxes and tariffs in this country – so by Stossel’s simplistic binary definition the US has always been a socialist country.

    “Free markets” are a mirage that go back to the Boston Tea Party – when “Indians” dumped tea for the King’s decision of LOWER taxes on the Dutch East India company – undercutting their pricing advantage.

    1. The US is more capitalist now than at the tail end of the Bush years since $400 billion or so of TARP has been repaid.

      No it’s not because private ownership is mostly abrogated.

      The state merely permits the fructus of property, on condition of obeying the mandates of the state. Should you not comply the state can, will, and does revert ownership to the state. There is no property ownership if there is no right to protect your property.

      What do you own? Nothing. The state may claim it all at will.

      Do you own your life? The state insists you work a sizable and ever increasing fraction of your lifespan in servitude to the state.

      Where’s the private ownership?

  15. Stossel is overly simplistic yet again.

    He thinks capitalism = unfettered “free markets”? What a joke.

    Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production. The US is more capitalist now than at the tail end of the Bush years since $400 billion or so of TARP has been repaid.

    There have always been taxes and tariffs in this country – so by Stossel’s simplistic binary definition the US has always been a socialist country.

    “Free markets” are a mirage that go back to the Boston Tea Party – when “Indians” dumped tea for the King’s decision of LOWER taxes on the Dutch East India company – undercutting their pricing advantage.

    1. The US is more capitalist now than at the tail end of the Bush years since $400 billion or so of TARP has been repaid.

      I would say not. At the end of the Bush years, government ownership of various large auto and financial firms was less than it is now.

      1. I doubt more than $50 billion has gone into GM and Chrysler.

        Of course 1/2 that hit the books in 2008 – can’t blame Obama for that.

        1. It’s funny that fifty billion dollars is an amount of money so laughably huge that I can’t even comprehend it.

          But it’s only fifty billion.

          1. $400B (BUsh TARP) – $50B = Obama Capitalism.

            You lose.

            1. 400 billion bush tarp (you’re also forgetting another small stimulus package that people forgot about)

              Obama:

              The rest of tarp, the omnibus, the porkulis bill, then good old fashioned INCREASED deficit spending.

              YOU MOTHER FUCKING LOSE

            2. 400 billion bush tarp (you’re also forgetting another small stimulus package that people forgot about)

              Obama:

              The rest of tarp, the omnibus, the porkulis bill, then good old fashioned INCREASED deficit spending.

              YOU MOTHER FUCKING LOSE

              1. 400 billion bush tarp (you’re also forgetting another small stimulus package that people forgot about)

                Obama:

                The rest of tarp, the omnibus, the porkulis bill, then good old fashioned INCREASED deficit spending.

                YOU MOTHER FUCKING LOSE

            3. 400 billion bush tarp (you’re also forgetting another small stimulus package that people forgot about)

              Obama:

              The rest of tarp, the omnibus, the porkulis bill, then good old fashioned INCREASED deficit spending.

              YOU MOTHER FUCKING LOSE

        2. But we were talking about ownership of the means of production, shrike. When Obama took the oath, the feds didn’t own nearly as much of said means as they do now.

    2. Re: Shrike,

      Stossel is overly simplistic yet again.

      He thinks capitalism = unfettered “free markets”? What a joke.

      Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production.

      John Stossel is talking about free market capitalism, which means the free and voluntary exchange of private property. Saying that the Means of Production are held privately is just a redundancy.

      The US is more capitalist now than at the tail end of the Bush years since $400 billion or so of TARP has been repaid.

      What does that have to do with anything? As long as there is a Federal Reserve that can prop up the fractional reserve banking system, you don’t have Capitalism – you have Socialism, i.e. wholesale fraud and thievery.

      There have always been taxes and tariffs in this country – so by Stossel’s simplistic binary definition the US has always been a socialist country.

      He’s absolutely right. This country has been socialist by some degree, socialism being thievery with no character.

      “Free markets” are a mirage that go back to the Boston Tea Party – when “Indians” dumped tea for the King’s decision of LOWER taxes on the Dutch East India company – undercutting their pricing advantage.

      Nothing you mentioned above has anything to do with free markets – you have no idea of what you’re talking about.

      1. you have no idea of what you’re talking about.

        It’s part of his charm.

      2. As long as there is a Federal Reserve that can prop up the fractional reserve banking system, you don’t have Capitalism – you have Socialism

        Wow – you’re a Bircher idiot. A central bank equates to “socialism”?

        Well, the Fed isn’t going anywhere. Enjoy your irrelevance.

        1. shrike-

          Crony Capitalists come in two forms:

          Republicans and Democrats.

          I thought that you would appreciate the reminder that some of us are, indeed, realists.

        2. Re: Shrike,

          Wow – you’re a Bircher idiot. A central bank equates to “socialism”?

          Of course it does: It unduly SOCIALIZES risk (unduly because it is not voluntary, like with insurance, but through fraud, in the form of fractional reserve banking.)

          Well, the Fed isn’t going anywhere. Enjoy your irrelevance.

          Ah, what a nice counterargument – “You are wrong because you are a Bircher, but even if you were not, so what? The Fed is here to stay!”

          1. No. TARP socialized risk.

            The Fed takes no taxpayer money.

            ZERO – self-funded.

            1. Shrike,

              You idiot – what do you think INFLATION is? It’s a hidden tax on your purchasing power, and the Fed PROFITS from it. The Fed does this because it has a MONOPOLY on money printing from the government.

              1. You idiot – what do you think INFLATION is?

                For the next 4-6 years – ZERO.

                We’re in a deflationary environment.

                (gold excepted – fear factor)

                1. Re: Shrike,

                  For the next 4-6 years – ZERO. We’re in a deflationary environment.

                  Well – Good luck to you.

                  Hey, gang – a Keynesian in our midst, and a very credulous one at that!

                2. The cpi isn’t the only inflation to worry about. That inflation will show up elsewhere as a bubble, or high commodity prices down the line, or devaluation of the dollar in foreign markets, etc etc

                3. We’re in a deflationary environment.

                  Hahahaha! Yeah dude put all your money in cash, that’s a winner for sure;)

        3. Well, the Fed isn’t going anywhere. Enjoy your irrelevance.

          Being right is to be irrelevant? And irrelevant to what?

          The political process?

          Obama is as relevant to that as Eldritch was to the collected psyches of those who recreated on Chew-Z, but you would have to be a fool to want to be anywhere near that radioactive turd sandwich.

          1. OM is not right.

            But still irrelevant.

            The Fed returned $46 billion to the US taxpayer in 2009.

            Birchers are idiots – a commie around every corner.

            1. The fed also kept interest rates low to inflate growth which lead to malinvestment or just good old fashion speculation. The federal reserve played a role in the last recession and a big one.

              1. Nope, everyone agrees it’s all the fat bankers’ fault. They knew all this bad stuff would happen and that they would lose money, they just didn’t know that we’d catch them.

            2. shrike your ignorance is profound. You don’t understand how the fed works or what the fed does or is doing.

              Look the hell around. You think that 46B is gonna fix the problem they created?

    3. I learned a while ago not to argue with accountants about anything that isn’t accounting.

      I know this is a broad sweeping statement, but it’s a life lesson I’ve learned.

    4. I learned a while ago not to argue with accountants about anything that isn’t accounting.

      I know this is a broad sweeping statement, but it’s a life lesson I’ve learned.

    5. but theres also indirrect ownership. Even if a person owns property privately in name, if the government regulates it to the point that you are restricted and forced in how you use it, do you really own the property anymore? If private health insurance companies are now forced to take customers, are only allowed to offer certain government approved products, and are told at what privce they must sell this product, are private health insurance companies really private anymore? They are onyl private in name.

      1. Now THIS is a good point.

      2. You’re absolutely right. And everytime government has done this the victim of its restrictions has either collapsed or flourished at the expense of people. You have to love regulator capture and rent seeking.

    6. Please check your history before attempting to use it to your advantage in an argument. I’m not going to blow apart the many holes in your little tea party statement, but I will blow apart the most gaping. “Free Markets” didn’t exist as a dominant economic philosophy at the time of the tea party. Please research “Mercantilism” and return with a cogent argument.

  16. The government has been smaller at times and we still had crazy crony capitalists (think about some of the railroad dudes who got advantages through government favors).

    1. So the continual existence of corruption means that we don’t have to try and fight it?

      Noted.

      1. Oh, by no means. If anything it’s aa pretty good point in supporting keeping the government small I should think…

    2. Re: MNG,

      The government has been smaller at times and we still had crazy crony capitalists (think about some of the railroad dudes who got advantages through government favors).

      The answer is rather obvious.

      1. But what is the question?

        1. Re: BSJ,

          The implied question is How do we get rid of Crony Capitalism?

          The answer is obvious – get rid of government.

        2. The question is:

          Name the railroad that was 100% privately financed, was constructed by actually paying native americans for their property, without killing native americans and by paying higher wages than the corrupt railroad dudes paid their labor?

          BTW, bonus points to those who can identify the genuine capitalist behind the venture.

          1. The FEC

            Henry Flagler

            1. Jimmy Hill’s Great Northern. Whadda I win?

              1. GN was as far as I know completely privately financed after Mr. Hill got a hold of it. But he did buy up some lines that were built with subsidy (after they probably went broke).

                Now Warren Buffet has control of that property, who knows what kinds of pork he will be looking for…

              2. An all expenses paid trip to one of MNG’s deserted islands.

          2. The Great North Western… last name of the guy was Hill

    3. Government subsidy of railroad construction ended in disaster, it caused a massive bubble that burst in the late 1800’s and again in the 1960’s.

      1. Col._Angus-

        I did not know about Hill’s purchase of some lines that had been subsidized-at least I do not remember that being covered in Fulton’s book.

    4. The government has been smaller at times and we still had crazy crony capitalists (think about some of the railroad dudes who got advantages through government favors).

      That’s true but the scale of it has been ever increasing with the size of the government that enabled it.. at the behest of the crony capitalists.. with the excuse of helping ‘the little guy’. Never happens.

      The railroad example is good tho. The unsubsidized railroads. The railroads that didn’t get subsidies were the functional ones.

      Here’s a decent summary:

      http://mises.org/story/2317

  17. “If only life would imitate art more often.”
    Well, I think the “stuffed with ham and other foods,” part is well taken care of.

  18. I think many libertarians would be happy with a mere swing of the pendulum in the anti-government direction.

    But the anti-anti-government zealots aren’t having any of it.

    1. True but there is also those those in the anti-government movement that only want government off their money. They’re more than willing to trade liberty for security and of course the government regulating morality.

      1. That’s why they will always suffer Libertybill’s and Libertymike’s lampoonings.

      2. True, but economic freedom is still the most important.

        If you can afford it you may always attain whatever ‘vice’ you wish to indulge.

        Try that when you’re a slave to the state.

  19. I believe it is the First Iron Law:

    Money and power will always find each other.

    Any political philosophy that does not begin with this fact is bound to fail. Ergo, getting money out of politics is a fallacy. Can’t be done. Design your utopia around the fact that money cannot be gotten out of politics.

    1. Ahh, A realist!

      I agree 100%.

      1. So the answer is to reduce and decentralize temporal power.

        Increasing it and centralizing it is a sucker game which just makes power an easy and convenient target for money.

  20. And I’m always amused, (in a dark way) about how so many on the left — who see themselves as such radicals — are so far in the pocket of The Man.

  21. “And I’m always amused, (in a dark way) about how so many on the left — who see themselves as such radicals — are so far in the pocket of The Man”

    I’m curious as to how so CN. Who is The Man and how is the left in his pocket?

    1. George Soros is the man!

    2. Im the fucking man you idiot! Well, me and SEIU, and George Soros, and ACORN, and well, the rest is confidential…

      1. Beck, is that you?

        You got every straw man favorite of yours in that line.

        1. Damn it, I thought I was being sly. Did you catch my sarah Palin interview? Hard hitting journalism at its best! Who knew I could kiss so much ass! But I know your all OK with it, I am a libertatian after all! I say so on my program, and that makes it true!!!

        2. living in L.A. I can assure you SEIU is a bogeyman not a straw man.

  22. Is The Man a government official? A CEO? Someone like James Dobson or Al Sharpton? General Petreaus?

    Who is The Man?

    1. See? He’s already got you talking about Him.

      1. Are we sure that The Man is a man?

        1. Do not invoke THE MALE GAZE.

          1. Rule #1: You do not talk about The Man
            Rule #2: You DO NOT talk about The Man
            Rule #3: If you have to ask who The Man is, he’s already got you.

            1. Before you point your finger
              You should know that
              I’m the man,
              And if I’m the man,
              Then you’re the man, and
              He’s the man as well so you can
              Point that fuckin’ finger up your ass.

              1. I hate your new LP. You sold out, man.

    2. “When you stare into The Man, The Man stares back at you.”

  23. The Man is easy to spot. He’s always the guy holding the gun (if only metaphorically.)

    1. The Gun, you mean.

    1. God, but I do miss Johnny Cash.

  24. From here:

    What exactly is the “capitalism” of these anti-capitalists? Is it “Little England”-ism or mercantilist imperialism? Free trade or protectionism? Laissez faire or interventionism — A or non-A? Just as theocracy cannot denote both the union and the separation of Church and State, so capitalism cannot be both the union and the separation of Firm and State.

  25. Crow Eating Dumbass:

    “If the benefits of libertarianism can only be seen with a totally free and perfect Libertopia then it’s in the same box Marxism is in.”

    Leftists are the ones blaming something non-existent for their problems. They are blaming free markets for economic issues that have a clear connection to the combination of state and corporate interests, and libertarians pointing out the contradiction is not the same thing as marxist denial. The benefits of free markets become apparent in the situations where they actually exist.

    1. if you think for a moment all of the sectors that have troubles from energy to education to financial services… these are all the industries that givernment fucks around with the most. Contrast this to relatively free markets. You never here about a consumer electronics crisis or a blue jeans bubble.

      1. What about a tulip bubble?

        1. Fads happen all the time. They have the effect of punishing retards like you.

  26. Here’s a clue, as long as we grant some handful of individuals the power and authority to manipulate trade that power and authority will be used to benefit those with influence (typically, money)at the expense of everyone else – to prevent competition by erecting barriers to entry and such.

  27. Can we really get rid of ALL REGULATIONS?

    I don’t think u can.

    And, if u don’t get rid of ALL REGULATIONS and just get rid of SOME, will crony-capitalism go away ?

    For example, I like the EPA regulations of not allowing steal manufacturers from polluting our rivers and landfills with chromium. However, the factory owners wouldn’t like it. They’d rather live far away from where they pollute and keep the money.

    I don’t like regulations that stop competition. But, at the same time, I sometimes like regulations that stop imports and promote domestic regulations…to an extent.

    1. Alice, if the steel manufacturers are polluting your property, you have a remedy-sue them for damages. You do not need an EPA to do that.

      1. Oh yea? Me and WHAT ARMY of LAWYERS would be able to sue ALLIED STEEL CORPORATION? Or United Steel? Or Ryerson Steel?

        LibertyMike: I don’t have enough MONEY to sue anyone. Pretty much NO HAS the money to sue any of these companies.

        And, when exactly am I suppose to sue them? after my kids get Leukemia ?

        1. uhm class action lawsuits where the plaintiffs don’t have to pay up front happen all the time.

          1. Less efficiency, more harm to people, more ill-gotten profits for large businesses, and the larger they are the more they can hold off people seeking redress. Sounds like freedom to me!

            1. Less efficiency? What is the budget of the EPA? I bet you could motivate a pretty awesome army of class action attorneys for that kind of cash.

            2. Right and the EPA which is in the pocket of those same industries is doing so well?

              FDA working for you to stop the predations of big pharma?

            3. Yes, the main goal of companies is to fuck with people: “Let’s get lots of profits from criminal acts and then use that money to pay for the lawsuits, awesome!”

              1. Companies don’t pollute because they want to “fuck with people”, they do it because it’s profitable. Just ask any coal plant manager in china.

        2. Re: Alice,

          And, when exactly am I suppose to sue them? after my kids get Leukemia?

          The burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the plaintiff, which means you have to show a direct link between the defendant’s actions and the injury. If that means you can only sue after your kids get leukemia, then that is how it has to be, because otherwise you would be asking the defendant to prove a negative (i.e. that his actions will NOT injure someone.)

          1. What’s the difference between a factory polluting a river I drink from and someone shooting at me? If you’re okay with laws against assault then why can’t you be okay with laws and regulations polluting the environment? It’s not theirs to do with what they please until someone decides they’ve been harmed. They should be coerced from doing it in the first place. What’s wrong with that?

          2. That’s a typical mean-spirited libertarian/conservative response.

            I’m sure the tune would be completely different if it were your child…also a typical libertarian/conservative response.

            1. Wah wah wah, you meany! Why can’t we make people prove negatives? You’re so mean wah!

            2. If I was my child I would be suing the fuck out of them, instead of whining about “mean” libertarians.

            3. “If [it] was my child…”

    2. Re: Alice,

      Can we really get rid of ALL REGULATIONS? I don’t think [yo]u can. And, if [yo]u don’t get rid of ALL REGULATIONS and just get rid of SOME, will crony-capitalism go away?

      If the sole purpose of getting rid of regulations is to stop crony capitalism, then your skepticism would be well founded. The reason behing getting rid of regualtions is far more principled and less utilitarian: Regulations are undue, imposed restrictions on people’s freedom to use their private property as they see fit.

      For example, I like the EPA regulations of not allowing steal manufacturers from polluting our rivers and landfills with chromium.

      I would argue that the regulations you mention were not really meant to stop steel makers from dumping chromium (which by the way, is NON toxic in its Cr-3 form) but to impose a commercial barrier on competing steel foundries that wanted to start shop, by increasing the cost of entry.

      “Always believe the contrary of what the government tells you, and you will be right.”

      However, the factory owners wouldn’t like it. They’d rather live far away from where they pollute and keep the money.

      That’s possible. Think about how big was the chromium problem to justify chasing away those sources of employment?

      I don’t like regulations that stop competition.

      ALL regulations stop competition – that’s what they are designed to do. The cost of compliance will always hit the companies with the lesser market participation more than those with the bigger participation.

      They don’t call it “Crony Capitalism” for nothing – who do you think WRITES those regulations?

      But, at the same time, I sometimes like regulations that stop imports and promote domestic regulations…to an extent.

      What you are saying is that you like to raise the cost of living for those that are poorest just to make a few domestic producers richer. Am I not correct? Think about it.

      1. Cr-3 is, in fact, toxic if ingested or touched. I was involved in years of litigation with Ryerson steel in the 80’s over a landfill that they sold to a townhouse developer.

        On the regulation thing…it’s best that we agree to disagree. We do need regulations. However, corruption and cronyism makes it very difficult to distinguish between the so-called good/bad regulations.

        1. Alice,

          No, Cr-6 (the hexavalent type) IS toxic if you breath it, but not Cr-3, which is actually a nutrient.

          We don’t need regulations, Alice – as long as PROPERTY RIGHTS are CLEARLY DEFINED (i.e. if you contaminate MY soil or MY part of the creek, I’ll drag your ass to court) and protected, then regulations are at best useless decorations and, at worst, tools for the government to give undue advantages to a few chosen industries.

          1. Law suits are a re-active solution. And, if you don’t have money on influence to sue, the courts are completely useless to the regular joe.

            1. but the threat of lawsuit can be a preventative action. Do you think Allied Steel wants a long list of lawsuits?

            2. Re: Alice,

              Law suits are a re-active solution. And, if you don’t have money on influence to sue, the courts are completely useless to the regular joe.

              Are you telling me that the same system that creates the regulations and maintain the courts cannot treat the regular Joe fairly at those courts?

              Besides this, you have totally missed the point. Under clearly defined property rights, the foundry is not allowed to dump anything on land it does not own. Period. And if it is land it owns, then it cannot contaminate water tables that may be shared with other property owners. You don’t need to wait until your kids suffer leikemia, you just have to show that there is a substance placed in your water that was not there before and for which you did not give your permission, as property owner.

              But if you expect regulations to stop people from polluting, then you are expecting too much: Most regulations were written by the very industries that the regulations purports to regulate.

        2. The litigation you were involved in most likely was about Cr-6 contamination and not Cr-3. Cr-6 can actually be “contained” by using Ferrous Sulphate, but it has to be mixed with something else that will have water, like cement. Cr-6 is formed when you submit Chromium to high temperatures, like in smelting.

        3. However, corruption and cronyism makes it very difficult to distinguish between the so-called good/bad regulations.

          You’re missing the point. Regulations are almost always turned to the benefit of the regulated to impede competition.

          See Stigler and regulatory capture.

          By now it’s a science. Regulations are the mechanism for business to pay government to choke off competition.

          Very very few regulations are necessary, and those that are, usually become obviated by the same forces.

      2. Regulations are undue, imposed restrictions on people’s freedom to use their private property as they see fit.

        Dude, the example given was a factory polluting other people’s property, which you seem to think it should be free to do so until someone manages to successfully sue them. This is not a position that respects private property rights.

    3. First, let’s suspend our bisbelief and pretend that there is actually a constitution-bound representative republic and regulations aren’t just the results of backroom deals between politicians and wealthy campaign contributors, enforced by unaccountable bureaucrats with the effect of crushing upstart competition and the like.

      Now, if you wanted a “good” regulation to be imposed, you would need a majority of the population to agree with you. Otherwise, the regulators would be acting outside of their authority. My question is, then, why can’t all of these people simply boycott the terrible polluting company, launch negative media campaigns, etc? This seems like a better plan, especially considering that the regulators are not in fact incorruptable.

      This is in addition to LM’s solution.

      1. Now, if you wanted a “good” regulation to be imposed, you would need a majority of the population to agree with you. Otherwise, the regulators would be acting outside of their authority.

        So you mean tyranny of the majority is fine and good.

        WTF does “majority consensus” have to do with it? If might does not make right, majority doesn’t either.

        I never thought it could happen but I have to admit that Tony got one right up above.

        Dude, the example given was a factory polluting other people’s property, which you seem to think it should be free to do so until someone manages to successfully sue them. This is not a position that respects private property rights.

        Your response is reactive just like taking them to court.

        Try for a moment to imagine how a world like this would work. Nobody’s physical property could ever be considered safe, because Union Carbide could move in next door (or close enough) at any time and pollute the shit out of everything. The only thing you can do in response is sue them, or run negative ad campaigns?

        I agree with your argument that having regulators isn’t going to work perfectly either. But your solution is at least as far away from perfect.

    4. I can tell you, from personal experience, government regulations can actually hamper contamination investigations. There’s a company in Newfield, NJ called Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation, which contaminated the ground water. The state DEP wanted to investigate due to neighbor’s concerns. The NJ-DEP was flat ot denied access to the site by the Federal government because Shieldalloy was the recipient of no-bid DoD “classified” government contacts. This was in the late 80s. Now the ground water is contaminated, and the small farming community of Newfield had to install city water to all of its residents.

      The Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation (SMC) is a complex decommissioning site located in Newfield, New Jersey. During the manufacturing process, the facility generated slag, and baghouse dust. Currently, there is approximately 18,000 m3 (635,580 ft3) of slag and approximately 15,000 m3 (529,650 ft3) of baghouse dust containing natural uranium, thorium, and daughters stored onsite.
      On September 30, 2009, New Jersey became an Agreement State and assumed responsibility for all Part 40 licenses in the State of New Jersey. That action effectively terminated the NRC’s review responsibility for this decommissioning facility.

      The site is on the National Priorities List under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund), because of chromium contamination in groundwater resulting from the release of process wastewater to an unlined lagoon. The licensee estimates the cost of decommissioning ranges from approximately 5 million dollars (if the accumulated material is left onsite in restricted use decommissioning) to 63 million dollars (if the accumulated material is transported to a licensed low-level radioactive waste facility)

      http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder…..-smc-.html

      and the fight continues:

      http://www.nj.com/gloucester/i…..amp;coll=8

      1. Well, the answer many on this blog would offer is:

        TAKE THEM TO COURT.

        1. Well, that’s the thing. We did take them to court, just to get access. We were denied due to federal government regulations. If the NJ-DEP were allowed access in 1988, or so, we would have had proof that they were, in fact, contaminateing the ground water, then taken them to court and force them comply or face penalties and people might be still using their own personal wells. Not to mention how many people may have gotten sick since then.

        2. Alice, you need to bear in mind the regulations and regulatory agencies you love so well?

          Those things tend to indemnify offenders from suit.

          They have nice certificates from the EPA, FDA, et al saying they ‘followed regulations’.

          Of course money tends to flow from businesses to bureaucrats in those organizations to obtain those certifications.. but we should continue to ignore that!

          The judiciary is impeded from doing one of it’s prime duties, protecting third parties, by the encroachment of the executive into their purview.

          Does this make any sense at all to you? Does it really make sense for the enforcement mechanism to co-opt the justice mechanism? Doesn’t this, hasn’t this, compromised your real protection?

      2. This was in the late 80s.

        Under a Republican administration…what a surprise.

        Gotta love that free-market de-regulation, eh?

        1. With a democratic congress. I have a clue for you. Congress writes and passes laws.

    5. Give me your address. My company has lots of toxic waste, and it is expensive for us to dispose of it in accordance to the regulations you despise so much. In keeping with your faith, you should have no problem if we just dump it in a circle right around your property line, right?

  28. Regulations against theft and fraud are good. Regulations against harm are good. Regulations that protect private property are good (that includes pollution regulations if it is real pollution that has harmful and destructive effects). Regulations about carbon dioxide “pollution”, not so much.

    1. Colonel,

      What other regulations are needed besides “You shall not kill/injure” and “You shall not steal/defraud”?

      1. Only thing I can think of to add is You shall not fuck up my private property either (spill chromium in it).

        1. Colonel,

          Sounds fair.

    2. This is the problem. Many people feel that Regulations against theft and fraud are not good..(i.e. buyer beware).

      Tom Delay went into politics because the EPA banned a product that he used in his successful pesticide business. Some may argue that we don’t want dangerous pesticides. Other say BUYER BEWARE.

      Many people (including many libertarians that i’ve ran into on this blog) not only support the BUYER BEWARE thing…but go as far as saying that we should have regulations that require manufacturers to put warning labels or even ingredient labels on food.

      1. Did you mean “we should [not] have regulations that require manufacturers to put warning labels or even ingredient labels on food”?

        The market is capable of demanding these things without government coercion. That’s why McDonalds and Starbucks provided nutrition information before any government regulation forced them to. Not providing this information is not the same thing as fraud. Providing false information is.

        1. Starbucks didn’t even EXIST when the regulation went into effect.

        2. The market is capable of demanding these things without government coercion.

          I agree, but I also think devolving things like the FDA to advisory only would be a good thing and a step in the right direction.

          As state intervention goes, I think an agency to investigate, and make available, information about the safety of different products is not the worst thing in the world from a lib standpoint.

          Yes I know the free market can provide this too.

      2. Re: Alice,

        This is the problem. Many people feel that Regulations against theft and fraud are not good..(i.e. buyer beware).

        Laws against theft and fraud are not “Buyer Beware” recommendations. Theft and Fraud constitutes the taking of private property either by force (theft) or by relying on falsehoods (fraud).

        Tom Delay went into politics because the EPA banned a product that he used in his successful pesticide business. Some may argue that we don’t want dangerous pesticides. Other say BUYER BEWARE.

        I would argue that if you don’t want to use pesticides, you don’t buy pesticides. If what you’re saying is that the EPA purports to protect people from dangerous pesticides, you should look at the competing pesticide manufacturers and see how conveniently their products are not as regulated. The EPA is not populated by overly extraordianry people that see things others cannot – they can only react at someone’s insistance, and I can guarrantee you, 99% of the time, the insistance comes from lobbyists tying to get a leg up over their clients’ competitors.

        Many people (including many libertarians that i’ve ran into on this blog) not only support the BUYER BEWARE thing…but go as far as saying that we should have regulations that require manufacturers to put warning labels or even ingredient labels on food.

        Good for them. I don’t support those regulations – I can always refrain from purchasing products that do not include a bill of materials in them.

        1. I prefer the labels.

          1. If people prefer labels than there will be a market for labels without government regulation.

            1. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve read all day.

              1. Hit ctrl-f, then type “tony”. Don’t include quotes.

                Then keep hitting alt-n.

                You can read the next stupidest thing you’ve read all day over and over again. It’ll repeat forever, maxing out your stupid intake to stupid levels! Try it in longer comment sections for unbelievable stupidity!

              2. Except it’s exactly what happens.

                Ever walk into a Food Hole? The products there offer far more information about themselves than say, what you find in a Wallyworld.

                Some people like it. They pay for it.

                Product labeling occurs spontaneously as well as with mandates.

          2. Actually I do too Alice.

            While this function could be accomplished in the free market, and I’ve argued this case, as a libertarian I don’t think we have lots bigger fish to fry.

      3. You are conflating a lot of things Alice.

        Caveat Emptor does not apply to products which damage third parties.

        There’s nothing wrong with Caveat Emptor. There’s a place for cars sold ‘as is’ and there’s a place for cars sold with a warranty.

        You may choose between the two.

        I don’t think you would be helped by a law outlawing one or the other.

    3. Laws are promulgated by legislative bodies which, in theory, are answerable to the citizenry.

      Regulations are promulgated by unelected agencies that do not answer to the citizenry and in practice, answer only to greater powers that curtail their operations for their own reasons.

      I posit that all regulations should be abolished and that we once again become a country of laws. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth having a vote about it first.

      1. You are right about this. Administrative agencies (DEP, DMV, IRS, etc.) should be accountable to the public. There is no-one to vote out when one of these agencies imposses a policy.

        1. AND bonuses for Freddie/Fannie execs should be excised immediately.

  29. Jacket n’ Stache have their first arch nemesis.

    Sham Master

    A rotund movie maker by day and evil fat bastard by night.

    1. I prefer,

      The Porker

  30. Mr Stossel, I admire your ability to not only simplify matters so that Joe Citizen can easily understand them, but particularly your ability to remain calm while discussing Moore’s nonsensical fantasy world.

    His doublethink-illogic just drives me bonkers. I look forward to your new program.

  31. Fine then, let’s get rid of all regulations on everything and let’s just let’s have a bunch of law suits after the fact.

    1. I’d imagine that people are apprehensive about buying things (especially potentially dangerous products) from untrusted sources. That’s why there is such a demand for third party certification agencies/ consumer advocacy groups. If people trusted these solutions instead of government regulators, I think we’d be better off, since these groups would only remain in business by upholding high standards of trust. Also, they could have variable standards, so depending on which group people choose to trust they could individually assume whatever level of risk vs. cost vs. quality is preferrable to them.

      Government regulators, at best, enforce one standard and assume it is preferrable to everyone, and don’t go out of business when they screw up.

      Or you could buy something not verified by anyone but you and the buyer and take your chances… I’m not going to stop you!

    2. Alice,

      Right now we have the regulations AND a myriad of lawsuits after the fact. It is not like we would be worse off sans the regulations…

      1. Yes, it’s very much like we would be worse off without regulations. There are 10 things you do before breakfast that are controlled by government regulations meant to protect you from dying. It’s a stupid, inefficient, barbaric system that prefers to weed out harmful products only after they’ve killed enough people to turn off consumers (the ones paying attention, that is).

    3. I think the problem most people have understanding libertarianism is that they believe the absence of government means the absence of law, but this is not the case. We cannot forget that common law can and did solve many of the problems top-down legislative regulations attempt to, at least until the late 19th Century. The difference lies in the fact that common law was not predictive. It solved actual problems. Regulations attempt to predict problems, which inevitably leads to a massive fail and distortions in the market, not to mention how it is used to day as a system of plunder and competition-killing for political cronies. Under even “anarchy” there would be a system of courts to solve such conflicts. Also, don’t forget the power of people like yourself who care about these issues. It’s not like we live in the dark ages. Massive media pressure would be put on these companies, as well as insurance restrictions, etc.

  32. I’m surprised there’s no discussion of Posner here. He was one of the most toxic applauders of the Bush administration’s torture policies imaginable, especially as he was doing it from the bench.

  33. I now think we libertarians should just give in to the liberals on the definition of “capitalism”. It was never a good label for what is better described as a free-market economy, anyway.

    At least we could start having conversations with liberals using a common language, doing the translation in our heads from their “capitalism” to what we would call “crony capitalism”.

    1. Mike,

      Indeed, the term “Capitalism” was invented by an avowed enemy of free markets in order to caricaturize them. Libertarians should instead talk of Free Market Economics instead of “Capitalism”.

    2. I completely agree. “Capitalism” is technically private ownership of the means of production or simply use of capital, and I think Marx actually popularized the term.

      We should just mean what we say and say what we mean. Free markets, economic liberty, voluntary association… these are not only more clear terms, but don’t dredge up thoughts of rober barons and corporatism in the minds of whoever we’re talking to.

    3. Many of today’s liberal college educators now define capitalism as “racism.”

      And racism is now defined as “any view held by a white person.”

      So I think we’re a little bit behind the latest fads…

      1. Orwell be rollin’ in his muthafuckin’ grave right now…

    4. That would take the wind out of the liberal sails, but only for a bit… at least until they come up with a new term for the hated concept of free markets…

  34. All these comments about Michael Moore’s weight…if you all would stop fixating on him with your Male Gaze? he’d stop being driven to overeat.

    1. It’s more obstruction of view than male gaze fixation syndrome.

    2. That’s nothing compared to the Barney Frank Male Gaze?.

  35. John Stossel,
    to your point about misleading propaganda from the likes of Michael Moore, others – – i’d like to suggest you, Nick Gillespie, Steve Forbes, Ben Stein…put together your considerable talents, finances, and passion and create a movie “Capitalism: A True Love Story”. Show how economic freedom makes everyone’s life better in every way – – economically(including the poor), environmentally, we live longer,…etc. Fight bogus propaganda with entertaining truth!

    1. So, you’re admitting Moore engages in propaganda. Good for you, Tony!

  36. the stupid hurts so bad.

    the next bullshit libertarian meme – crony capitalism has failed, but real capitalism, well that hasn’t been tried yet.

    1. but real capitalism, well that hasn’t been tried yet.

      I beg to differ:

      Apple
      Ford
      Microsoft
      Intel
      Hewlett-Packard
      Wholefoods
      Walmart
      S.B. Fuller
      Ben & Jerry

      It is ALWAYS tried, and triumphs. The problem is that government is there to pillage, and their cronies are there to feed from the spoils.

  37. Ahh, John. Thank you for re-iterating the libertarian trump-all argumment: If it looks like the market is completely FUBARed, you are wrong. Just blame the nearest government program instead.

    1. Chad-ese for the uninitiated:

      “Pay up”

      “But I have no money, you took it all!”

      “Ha! Again with that argument!”

      1. King Chad decreed in another thread that every man, woman, and child must produce $10K in income to pay their bills. Otherwise, we’re either freeloading rich bastards or freeloading poor bastards.

  38. Re: Shrike,

    For the next 4-6 years – ZERO [inflation]. We’re in a deflationary environment.

    Well – Good luck to you.

    Hey, gang – a Keynesian in our midst, and a very credulous one at that!

    1. I love Keynesians!

  39. I don’t understand why libertarians want to put their trust in private healthcare when you know the health care lobby has donated/participated in this game.

    1. You’re confusing libertarians with Republicans and conservatives. Libertarians would like to eliminate the gov’t as it is, thus ending and removing the incentives for lobbying. It is the current system of gov’t that allows the “private” insurance companies to lobby gov’t to destroy competition.

      If you have a 4 trillion $ stash sitting around that will be used to regulate your business, do you expect businesses to sit on their ass and not lobby? The key is to get rid of the stash that is used to destroy competition.

      1. I don’t see how insurance companies will be honorable if/when the government is out of the picture. The politicians are voted out and there is always a chance that lobbying will become legislated away but insurance companies are strictly profit oriented and are not consumer friendly.

        1. B/c you have to understand that gov’t is what allows them to be not “honorable,” whatever you mean by that. When gov’t leaves the picture, the insurance companies can no longer depend on the gov’t to kill competition. They will no longer have the benefit of regulation making competition impossible. If they were left exposed to free market forces, they would have to be much more consumer friendly. With gov’t backing, they don’t need to be. They know their position is safe.

          There is nothing wrong with being strictly profit-oriented. The greedy have to produce good things for society in order to appease their greed. They do not force anyone to buy anything, unless of course they have a gov’t standing behind them making regulations which force everyone to buy from them.

          1. “If they were left exposed to free market forces, they would have to be much more consumer friendly.” I don’t see insurance companies serving consumers without any government legislations. They will be free to discriminate against the client who becomes less profitable because of illness/age. In fact, they could just choose not to cover anyone over 35.

            1. I don’t see insurance companies serving consumers without any government legislations.

              Other, much less regulated, types of insurance provide a good product affordably. They compete nationally.

              You really can save a lot of money by switching to GEICO.

              So why not free up the market so GEICO (and thousands of others) can sell health insurance nationwide?

              Do you think GEICO loves to pay claims? Yet they do, and do it fast, and with a smile. Why? Because if they don’t they will lose customers to an entire nation full of would be competitors.

              1. Geiko insurance is for a product with limited shelf life/repair or total loss costs. Health insurance is for a lifetime and unlike your example it becomes more expensive as we age. I don’t think it will matter if there are hundreds or thousands of insurance companies they will not pick losers to join their team.

                1. And yet people with bad driving records get insured.

                  Health insurance is not for a lifetime. It’s for as long as people want health insurance.

                  The fact you can’t see is health insurance makes money, not a lot, like 2-3% margin but they make money.

                  That means that most people could indeed afford their health care if they merely saved their money instead of gave it to insurance companies. If they did that they would actually care how much health care costs, and prices would go down.

                  If you don’t work for a week then all of a sudden figure out you’re hungry and don’t have food why do you think it’s ok to steal from someone else?

                  It’s not like people don’t know they might get sick at some point in their lives.

                  Maybe we should have a mandatory curriculum. I know how you lefties love mandatory things. The curriculum will be “You might get sick, so save money or buy insurance”

                  1. “And yet people with bad driving records get insured.” No, they don’t get traditional insurance but are covered in a state pool or go without.

                    “Health insurance is not for a lifetime. It’s for as long as people want health insurance.” What?

                    faithkills, It is a big gamble to save your insurance money and hope that it will cover you in an emergency. Btw, I am not a leftie.

                    1. Of course it’s a risk. Yet overall insurance companies make money. This means that overall most people could indeed afford health care. The 2-3% profit insurance companies make come after they pay for the care.

                      The solution is not to expand the policies which have made costs so drastically decoupled from overall inflation. Yet this is all that has been proposed thus far.

                      Btw, I am not a leftie.

                      You’re quacking. I’ll draw my own conclusions about your duck status.

                      But if so then great, you probably do have the capacity to understand economics.

                      Start by observing every market government intervenes in gets hosed up. Badly. Figure out why.

                      Before government got involved health care was affordable by everyone. Doctors were paid no more than any other professional.

                      Before the government got involved with education a years average tuition cost about one months average pay. Now it’s six months.

                      Don’t even get me started on the credit and specifically mortgage industry.

                      And yet, in this same period almost every thing else costs less and less of of people’s pay in terms of % of a year worked. The stuff government has left relatively alone.

                    2. I can tell you have never owned a business when you can take the 2-3% profit statement seriously. Tuition costs are subject to demand/inflation etc. and government regulation has not been a factor but they have been helpful in terms of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and tax benefits for students/parents. Cite your evidence of negative intervention. The housing/credit fiasco was the result of government and greed on the part of the banking industry. I am not for government run everything but I am for public healthcare till someone proves we can do it otherwise. I am not sure about my capacity to understand economics but If result is proof, then Cervantes is right.

                    3. I can tell you have never owned a business when you can take the 2-3% profit statement seriously.

                      That’s their profit margin. Please cite justification for questioning these figures.

                      And then, once you have, realize you’ve made my case stronger because that means people would be even more capable of affording health care on their own. If insurance companies made 50% profits guess what? That means the majority of people don’t even need health insurance. They could just save up for future need.

                      I love arguing with the logically challenged.

                      Tuition costs are subject to demand/inflation etc. and government regulation has not been a factor but they have been helpful in terms of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and tax benefits for students/parents.

                      The government causes overall inflation and the government causes specific markets to inflate. Specifically subsidies cause inflation. More money chasing the same resources. Inflation

                      It is an economic impossibility to offer an ongoing subsidy for consuming something and not cause prices to go up.

                      Your answer? More subsidy of course!

                      Genius. If you ever ran a business it’s no wonder you don’t anymore.

                      “These subsidies are financed out of additional credit expansion. Thus they result in increasing the inflationary pressure. If the consumers were to pay higher prices for the products concerned, no further inflationary effect would emerge. The consumers would have to use for such surplus payments only money which had been already put into circulation. Thus the allegedly brilliant idea to fight inflation by subsidies in fact brings about more inflation.” – Ludwig von Mises

                      I am for public healthcare till someone proves we can do it otherwise.

                      It worked before the government meddled. It took about a century to screw it up this bad. Nevertheless it could probably be undone in about a decade.

                      All you have to do is look at the parts of the health care industry that are not subsidized and less regulated. Cosmetic surgery is a bargain. I can get an operation for my cat safely for 1/10th the price of the same surgery for me.

                      Same surgery. Harder actually if you consider the smaller scale.

                      Markets work unless managed.

                    4. “I can tell you have never owned a business when you can take the 2-3% profit statement seriously…their profit margin…justification for questioning these figures.”

                      Let us set aside any dispute over the figures. I can promise you there is tweaking when a company SAYS it consistently makes 2-3% profit EVERY year.

                      “…you’ve made my case stronger because that means people would be even more…affording health care on their own. If insurance companies made 50% profits guess what? That means… people don’t even need health insurance…save up for future need.”

                      I don’t think you understand that even if you are financially stable not having insurance can bankrupt in an emergency situation. Hospitals stays are all over the map in terms of pricing for procedures. Yes, you could save if you had the luxury of time to negotiate with providers but insurance guarantees a rate charge.

                      “…the logically challenged.Tuition costs are subject to demand/inflation etc. and government regulation…not been a factor but…helpful…Education Savings Accounts and tax benefits for students/parents. The government causes overall inflation and the government causes specific markets to inflate. Specifically subsidies cause inflation. More money chasing the same resources…impossibility to offer an ongoing subsidy for consuming something and not cause prices to go up… subsidy of course!”

                      I looked at private universities that refuse government funds and the tuition rates were competitive with other schools.

                      “Genius. If you ever ran a business it’s no wonder you don’t anymore.”
                      Wrong.

                      “…worked before the government meddled. It took about a century to screw it up this bad…industry that are not subsidized and less regulated. Cosmetic surgery is a bargain. I can get an operation for my cat safely for 1/10th the price of the same surgery for me. Same surgery. Harder actually if you consider the smaller scale.”

                      You did not mention that pharma is cheaper in veterinary care but the point that it is the fault of government is only partially true along with legal issues complicating costs, insurance paperwork, AMA ownership of coding etc.

  40. Mr. Stossel, this article reaches the heart of all discourse. As a fan of Orwell, I have been analyzing our own modern Newspeak for quite a few years now. words that once meant one thing are adapted to new ideas. As a libertarian, it is generally difficult for me to even communicate with someone unfamiliar with libertarian philosophy. As Wittgengtein observed, difficulties in philosophy generally boil down to problems with language.

    I certainly cannot use the term, “capitalism”, and can rarely make a succinct point with the term, “free market”. We must accept that the language has shifted to pervert our ideas. When we defend “capitalism” we are seen as defending cronyism. When we advocate for liberty, others chime in, speaking of such ‘liberties’ as universal health care, public education and thousands of layers of safety nets and regulation.

    I remember when I first found out about libertarianism, the thought that there could be no public education or universal health care was like being introduced to string theory. It was a radical, new idea that shattered my existing view of the world. Surely this harkens back to Orwell’s character Syme, who astutely pointed out to Winston Smith that by eliminating words, Big Brother could consequently prevent the people from being able to even have certain thoughts without a means of defining and expressing them. Instead of eliminating terms, our terms have been perverted and retained in the vocabulary.

    I hope you will continue to draw attention to the important issues of how our ideas are represented and how we may approach civil discourse patiently and with more reason. I hope you will approach the matter of what “liberty” really is in a future episode of your great show. To what philosophy was the word employed, and to what extent has it been perverted?

    1. There’s also the other problem that many assume if you have free market views, then you are conservative, which libertarians are not. Conservatives often support tariffs, oppose free trade, oppose open border zones, support capping lawyer’s fees with tort reform, not to mention all of the moral tyranny they propose. Our task is made more difficult because we are often considered radical conservatives.

      1. Sure, to that point, there could be an entire show (hell, an entire series of shows) just on the silliness of the left-right duality that is put forth by the schools, media and political establishment.

        That is a little more elegant than even the elegant Newspeak language that permeates our society. Beyond the obfuscation of ideas through the changing of words’ meanings, this goes all the way to defining parameters of political philosophy through a linear model hammered into our minds through most of the common outlets through which we learn politics.

        1. Well put

  41. Wonderful commentary Mr Stossel

  42. Ugh, there’s that studio audience back there. I see them.

  43. This isn’t going to be a show about how breaking windows creates jobs for window makers, is it?

  44. She should recuse herself from that marriage.

  45. Stop leading the witness, John.

  46. I may like the work he’s doing, but that constant smirk is off-putting.

  47. She’s advocating the Minnesota state liquor stores raise prices? Drinking is all there is to do in Minnesota!

  48. (I think it says that on their license plate.)

  49. Yeah, when you have Adam West doing the voiceover work on your commercials, don’t expect to be taken seriously as a financial organization.

  50. No one thinks Congress deliberates anything beyond what power they can accumulate.

  51. That handsome anchorman they keep showing is actually Rachel Maddow!

  52. The company’s lobbyist was successful at its job and you want to punish that success? Shame on you, John.

  53. These commercials are excruciating to watch. Thank God they keep the ticker going so I have something to take my mind off them.

  54. Pink? Unappetizing? Enough with the gaybashing, Fox News!

  55. That tub of oleo is clashing with John’s tie.

  56. Ike was in the pocket of Big Bid.

  57. Well, I’ve never seen you before, so you’re not very good at lobbying me, Callibrini.

  58. Hey! I just saw John’s previous guests in the audience!

  59. He’s just grabbing studio idiots and pretending they’re experts on whatever.

  60. This just in: John Stossel wants to fill your kids with Chinese lead.

  61. I hope the audience members signed waivers in case Stossel puts out one of their eyes.

  62. Yeah, well, any parent who gives this gift to their kid instead of a gameboy deserves to have regulators crawl up their ass with a microscope.

  63. Picking on cotton. Cotton pickers (on)!!!

  64. She’s in the pocket of Big X-Ray.

  65. Geraldo never let a guest tell him to go suck it, John.

  66. That glowing green Fidelity “guidance” looks like it might be radioactive.

  67. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Bush caused all those things.

  68. Oh man, that guy nodding his head is about to find the business end of an SEIU fist.

  69. If Lehman Brothers didn’t know enough to invest in Government influence maybe they should have gone tits up.

  70. Populist bastard, going for the cheap applause.

  71. One page completely devoted to John Hancock’s John Hancock.

  72. Stop creating bound paper? I guess Big Pulp doesn’t hold sway over John Stossel.

  73. We’ve talked about this, John. No more “live audience” garbage.

  74. I think John Stossell needs to consult a dictionary for the definition of ‘crony’: It means ‘pal’ or ‘chum’, and has little to do with government intervention. In fact, Stossell’s use of the term as a description of government is an example of ‘conservative-speak’ (a derivation of the concept suggested in the book entitled 1984).

    We could also consider monopolies as an example of ‘crony capitalism’, when the ‘crony’ chums in an industry unite to fix prices on consumers–which government anti-trust laws seek to minimize. But Stossell, having only one agenda in his new career with Fox, seeks only to promoter one side of every issue. (Fair and Balanced)

    1. The term crony capitalism refers specifically to a relationship between business and government. Stossel’s use of the term is completely appropiate. I don’t really see how this shows Stossel to be one-sided…

      1. To the Chads of the world, all capitalism is of the crony type…

        1. Yes, LG, all capitalism in the real world IS crony capitalism. You would be better off accepting this and figuring out how to deal with it rather than spouting off your libertarian fantasies which have nothing to do with reality.

          1. Fuck you, traitor.

          2. Chad, when you get raped up the ass for being such a douchebag, you’d be better off accepting reality and taking it like a man (gay man? woman?), instead of trying to escape…

            1. I’d like to see Chad get a vicious IRS audit, just to see how much love he has for that diabolical agency…

          3. Now if you say ‘All socialist states are crony capitalist’ you would be correct.

            You would be better off accepting this and figure out how to deal with it.

            But it’s clearly obvious all capitalism is not crony capitalism. When you hear WalMart at odd with suppliers or in competition with Target. When you hear Apple and Microsoft at odds, Yahoo and Google competing with Kroger. Etc etc etc.

            All of which is good for quality and prices for workers.

            Do they take advantage of government influence when they can? Of course. Retailers lobby zoning commissions. IT industries lobby for IP laws. Everyone has to have their ‘man in Washington’. But that’s only necessary because you progressives made it necessary. And yes they have more money than you. And yes, now that you’ve given them the tools more and more of them will use those tools against you.

            Give them some more why don’t you?

            But right now, sorry Chad there’s still some bits of capitalism left. Even in the health care market cosmetic surgery is still a bargain, you haven’t managed to screw that up yet. I know how you hate low prices and abundance and quality. It must keep you up at night there’s still some freedom left.

  75. Yes, LG, all capitalism in the real world IS crony capitalism. You would be better off accepting this and figuring out how to deal with it rather than spouting off your libertarian fantasies which have nothing to do with reality… but I’m not a communist.

    That’s fifteen bucks you owe me now, Chad. Or do you expect the taxpayer to foot the bill, as usual?

    1. “The definitions of communism is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” – Einstein

  76. But the fundamental question remains unanswered:

    Why is it illegitimate for a republican government to use its power to protect the economic interests of the people it represents?

    In other words, why is it Reason’s position that Hamilton was wrong when he advocated the protection of domestic industries?

    Legislators are elected by the sovereign people. Those people have an obvious interest in protecting their livelihoods from lower-cost competition from other countries, whose rulers do not represent them or their interests. If you earn your living by trading your labor (time) for your bosses’ money, then any system that places your labor in competition with cheaper labor from elsewhere is antithetical to your interests. If your representatives are there to work in favor of your interests, then isn’t it their responsibility to make laws to that end?

    If American workers are in competition with workers in other countries, (a proposition that I’ve never heard a plausible counterargument for,) why should their elected representatives not legislate in their favor?

    Isn’t that the basic principle of republican government?

    And I’ve never seen an argument that demonstrates that a lower wage base is good for a country, either in the economic or social sense. Lower wages correlate strongly with higher levels of social unrest, a lower average standard of living, and ultimately, with revolution.

    Poor people rebel.

    –Shannon

    1. Shannon forgets about the consumer.

    2. Why is it illegitimate for a republican government to use its power to protect the economic interests of the people it represents?

      The problem is it has done nothing of the sort.

      We have financed a protectionist wall with debt. It cannot be maintained. We are seeing the result now. It will get worse.

      I know the Disney economists tell you that you can have a free lunch. But you’re about to learn a very sad lesson about reality.

      You can’t ‘protect’ wages indefinitely. All you can do is make adjustment from an uncomfortable gradual thing into a catastrophe.

      This is what we have done.

      Businesses and capital has been fleeing. Jobs have been fleeing. No one wants to buy our overpriced crap, and we have to borrow to make up for that imbalance.

      Shannon your credit is maxed. You need to wake up and smell the coffee.

  77. Let me ask a question. If nation X offers attractively priced products but also enacts tariffs on imports should nation Y buy products from nation X? It seems like it’s to the advantage of nation Y to take the cheap goods and pay for them with basically an IOU since the seller won’t take any goods in return.

  78. Right on…get rid of those free trade agreements that trash other countries industries and systems so that we can made them dependent on our institutions of govt and big business.

    Why just look at Haiti, who cultivated 80% of its own rice, but dropped to 20% as a result of Free Trade Agreemment (I’ll have to search Reason for the paradox of Free Trade Agreements)

    Remember, free trade depends upon competition. There are two aspects to competition: I’m not as good as the other guy, I’ll work to improve my busienss to match his, and, he is better than me, I’ll hamstring him.

  79. OK, riddle me this: I own a water company, it’s infrastructure, and can keep gov’t regulation out of it. So I raise my price as much as the market can bear.

    So what is the, “market corrections”?

    Collect your own water or have your own source.

    Pay the free market price.

    Steal it.

    Wait a minute: in a true free market economy, isn’t stealing a logical response? Should it be criminalized? If I am savvy enough or strong enough to take it from others, isn’t that a free market response?

    1. If I am savvy enough or strong enough to take it from others, isn’t that a free market response?

      No.

      Free market is not free to steal.

      You may attempt to steal from me but you’re taking a risk.

      Yes, you go to the government and enlist their guns to take from me.

      Or get regulation enacted that gives you an unfair advantage to put me out of business.

      None of those are free market.

  80. “No one wants to buy our overpriced crap, and we have to borrow to make up for that imbalance.” faithkills

    I make my living on selling clothing from the US…the overpriced crap. It seems that my clientle trusts the quality more than the cheaper priced crap from 3rd world unregulated countries.

    1. So the trade deficit is imaginary?

      I’m much relieved, your anecdote is far more compelling than statistics accepted the world over.

  81. One last question: if free market predominated during the railroad era, would the railroads invested the capital to connect the coasts? Without gov’t landgrants?

    1. The Great Northern did just that and better. It was the outfits that curried government subsidies that took years longer to complete. They were subsidized by the mile, so they laid more track than they needed, etc.

      Here’s a good summation.

      http://mises.org/daily/2317

  82. Right on…get rid of those free trade agreements that trash other countries industries and systems so that we can made them dependent on our institutions of govt and big business.

    Why just look at Haiti, who cultivated 80% of its own rice, but dropped to 20% as a result of Free Trade Agreemment (I’ll have to search Reason for the paradox of Free Trade Agreements)

    Remember, free trade depends upon competition. There are two aspects to competition: I’m not as good as the other guy, I’ll work to improve my busienss to match his, and, he is better than me, I’ll hamstring him.

  83. The Great Northern did just that and better. It was the outfitsreplica omega replica IWC that curried government subsidies that took years longer to complete. They were subsidized by the mile, so they laid more track than they needed, etc.

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