Tim Carney's Memo to the GOP: Try Free-Market Populism

A suggestion for the Republicans.


Tim Carney has a suggestion for the GOP:

Is this headline hilarious on purpose? I can't tell.

Republicans need a new coalition and a new message. The heart of that coalition should be the working class. The message should be populism.

Populist movements in the past have often been ugly because they scapegoated vulnerable minorities. The new Republican populism shouldn't blame the "47 percent" of Mitt Romney's imagination, or immigrants seeking to make a better life. The new Republican populism should declare war on the cronies and special interests who use big government to rig the game in their favor and deny opportunity to those trying to climb the ladder and live the American dream.

It's time for free-market populism and a Republican Party that fights against all forms of political privilege—a party that champions all who want to work and take risks in order to improve their lives and raise a family.

Read the whole article here. Carney makes a convincing case for the approach on the ideological merits, and a decent case against what Romney did instead on the strategic merits. He does not convince me that the GOP's own set of "cronies and special interests who use big government to rig the game" would ever allow it.

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  1. That sounds like Rand Paul’s ideal strategy for 2016. Being in a much more powerful position than his father, I must worry whether those special interests within the GOP would ever allow him to get the nomination.

    1. Damn. Refreshing pages, how does it work?

      1. If only I could do this in the PM links. One of these days, Fist, one of these days…

  2. Rand Paul should jump into this like a motherfucker. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be an able enough political gamer to outmaneuver the RINOs and their backers come 2016.

  3. And then there’s the comments.

    Hal K
    What we need is Pat Buchanan style populism with inreach to whites on the issues of affirmative action and immigration.

    The Republican Party is a relic of the past. If it doesn’t embrace white identity politics it will be swept away.

    Like Reply
    Yesterday 10:02 PM 2 Likes


    1. I saw that. Depressing/hilarious.

      1. PArt of me wishes they would do that – then Biden might win by a landslide making for some very funny history lessons being taught to students at Mars University 1000 years from now.

        1. Mars University will not exist until Newcular Titties wins the executive branch and you damn well know that.

        2. Tell that to Golden Dawn, Fronte Nationale, or Vlaams Belang. Every one of them is getting a hell of a lot more votes than any libertarian party anywhere.

  4. Isn’t populism, like, you know…the opposite of libertarianism?

    1. Yes. What the fuck does that have to do with Jesse’s article?

      1. Well, it makes the “ideological merits” of the idea pretty questionable. The basis of populism in practice is “government for the benefit of me (and people like me), and screw those other guys if that’s what it takes for us to benefit”. That’s hard to ideologically reconcile with libertarianism.

        1. Jesse please correct me if I’m wrong, but he’s not talking about libertarian ideological merits, he’s talking about GOP ideological merits.

          1. No, I meant the libertarian merits. He’s calling for a crusade against corporate welfare/economic favoritism/cronyism. That seems like an attractive platform to me, whether or not you want to call it populism. It also seems like it’s at odds with what a great deal of the GOP supports.

            1. OK, my mistake Jesse, I read it wrong.

    2. Isn’t populism, like, you know…the opposite of libertarianism?

      It’s complicated.

  5. Free market populism is an oxymoron. Given that populism is largely based on the resentment of the “unfair advantage” maintained by “the elite”, this includes resentment of those that have faired better in a free market. Populist movements invariably devolve into anti-capitalism.

    1. Normally, yes, but I think there’s a decent case for saying the resentment can be aimed at the unfair rules that gives the politically-connected advantages over the average person. We don’t hate the gold medalist at the Olympics, but we would if we knew they’d bribed the officials.

      1. The problem, though, is that you can rabble-rouse people to correctly identify political and economic cryonyism as the issue, but it’s hard to convince people that government should ideally do nothing other than stop enabling the cronyism and corruption. They want to go the extra mile and take redistributive action against anyone that has more than them if they think it was unfairly earned.

        1. Sure. Just like you can rabble-rouse people to oppose Jim Crow, but then it’s hard to stop them from wanting to go the extra mile and ask for affirmative action. C’est la vie.

    2. Free market populism is an oxymoron.

      Agreed, BUT, one could rightfully argue that we are all in this together, in that when business does well it floats all boats. Convince people that they need to be rooting for business (not crony business) to succeed rather than fail.

      The problem is that this is essentially trickle down economics, which has been wrongfully discredited in the media and in political circles.

      Essentially, trickle down economics needs to be re-branded to show the benefits of free commerce to EVERYONE. (Seems like this should be obvious to everyone, but…)

      1. Agreed, BUT, one could rightfully argue that we are all in this together, in that when business does well it floats all boats. Convince people that they need to be rooting for business (not crony business) to succeed rather than fail.

        Yes, but this isn’t populism, as it’s based on an appeal to reason. Populism is based on an emotional appeal, and the problem is that once you get the mob angried up, it’s very hard to get them to stop.

    3. We don’t have a free market.

      We have a market rigged with “unfair advantage” for cronies maintained by “the elite”.

      Maybe populism invariably devolves into anti-capitalism, but it will have to be anti-cronyism enough to create a capitalism to be against, in the first place.

    4. There’s a first time for everything.

      Maybe the fact that it appears to be an oxymoron just means nobody has thought of it before.

  6. It’s time for free-market populism and a Republican Party that fights against all forms of political privilege

    Promoting crony capitalim is the very reason for the existence of the modern Republican Party.

    1. ???

      I thought it was anti-slavery.

      If it wasnt for that, they would still be Whigs.

      1. — modern Republican Party —

        1. Yes, which begin in the mid 19th century.

          As opposed to the D-R party before that.

          1. Have a beer.

            1. Sounds like a good idea, but have to exercise first.

              1. Exercise sucks, but it beats an early death.

                Enjoy your beer. I’ll stick to mead.

        2. and the old one

  7. Oh, look, it’s Gawker making fun of DONDERRRRRRRROOOOOOOO.

    Warning: contains comments.

    EasttoMidwest 1 of 11 replies @Sauceboy 3 hours ago
    Ultimately, I think active Libertarians are stuck at the three year old social development level (“mine” and “no” and “you’re not the boss of me” and biting and whatnot) and their politics are just one looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong temper tantrum.

    1. Wait, Gawker is accusing someone else of being childish and petulant?

      1. The projection is strong in these ones.

    2. I feel so sorry for you libertarians that a psycho like DONDEROOO calls himself a libertarian.

      1. I feel sorry for whatever-you-ares that you call yourself one of them.

        1. They call themselves “homosexuals” and I support Episiarch being able to marry whomever or whatever he pleases.

          1. Damn straight!

            Or maybe not, I’m not sure.

        2. Some of us whatever-we-ares already feel bad enough that Epi is one of us. You don’t need to make it worse.

            1. I think of myself as a protoneoanarchomeritocrat.

              1. Supercalifragilisticexpialidociousist.

    3. Libertarians are adults capable of making their own rational decisions and don’t need an overlord to do so.

      Statists are children, who tend to make irrational decisions and crave parental authority.

    4. Wasn’t there a study somewhere showing that 3 year olds think that “fairness” means “everyone gets an equal portion” , but then by the time you get to age nine you’ve moved onto more nuanced concepts like “people who work harder should get more”?

  8. Only problem is that free markets aren’t that popular.

    They don’t have predetermined winners and losers! You don’t know ahead of time what they will produce! What if people want the “wrong” things like SUVs and incandescent light bulbs? Not only that, but free markets allow some people to get rich while others do not! That’s not fair! And in a zero-sum game, each rich person represents a thousand poor people who could be better off!

    1. That’s very true.

      However, if we have safety nets for the losers of free market (like bankruptcy, no debt-prisons, universal healthcare, and food stamps,etc.), there should be no problem.

      The problem arises when people try free market and end up dead-broke and no safety nets. What will happen is that the little guy will take NO RISKS. It’s why we invented the concept of bankruptcy and no debtors prisons.

      1. Safety nets ARE a good thing.

        But, and here is my question, why should they be provided by the government?

        1. The usual answer is that private charity can’t help everyone.

          To which I respond “And government ‘charity’ has?”

          1. Government doesn’t provide charity. You get service for payment. A safety net is a service paid for collectively and is collectively available. As Alice notes, it allows for more risk-taking and thus a more robust economy. It benefits you even if you never need it.

            1. Exactly. Western Europe has had many, many more risk-takers than the US over the last fifty years.

              1. I can count as many bona fide ground-up successful entrepreneurs from Western Europe as I can from the US from the past couple decades. In the US, by far the best way to make money is to choose one’s parents wisely.

                Someday you’ll have to explain how ensuring everyone getting basic needs met impedes entrepreneurs’ willingness or ability to take risks and create.

                1. Hey Tony, we’re missing you over on the drone thread. We need someone to defend this shit, otherwise it’s not as much fun.

            2. “You get service for payment.”

              Well, the evidence is in and it says the service sucks. Rather than pull people out of poverty, it traps them in an endless cycle that they can’t climb out of.

              So I want a new provider. Preferably one that has to compete with other providers.

              1. What evidence? Your suggestion is that the benefits are so good that people prefer to stay with them than get a job. Again with the baseless (and probably nasty) moral assumptions. Cycles of poverty happen when there are few options for upward mobility for people and their children. “Motivating” them by starving them won’t create more opportunities out of thin air.

                1. What evidence? The poverty percentage hasn’t fallen since the late 60s when the Great Society programs were implemented and halting years of decline. Redistributive welfare has been an absolute disaster.

                  And fuck you, I’ve made no “moral assumptions”. There’s nothing wrong at all with people TAKING state charity, there’s only something wrong with offering it. Also, it’s funny I just got finished responding to one of your posts below where you said incentives are everything. I guess until they’re not, eh? But even if there are few options for upward mobility, that’s a result of failures of another gigantic government program, namely public education. But the Dems answer is always the same, feed it more money even though the results are consistently appalling. God forbid you suggest we try vouchers like those evil Swedes. Then you’ll find out what a nasty bullshit apoplectic self-righteous moral rant is all about.

      2. How about losers in the statist market? Who protects them?

        1. They have Gulags for them

    2. If the thousand people can at least eat and go to the doctor, it would be much better for BOTH the poor people and the rich guy.

      1. They can do that now.

        We have universal health care. Go to the doctor, pay for it.

        1. If u r poor, and the third party system that has done EVERYTHING but bring transparancy to heathcare costs, and you don’t have issurance, you can’t pay.

          1. So drop the tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, allow more people to practice medicine, allow interstate insurance sales, and drop the requirement of having a prescription for any medications.

            1. I nominate The Hammer for president!

            2. People that argue against that are unfamiliar with the history of medicine in the US. The early 20th century pre-AMA lobbying is very educational.

          2. And that is why, historically, hospitals were run by religious organizations.

            They help the indigent out.

      2. I hate to break it to you, but government can not protect your property while also giving you a claim to the property of other people.

        What if you’re “other people”? Now the government is no longer protecting your private property. It is plundering you for the benefit of others. It is a thief by proxy.

        Should government protect private property or be an instrument of plunder?

        Can’t have it both ways.

  9. Ahh, now I know why reason.commenters hate E. Dondero. Why, he actually understands the threat that both Islam and the Left pose to this country.

    My, what a distasteful brigand! I mean, no one other than those who decry drone strikes but don’t actually do anything about them should enjoy absolute moral authority!

    1. Study Tony carefully. He’s a much better sockpuppet that you are.

    2. reason commenters hate Dondero because he’s a moron. If you read his screed, and didn’t reach the same conclusion, then you’re one as well.

      And WTF are random people supposed to do to stop drone strikes? Except vote for candidates who would stop them, which most here did

      1. This isn’t a real poster, dude. Don’t dance for her.

    3. You realize Dondero has nothing against drone strikes, right? He just wants the right people directing them.

  10. Althouse had a link to to a chart showing that people who thought “Cares about people like me” was a top issue overwhelmingly went for Obama.

    What Democrats understand and Republicans have yet to figure out is that you don’t actually have to care. You just have to pretend to care. Your actions can be exactly the opposite of your stated intentions, and people will still buy it. Obama is proof of that.

    1. Although it would be nice if Republicans (and libertarians, for that matter) believed that free market prosperity was the best way to help the poor.

      1. I do, but oh no, libertarians love plutocrats and hate poor people (to paraphrase our own dear T O N Y). I sincerely believe that while, yes, free markets produce winners and losers, there are a lot fewer “losers”.

    2. So they need to practice the Bill Clinton “I feel your pain” delivery every morning in the mirror.

      That’d would probably actually be effective.

  11. We should have transparency in Government and free markets.

    Cronyism doesn’t only happen in the government.
    Our salaries should be disclosed in the private sector as they are in the public sector.

    I’m all for full transparency.

      1. One of the new shibboleths of the not-too-bright is that pay inequity has to do with no one being able to obsess over what the guy in the cubicle next to them makes. They say it will help women and minorities negotiate for better pay, but what they really want is to fan the fires of class warfare resentment.

        1. Thanks for explaining that. I couldn’t even figure out the left wing stupid angle.

          Alice: how much money I make is none of your business. Please stop advocating the government intrude further on my life. Everybody can see how evil you are when you do that.

          1. Score one for Jezebel! It’s a great place to hear about dumb ideas.

          2. I want to habe Alice disclose how much she spends on things like birth control, medicine, certain foods, entertainment etc.

        2. It’s not new. In the late 19th, early 20th century, the progressives called it “publicity.”

    1. Cronyism doesn’t only happen in the government.
      Our salaries should be disclosed in the private sector as they are in the public sector.

      Someone doesn’t know how price signals work.

    2. Our salaries should be disclosed in the private sector as they are in the public sector.

      Why? My employer pays me with his own money. He doesn’t take it from other people by force and claim that he’s doing it for their own good.

  12. But anyone who stands up against the cronies and special interests won’t even get nominated since they won’t get the big supporters and their money. Just look at Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

  13. http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..agon-says/

    Iran fired on an unarmed U.S. drone last week as it was hovering in international airspace, the Pentagon announced Thursday.


    1. Is killing a drone an act of war, or just an obnoxious form of vandalism?

  14. I’ll just openly say that while I don’t think the GOP has to do anything different, as this loss wasn’t (I know, I keep saying this) some sort of epic sea change (In fact, I don’t think it has any meaning beyond a Democratic candidate won this time–just like Bush’s 2004 victory or the 2010 election didn’t mean anything beyond that moment in time), I’m all for taking advantage of the moment and trying to get them to move towards a more limited government, free market platform.

    1. as this loss wasn’t some sort of epic sea change

      I know you’re not naive. The change doesn’t have to be epic, it just has to keep happening. Who cares in authoritarian progressives just squeak out every election for the next 40 years, they’re still winning. And to the victor go the spoils.

      1. *Who cares if

      2. Look, the Republicans won big just one election ago, in 2010. I doubt seriously that they would’ve lost with a better candidate, or if a few fairly marginal things had gone differently.

        It’s not today that’s the “sea change.” That happened some time ago, when Republicans embraced the American variety of socialism. Previously their statism had been of the more NEED BIG GUNS variety. Now, it’s not that different from their opponents’. Remember Bush?

        1. If the point that you’re trying to make is that the Republicans and the Democrats are really just different edges of the same party, then I agree. The problem is, the party is in control because the people it controls want it there. The majority of the people in this country don’t want a smaller government, and many of them don’t really care which part of the party is ultimately in power.

          1. My point is that the Republicans don’t have to change a thing to win again. Neither do the Democrats.

            I don’t like that, but it’s true.

            1. OK. I don’t think either party is interested in limiting itself and will consistently push the need for increased government. The populace at large has no real will to dig too deep into what’s going on and want to change it. As individuals, people largely don’t care that somebody they don’t know has to lose something for them to gain something.

              1. It’s vaguely possible that the GOP could move a bit away from statism, but I think there are too many people in the party who want the power and don’t really care about the anti-state rhetoric.

      3. But they arent squeaking out every election.

        AFAICT, most libertarianish leaning republicans won this time around. Any evidence against this?

        1. If these libertarianish leaning politicians get into office and then do nothing but sit on their hands for their entire term then you may have something.

  15. So please regale me: Are Leftism and Islamism good/bad/indifferent to the future of America?

    I love how you nitwits call everyone a troll, Mary or Tony who doesn’t slurp up the True Libertarian line. Really, idiots? You think in a world of 10 billion people that no one, NO ONE with internet access could possibly have a differing view than your oh-so-enlightened worldview? Good gaia, what a bunch of douches.

    1. Ok, I’ll feed it. Leftism has some good points, but Islamism is entirely irrelevant (You misused the word “indifferent”) to the future of America. Entirely, 100% irrelevant. Find another boogeyman.

    2. Mary had a little lamb
      it’s fleece was black as ink
      it chewed the paper off the shelf
      and spit it in the sink.

    3. You’re right! Open insults are the perfect way to spark reasoned dialog.


  16. All Republicans have to do is go back to their foreign policy of late 90s. Remember when the majority of Muslims actually voted for Bush not because he loved Allah but because he implied he would leave them alone.

  17. Yeah, I remember Bush. Like when he went around giving speeches touting Soc. Security privatization and the moron scribblers here, both paid and commenters, trashed him for it. So can you believe that Bush didn’t go all Lew Rockwell after that?

    But see, that doesn’t count. True Libertarians only respect those who theoretically advance their ideology. Because actually trying to put it into practice is icky and uncool, and it’s so much easier just to roll your eyes disgustedly and shout “Shut up, Mary!”

    1. You sure do have a lot of sand in your vagina over people daring to criticize Dondero. Is it possible your feelings for him go beyond the boundaries of strictly heterosexual?

    2. Mary had a little lamb
      And she put in a shelf
      and everytime it turned around
      it spanked its little self

  18. Name one good point to Leftist. Go ahead. Just one. What do ya got?

    1. Generally, leftists don’t want to criminalize homosexuality or drug use, and until recently they were fairly strongly anti-war.

      1. I’ll give you one out of three of those. Still, he only asked for one, so there you go.

  19. leftist=leftism.

    1. Eugenics certainly would have helped in your case.

  20. The US is at war with Islam, yet Islamism is irrelevant?

    Islamism murders innocents every day around the world. That’s irrelevant?
    US Drone strikes: humanity’s worst sin ever.

    1. You seem to have a real issue with words. Islamism is an ideology. It is incapable of murdering anyone, as it has no agency or physical form. Islamists may murder people, but they are not murdering people in America, and our current foreign policy is not helping stop them from murdering people. In fact, it is actively helping Islamists recruit.

  21. Free market populism might have worked a decade or two ago, but not now it is too late. There is no constituency left in this country for liberty or anything approaching free market economics. Ron Paul said it today, we are going over the cliff. Hang on.

    1. I could not be more tired of the Libertarian Eschaton Mythology.

      1. Eschaton was a pretty good album, though.

      2. I guess Greece isnt in any trouble either.

        1. or Zimbabwe.

          1. I didn’t say that, but if we’re honest with ourselves, Ron Paul has been preaching apocalyptic rhetoric for 30 years.

            1. Its been getting worse for 30 years (with maybe a slight blip in the late 90s).

              1. I will agree that the cliff analogy is bad.

                Since C. S. Lewis is getting quoted a lot on reason this week, lets see what he has to say:

                The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

                1. Hayek said the same thing with different words, but it will now accelerate because the state has no brakes left. Thelma and Louise, baby, with Obamaphone in hand.

      3. Another major crash alone might open enough people’s eyes to the need to cut back on government. It might not, but it’s hardly like there isn’t a tradition of freer markets and somewhat limited government in the U.S. It’s likely not enough, but giving up or opting out is silly, unless you’re moving out.

  22. SugarFree, hilarious. Oh, man, you not only showed me, but also put forth a convincing argument.

    Now come on, roll your eyes, let’s see that “I’m so much smarter than everyone” pout. Come on, reference Futurama or Game of Thrones for extra feel good points. Good, that’s a good boy. My, what a wonderful ambassador you are for limited government!

    1. Shut up Mary. You are so tiresome, even when you do take your meds.

    2. Mary only knows good…and ball…and glib.

      1. Is this Mary?

  23. At least Republican cronies are good job creating oil men. Leftist cronies are those dirty parasitic teachers unions and such.

    Economic rightism without sneering moral condemnation of the less fortunate almost makes no sense. If it were possible to argue for the merits of the free market without scapegoating the poor as morally corrupt, then why is that always part of it?

    1. Teachers aren’t poor.

      1. They also don’t need unions to remain employed.

        1. And you’d like to see government officials denying them the choice to unionize.

          1. Sure. I’d also like to see government officials get out of the education business.

    2. Tony, the Judge incorrectly used Hobson’s Choice in an article this morning. He should have consulted with you, you are certainly well versed in its use.

    3. It is possible.
      Also, it’s not just poor people who are exploiting welfare and are dependent on the state. In fact, poor people aren’t even the worst offenders. The worst offenders are corporations that get bailouts, like the banks and General Motors, and green energy cronies.

      The poor are a piddlingly tiny part of the problem. What they are, really, is pawns who are instrumentalized so that the people who win elections can give billions to those far better off.

      A few million in food stamps buys you an election, so you can vote yourself a trillion dollar bailout, in other words.

      1. Or we could just remove this incessant, tiresome obsession with the moral rectitude of people and realize that this is economics–people behave according to incentives. Moral righteousness a) has nothing to do with anything and b) is not the government’s business. There are no “offenders,” there are people doing what they legally can to get the best deal in life. And people on food stamps are not, by any stretch of reasoning, getting a good deal. Food stamps are there so people don’t go hungry (with an estimated multiplier effect of 1.84 to boot). People may vote for someone because he’s more likely to keep rather than abolish a program they benefit from, but that doesn’t mean the program isn’t good.

        The auto bailout was Obama’s single most socialist move. And it was by any measure–except free market dogmatism–a successful one. It kept people employed. It provided a buoy for the economy. It worked. A rational person would examine his beliefs in light of that evidence.

        Stop thinking like a kooky conspiracy theorist/moral nanny. The world is about incentives.

        1. Tony, for god’s sake, incentives are the WHOLE issue. Jesus Christ man, don’t you understand that government itself is a gigantic commons problem?

          And the auto bailout was only a success in the eyes of partisan Obamabots. It didn’t save jobs. Not significantly more of their factories would have closed or jobs been lost than were anyway had the companies filed chapter 11. And even if so, all of that production would have just been picked up by the other auto manufacturers and their factories in the south.

          But bankruptcy would have forced them to streamline their business models, and since the biggest drag on American car manufacturers is the UAW, it would have meant their union contracts would have be made competitive with the competition. The auto bailout was about preserving unions jobs at the expense of non-union jobs and nothing else.

        2. I agree that throwing moral judgements into the equation is not useful.
          Including the moral judgement that society is *obligated* to help people, and the moral judgement that those better off don’t deserve their wealth.

          If you want to look at pure incentives, that would be great. Looking at the indentives by themselves whether being on welfare is a great deal or not, what is the better deal from the perspective of someone who has the choice between a minimum wage job and a welfare check. Taking into account that the minimum wage job also involves 40 hours of work per week, and the welfare check leaves you free to spend your days amusing yourself.

          What sort of incentives are presented to an individual who wishes to start a business or be self-employed?
          What sort of incentives are presented to a small business owner who wishes to expand past a few employees?

          Moreover what sort of incentives are presented to ANY business owner, OR his employees, when his competitor gets a bailout, but he doesn’t?

          A huge problem with the GM bailout is that it was patently UNFAIR. In that the government selected THIS company (and not others) to get bailed out. AND that they manipulated the bankruptcy terms to favor certain poolitically favored stakeholders. So what incentives does THAT present to people?

          1. On the contrary I think morality should inform the core philosophy. I don’t offer much more than simple humanism, and if you want to debate moral schools ok–most of the policies I support can be justified on self-interest grounds too (though a morality that upholds self-interest as the highest virtue is plain weird, literally philosophic sociopathy.) And really what you’re offering isn’t that, but market worship, whether you call it that or not.

            What clouds the matter is attaching a flawed, long-outdated, and untrue behavioral morality to your economic policies. *Some people* are too lazy to get off their fatass so government’s role is to force them into economic activity by starving them instead of taxing and spending to provide for universal basic needs regardless of one’s laziness or ingenuity.

            Not to say welfare can’t be set too high to discourage upward mobility. I buy that. Maybe it’s like that now. I doubt it, and think upward mobility doesn’t exist because upward mobility doesn’t exist. If a rich businessman is naturally inclined to improve his economic station then I see no reason to assume a poor person wouldn’t be similarly motivated at least as much.

            1. You mean, you don’t want us to do away with moral judgements, you just want us to accept your moral framework from the start and then refrain from injecting any moral judgements you don’t like.

              Beg the question much?

              The governments role is not to “force them into economic activity by starving them”. The government’s role is not to do anything. They starve or not depending on their own actions. And why should people have their “universal basic needs” taken care of regardless of whether they are lazy or ingenious?
              That in itself is imposing your own moral judgement, one which I don’t accept. People AREN’T entitled to have their basic needs taken care of. Basic needs are NOT human rights.

              1. I say they are. Property rights, and the bureaucracy that comes with it, is certainly more of a niche right than the right to eat. I don’t have to accept your (minimal) list of rights just because you say so, and nobody’s explained how they are different in kind.

                1. Tony, you’re the one who is trying to get ME to accept YOUR minimal list of rights. You said lets leave the moral judgements out of this and just focus on economic incentives. I said yes, let’s do that including the moral judgement that people have a right to food and healthcare and so on.

                  So your entire argument is question begging. If we start from a position where there are no moral judgements about what people are entitled to, whether they deserve to be poor, and only look at pure economic incentives, we’re going to end up at a different place than you would prefer.

                  Case in point: What economic incentives are presented by having secure property rights versus the lack thereof?

            2. Tony, the market is simply people interacting voluntarily in the economic sphere. How can someone worship that? The fact that we don’t want government to interfere with it doesn’t make it some sort of religious cult

          2. The GM bailout (and of course the bank bailouts–those cost a lot, lot more by the way, but be sure to get your implicit, nonsensical dig in at union workers) were nightmares of moral hazard. But assuming the bailout saved the industry (and the millions of tangential jobs), that’s a good thing. And there’s nothing wrong even with a little “economic patriotism” in shoring up a proud national industry. Everyone else does it. Is Japan’s economy and market a disastrous inefficient moral cesspool because it promotes certain industries?

            The premise is that “market always knows best.” Market worship, as I said above. Well the market was wanting to put a lot more out of work than already were, because the market, unlike some other deities, doesn’t give a shit about human welfare.

            1. “But assuming the bailout saved the industry (and the millions of tangential jobs), that’s a good thing.”

              That’s a hell of an assumption. And who says it’s a good thing? Have you ever heard of opportunity cost?

              “And there’s nothing wrong even with a little “economic patriotism” in shoring up a proud national industry. Everyone else does it. Is Japan’s economy and market a disastrous inefficient moral cesspool because it promotes certain industries?”

              Everyone else does it, so we should too? And Japan has been economically stagnant for 20 years, largely because of idiotic government policies, so I don’t know why you hold them up as an example

              “The premise is that “market always knows best.” Market worship, as I said above. Well the market was wanting to put a lot more out of work than already were, because the market, unlike some other deities, doesn’t give a shit about human welfare.”

              As I said above, the market is simply people interacting voluntarily in the economic sphere. Libertarians don’t view it as a deity or worship it. This is probably among the most absurd of the left’s strawmen, especially given how they view the government. Btw, sometimes job losses are necessary and helpful in the long run. Imagine, for example, if we had tried to prevent anyone from ever losing a farm job or a horse buggy driving job 100 years ago?

            2. First of all, the notion that GM would have gone into total liquidation is idiotic. There might not have been many *American* investors who were flush with cash, but that’s not true of Toyota and Honda, and Mitsubishi.

              GM might have been broken up and the brands sold off, but the factories would still be there and someone would use them to make cars.

              Also, “economic patriotism”. please. eeew.

              1. Like maybe Fiat?

    4. I like it when Tony says crap like that.

  24. Economic rightism without sneering moral condemnation of the less fortunate almost makes no sense.

    What else do the voices in your head say? Could you ask them to phrase it in English?

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