Poverty

The Free Market Is the Best Antidote to Poverty

Left free, the market will provide the greatest benefit to workers, employers, and consumers.

|

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared "War on Poverty." It sounded great to me. I was taught at Princeton, "We're a rich country. All we have to do is tax the rich, and then use that money to create programs that will lift the poor out of poverty." Government created job-training programs for the strong and expanded social security for the weak.

It seemed to work. The poverty rate dropped from 17 percent to 12 percent in the programs' first decade. Unfortunately, few people noticed that during the half-decade before the "War," the rate dropped from 22 percent to 17 percent. Without big government, Americans were already lifting themselves out of poverty!

Johnson's War brought further progress, but progress then stopped. It stopped because government is not good at making a distinction between needy and lazy. It taught moms not to marry the father of their kids because that would reduce their welfare benefits. Welfare invited people to be dependent. Some people started to say, "Entry-level jobs are for suckers." Many could live almost as well without the hassle of work.

Despite spending an astonishing $22 trillion dollars, despite 92 different government welfare programs, poverty stopped declining. Government's answer? Spend more!

Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, points out that government measures "success" by the growth of programs: "based on inputs, how much money are we spending, how many programs are we creating, how many people are we putting on these programs—not on outcomes—how many people are we getting out of poverty? … Many of these programs end up disincentivizing work, telling people it pays not to go to work because you'll lose more in benefits than you gain in earning wages."

That doesn't mean the poor are lazy. It means they respond to incentives. They are rational about choosing behaviors that, at least in the short term, pay off.

It's not only welfare that makes it harder for the poor to climb the ladder of success. Well-intended laws, such as a minimum wage, hurt, too. But most people don't understand that. Even Republicans, according to opinion polls, support a higher minimum wage. A minimum sounds compassionate. It's hard to live on $7.25 an hour.

But setting a minimum is anything but compassionate because that eliminates starter jobs. The minimum wage is why kids don't work as apprentices anymore, nor clean your windshield at gas stations. They never get hired because employers reason, "If I must pay $9, I'm not taking a chance on a beginner."

To most economists, the claim that the minimum wage kills starter jobs is not controversial. But it is among the general public. And so politicians pander.

On my TV show this week, Rep. Jim McDermott (D.-Wash.) says that people like Paul Ryan and I "just want to cut the size of government. And trust the private sector to do everything."

Well … yes. The private sector does just about everything better.

McDermott says, "This whole business about somehow raising the minimum wage causes a loss of jobs—if that's true, why don't we just drop the minimum wage altogether and let people work for a dollar a day or $1 an hour?"

OK, let's do it! It's not as if wages are set by the minimum wage. That is a great conceit of the central planners: thinking that only government prevents employers from paying workers nearly nothing. But the reason Americans don't work for $1 an hour is competition, not government minimums. Competition is what forces companies to pay workers more. It doesn't much matter that the law says they can pay as low as $7.25. Only 4 percent of American workers now make that little; 95 percent make more.

The free market will sort this out, if politicians would just let it. Left free, the market will provide the greatest benefit to workers, employers, and consumers, while allowing charity as well.

It would all happen faster if politicians stopped imagining that they are the cause of everything.

NEXT: On the Supreme Court's denial of the marriage petitions

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. But if the Government doesn’t DO SOMETHING, who will?

    1. Of course the actual goal of the war on poverty was not to end poverty.

      “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” ?Lyndon B. Johnson

      1. Need to get them on someone’s plantation. For the children

  2. It would all happen faster if politicians stopped imagining that they are the cause of everything.

    And realized they’re just the cause of everything bad.

  3. It would all happen faster if politicians stopped imagining that they are the cause of everything.

    No, politicians imagine they are the cause of everything good… everything bad is caused by corporations, freedom, Koch Industries, Tea Baggers, etc.

    1. Exactly. Politicians are good because they vote to bomb the bad guys. Murder good, freedom bad, got it?

  4. Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

    1. I think you mentioned it you have a shrine made for him in your bedroom, just above your hope chest.

    2. I like Francisco d’Anconia. The Paris Hilton of Atlas Shrugged.

      1. Paris Hilton’s secretly working to bring down the parasitic system and bring about a society based on rational self-interest?

        1. No she inherited a bunch of money and parties all the time. She also may have STDs.

          1. According to The Hiltons, Paris is one of the few members of this generation of Hiltons with a strong work ethic who has earned most of her own wealth. Plus she has killer legs.

  5. But, but, but in the free market the rich get richer and the poor get poorer! It’s a zero-sum game! We need government to make it all fair!

    1. Re: sarcasmic,

      But, but, but in the free market the rich get richer and the poor get poorer! It’s a zero-sum game!

      You say it with a humorous tone, but when arguing with the little red Marxians that permeate the Facebook pages of Latinamerican libertarians or their blogs, they will wield that very accusation against the free market. When explaining to them that inflation and central banking is what causes poor people to become poorer as their savings melt away, and the rich to be richer as they have the wherewithal to protect their assets, they normally retort with the calumny that central banking is part of the free market(!) I kid you not.

      Obviously, little red Marxians never read Marx or at least that part where he says that central banking is the best way to destroy capitalism through – ready for it? – inflation.

      1. they normally retort with the calumny that central banking is part of the free market

        Yeah, I tried to think of a hilarious sarcastic response to this, but I think they’ve outdone themselves on that note.

      2. Latinamerican libertarians

        Extrapolating from my experiences in Nicaragua and the Latino community in the Vancouver area, there must be all of 9 or 10 of you.

      3. Marxians that permeate the Facebook pages of Latinamerican libertarians or their blogs

        That is the ultimately tragedy of many Latin American countries. The main answer to so many people’s economic hardship is the inflation right in front of their faces, and they don’t realize it.

        I also can’t stand it when people (here in Mexico) say the government doesn’t do anything (completely false) and needs to protect workers and force companies to pay more or whatever, as if the real solution were not to bring in more companies to increase the demand of labor and capital investment for productivity to push wages up.

        That mouthful doesn’t get nearly as far as something like “Que el gobierno proteja a los trabajadores de las empresas!”

      4. don’t forget the, “The Federal Reserve is a private institution” argument.

  6. The minimum wage debate drives me nuts as much as any of it. Beyond the obvious issues of how it destroys jobs, the underlying assumptions beyond it are even worse. Progs operate under the assumption that every full time job is the only job someone can hold. No one would ever work a second job to make extra money. And they operate on the assumption that everyone who has a job must support themselves entirely with that job. In prog land no teenage kid would ever take a job just to help out his parents. No spouse of a person with a full time job would ever take a low paying job just to make things marginally better. Nope, in prog land everyone only works for a “living wage” whatever that is.

    I really think white progs have never actually met or interacted with a working person in their life and thus have no idea how such people actually live. It is the only way I can explain their idiocy on these subjects.

    1. I really think white progs have never actually met or interacted with a working person in their life and thus have no idea how such people actually live. It is the only way I can explain their idiocy on these subjects.

      I think you’re right. I’ve worked 16-18 hr days for at least the past month, and that’s not an exaggeration. In the area I work, I’m surrounded by people that do literally nothing all day but sit at a coffee shop. I often consider how these people could possibly have the time and money to afford themselves such a lifestyle, and realize that I could never possibly have the time to waste on them nor their ideas.

      1. A good number of people I know have a grandfather who for whatever reason had to quit school at an early age and start working at the rock bottom. The grandfather always ended up at least middle class or in some cases downright rich. That mentality of start at the bottom and work for whatever you can make and do whatever it takes to get by and hopefully get ahead is completely foreign to Progs. They think that if it isn’t easy and doesn’t immediately give you a comfortable life, the job must be exploitative.

        1. Dude, you need to stop with this idea that progs think. They don’t think. They feel. Do they ever ask “What do you think about this?” No. It’s always “How do you feel about this?” Why? Because they don’t think. It’s all emotion. The reason what they say appears to be irrational is because it is irrational.

          1. The reason what they say appears to be irrational is because it is irrational.

            I can’t argue with you there.

          2. No, I have to disagree with you. There are a few who think. They are the ones who are genuinely fucking evil.

            1. ^^This

            2. There is a difference between the manipulators and the manipulated.

              I was referring to the manipulated who hear what the manipulators preach, like how it makes them feel, and say “Heck yeah! The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer! Government will fix it!”

              The manipulators are indeed pure evil.

              1. The evil leading the ignorant

      2. “I’ve worked 16-18 hr days for at least the past month, and that’s not an exaggeration”

        sorry your life sucks so bad you willingly are a slave to your job.

        1. If he is being compensated to his satisfaction why does it suck. I changed jobs because of long hours. I make less money but am happy with more free time. I know it is crazy but anon and I could have different priorities at this stage in our lives.

          1. I know it is crazy but anon and I could have different priorities at this stage in our lives.

            There was a girl who, despite being a crazy prog, had a great revelation. She was working for my wife at the time and she (wife) was feeling guilty that this younger girl (by 10 years) was pulling wild hours while my wife was dealing with sick kids and the like. To paraphrase, she said something like:

            “Don’t feel guilty. Right now I have no major commitments in my life which is good, because I hope to one day be as productive as you are with 10 more years of experience under my belt.”

            She had the right attitude. Many younger workers don’t understand how much of their work can be cut in half once you get enough experience to make smarter choices about your work. At that point, you can start reclaiming free time, take on more complex work, produce more or some combination of the above.

            While there are certainly exceptions, I find that most people griping about do-nothing managers or do-nothing experienced people (etc) have failed to internalize that life lesson.

        2. One secret to happiness is abundant, meaningful work.

        3. FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS!!!1!!one!

        4. I’ve been working (including school) 16-18 every day for the last 3 semesters. My life didn’t suck at all and I’m not escaping anything. I get paid very well, especially compared to my classmates, and I’ll be paid extraordinarily well once I graduate given my experience that I’m accruing and my career path.

          Working hard isn’t a curse, and working 16+ hours is only a short season of my life. I’ll be back to a regular 50 hours a week once I graduate, and I’ll be in a financial position to retire at 35. After that, I’ll be able to work for the fun of it and bless others with the income. My life is going to be awesome, so no need to worry about the welfare of us 16 hour a day workers, we’ll be fine in the long run.

        5. Sorry your life sucks so much that you have nothing better to do than willingly post idiotic shit on the internet.

        6. I like money, and I like my job. I work long hours at my own discretion, and I am happy.

    2. I really think white progs have never actually met or interacted with a working person in their life and thus have no idea how such people actually live.

      Shit starts in high school. Ask any sophomore who’s working a part time job and they tend to have somewhat realistic economic, those not working are lunatic socialists. I tend to think it’s because the kid working never forgets the initial shock of the taxes taken out of their first paycheck.

      1. “somewhat realistic economic thoughts”

  7. McDermott says, “This whole business about somehow raising the minimum wage causes a loss of jobs?if that’s true, why don’t we just drop the minimum wage altogether and let people work for a dollar a day or $1 an hour?”

    Ah, the “race to the bottom” argument wielded by economic ignoramuses. As if employers don’t have to compete against people’s own disutility of labor or against other employers who also want labor.

    1. “This whole business about somehow raising the minimum wage causes a loss of jobs?if that’s true, why don’t we just drop the minimum wage altogether and let people work for a dollar a day or $1 an hour?”

      I’m totally down with this.

    2. That argument is utterly irrational. If it were true, everyone would be making minimum wage right now. And of course he assumes “letting people work for a $1 an hour” is a bad thing. I wish more people would turn that bullshit around and phrase it as “why do you want to government to deprive people of the chance to work?” or something more pithy.

      1. You argue that the minimum wage costs jobs. Then you turn around and say that no one makes minimum wage anyway. Which is it?

        1. Reading comprehension not your strong suit, I see.

        2. Bit of both – a limited number of folk make the minimum, and few of them stay at that rate for long.

          But, when you raise the minimum, you will take away jobs at the margin – often from those who would most benefit from some introductory job experience that an employer could afford.

          Remember years ago a caller to Rush Limbaugh claiming to be both a conservative AND someone who wouldn’t mind seeing the minimum wage pushed as high as it would go.

          “Of course, I make automated manufacturing equipment.”

        3. Re: Noodlez,

          You argue that the minimum wage costs jobs. Then you turn around and say that no one makes minimum wage anyway.

          It’s not “nobody”, only marginal (i.e. inexperienced or very young) workers make MW.

          Minimum Wage is a price FLOOR on a potential worker’s wage, which means it takes away the worker’s bargaining power to get his or her first entry-level job. MW does cost jobs for people just entering the work force.

        4. You argue that the minimum wage costs jobs. Then you turn around and say that no one makes minimum wage anyway. Which is it?

          Yeah, because the jobs that minimum wage eliminates would pay less than minimum wage, which is illegal, so they don’t exist (or rather, aren’t counted in the “legitimate” economy).

        5. Minimum wage is the lowest price for which a worker may legally sell their labor.

          What if a person is willing to sell their labor for less than that minimum in order to gain the experience to sell it for more?

          Well, they can’t.

          So people without the experience required to sell their labor for the minimum price cannot sell it at all.

          Minimum wage hurts the very people its proponents claim it is supposed to help.

        6. The minimum wage is a price floor. Most people can sell their labor for much more. Some can sell it for the level of the price floor. Then there are those who’s labor is not valued at or above the price floor. They are unemployed due to the law.

      2. If it were true, everyone would be making minimum wage right now.

        The minimum wage is, in fact, $0.

    3. they don’t have to worry about competition as they push for open borders to ensure masses of poor can keep driving wages lower.

      1. If your wage would go down because there was more competition, then that means your wage is presently artificially inflated, and accordingly so are prices, which impacts everyone, foreign and domestic alike, yourself included.

      2. Re: Jim Smithy,

        they don’t have to worry about competition as they push for open borders to ensure masses of poor can keep driving wages lower.

        Why so racist?

    4. Why not make minimum wage $500/hr if it matters?

      The truth is, minimum wage laws ALWAYS closely track the market clearing price for labor. Just enough to affect the least visible folks who will actually be hurt by it. The result is feel-good do-gooderism with minor side effects that hurt teenagers and the mentally disabled mostly. Here is Oakland, CA they want to institute a municipal minimum wage law of 12.50/hr. Very few jobs pay less than that currently. You can’t hire a barista in Oakland for $10/hr. Maybe a junkie but they can make more than that begging for change on the offramps.

      no one would ever consider raising minimum wage significantly above the market clearing price for labor everyone advocating for minimum wage instinctually understands that is fucking idiotic.

  8. Government regulation and unions are the ONLY reasons that you don’t see 8 year old children working 18 hr days 7 days a week in unsafe conditions earning next to nothing. You turds would do well to remember that. Then again you probably concede that poverty is a neccesary component of capitalism.
    Yeah the market did a bang up job in the early 1900s. Wouldn’t it be great if we still lived in a place where you cut your finger off at the factor and get docked the time it takes you to bandage it and get back to work.
    Anyone remember the mortality rates for miners before evil “gumbmint” stepped in to protect workers?
    It doesn’t make sense to not pay the people who actually do the work that enables corparations to make money and instead use that money for ceo golden parachutes. That is just one more problem with industrial authoritarianism.

    1. Government regulation and unions are the ONLY reasons that you don’t see 8 year old children working 18 hr days 7 days a week in unsafe conditions earning next to nothing

      Actually, since the government forbids employing these foreign children, or buying from people who do, they have fewer options and end up at the unsafe local employers.

      Yeah the market did a bang up job in the early 1900s. Wouldn’t it be great if we still lived in a place where you cut your finger off at the factor and get docked the time it takes you to bandage it and get back to work.
      Anyone remember the mortality rates for miners before evil “gumbmint” stepped in to protect workers?

      Like how it deployed the national guard against the miners who were trying to renegotiate their contracts? Or were you thinking of how they made torts inaccessable for the fingerless employee. Yeah, government was really on the side of the worker.

      It doesn’t make sense to not pay the people who actually do the work that enables corparations to make money and instead use that money for ceo golden parachutes. That is just one more problem with industrial authoritarianism.

      If you think you’re worth more, negotiate a raise. If you’re eminently replaceable, expect to be replaced. Labor is a commodity, and if all you bring to the table is two hands and no skills, don’t expect a golden handshake.

      1. I’m surprised you responded UCS. I was assuming derp that deep must be sarcasm.

        1. I figured it was trolling. I haven’t fed a troll in a while.

    2. B-

      not bad, but could use a little polishing and a couple of more talking points.

      1. He or she falls well short of “Blighter’s” efforts.

    3. Re: Noodlez,

      Government regulation and unions are the ONLY reasons that you don’t see 8 year old children working 18 hr days 7 days a week in unsafe conditions earning next to nothing.

      Actually that is not the reason. The regulations came at the behest of unions because unions don’t like the competition. Most kids in the 19th Century and early 20th Century actually worked at family-owned farms from sunrise to dusk. That is why school scheduled are what they are today.

      It doesn’t make sense to not pay the people who actually do the work

      This is the first time I’ve read someone say that people generally work for free despite their preferences.

      It also sounds a lot like Marxian exploitation theory; the old, tired, worn, debunked (and left for dead) explanation for profits.

    4. dont bring facts to the fairy tale libertarian world. Accept personal responsibility and don’t cut your finger off. Children want to work 16 hour shifts doing labor rather than going to school and playing.

      1. dont bring facts to the fairy tale libertarian world

        Project much?

      2. Children want to work 16 hour shifts doing labor rather than going to school and playing.

        If that means the difference between your parents, siblings, and yourself starving, then yeah that’s exactly what they would “want” to do.

        First world problems: bitching about child labor in China, when the alternative is starvation.

        1. Children left the market place only when the market caused real wages to rise far enough such that a 10 year old could remain idle.

          The Unions would not have bitch about the children had the typical union worker needed his son’s income to support the family.

    5. You do realize that almost half a million children still work each year harvesting food? The fun part is that there’s no minimum wage requirements so they make about $1,000 a year for all their work. You can thank old FDR for this little loophole in the labor laws. Like most things, the change didn’t happen because of right or wrong, but because it got votes. They could be upset about little Johnny working in a factory, but didn’t have a problem with him working in the fields because it meant their food was still cheap.

      Yay gubmint!

      1. clearly the free market has raised wages of these children, right? In the absence of a minimum wage, these kids have seen their wages rise, right?

        1. In the absence of a minimum wage, these kids have seen their wages rise, right?

          Is this a fucking joke? Compare a farm kid today to a farm kid in the 50s and tell me their fucking wages haven’t risen.

        2. Re: Jim Smithy,

          clearly the free market has raised wages of these children, right?

          They have. The number of people who used to live with a dollar a day have been decreasing steadily for the last 100 years, the result of more open trade and more mechanization of production.

          1. A dollar a day in inflation adjusted 1950 dollars? Or a dollar a day in ‘whatever their current dollar was’ dollars?

    6. Child labor, unfair capitalism, evil employers, evil corporations, scare quotes, and bonus points for “industrial authoritarianism,” whatever that means. Deliberate historical ignorance, oversimplification of the facts. Overall tone is self-righteous and condescending.

      Take note, resident statist shills, this is like A+ trolling right here.

    7. Kinda cool to see all these new trolls. Nice to smell their fear.

      1. Yes, it’s like troll basic training today. It makes me happy

  9. The government also creates poverty in more ways than just this. The regulatory state does a real number on the poor. Things like mandatory insurance, car safety inspections, expensive registrations and ubiquitous traffic laws and accompanying fines do as much as anything to keep people poor.

    IN most places your car is your way to get to work and the thing that separates you from poverty and dependence. People fall back into poverty all of the time because they run short of money one month and let their car insurance lapse and then get a ticket for it that they also can’t pay and so forth. In some states on the east coast a speeding ticket for more than 10 mph over the limit can cost in excess of a $1,000. Don’t pay it and you end up in jail and probably lose your job and everything you own.

    1. I don’t know how other states work but here your minimum insurance is to cover damage to other cars. It makes more sense to cover the cost of your own car that way if you want to forgo insurance on an inexpensive car you have that option.

      1. Yes it is. And ideally you want insurance. The problem is that we don’t live in an ideal. Some people have no choice but to chance it. Throwing them in jail for doing that is not a good response to the problem.

      2. You don’t need insurance at all in NH. Is it the only state that allows that?

        1. Really. I learned something today.

        2. Not necessarily. There are cases where the NH DMV requires drivers to have proof of insurance.

          http://www.nh.gov/safety/divis…..m#required

    2. I agree. If all traffic law was legislated in Washington instead of at a local level it would certainly improve the situation. When you allow this patchwork like we have now, someone will always get abused.

      1. Because centralized control is always better.

        Holy shit.

    3. And Cash for Clunkers did such a good job in providing cheap transportation options for the poor.

      Oh, wait – sorry.

      But who likes poor people, anyway.

      1. Yeah, and Abe ruined the economics of slavery and Teddy broke monopolies and FDR and SS, and LBJ and Medicare……all horrible horrible things for the economy!

        These actions, taken together, made up the worse and poorest nation in the history of the earth!

        Bad Bad Bad Big Gubment!

        Bad.

        Get in the corner….and stay there saying:
        I’m sorry I freed the slaves
        I’m sorry I freed the slaves

        until you learn!

        1. Abe ruined the economics of slavery

          Which government made possible up until that time…

          and Teddy broke monopolies

          Which are also enabled by government…

          FDR and SS

          Bad “investment” for the rising generations…

          LBJ and Medicare

          Do I really need to?

          I’m not seeing a white knight in your examples.

          Ya know, until you learn…

    4. so don’t speed? how dare there be safety inspections…if i want to drive my old beater with brakes which barely function…so be it. If i run you over, sorry. dont have money to get the brakes fixed.

      1. If i run you over, sorry. dont have money to get the brakes fixed.

        In the world you inhabit, criminal law doesn’t exist?

        Negligent manslaughter is a crime, you fucking moron.

      2. Not all states have safety inspections. Are people routinely getting run down by cars with defective brakes in those states?

        There are many incentives besides state inspection to make sure your car works and is reasonably safe.

        1. Remember when there was an initiative to get rid of inspections in NH ? Must have been when O’Brien was running the house. Anyway some Democrat said he didn’t need statistics to decide to keep inspections…he had three reasons…his three granddaughters. The joke was that, “so the granddaughters own a repair shop ?”

        2. You mean, people might want to maintain their brakes so they don’t kill or injure themselves in a wreck? The Hell you say!

          1. Or even other people, for that matter. Most people really don’t want to kill or injure random people on the street, even if it weren’t criminally negligent to do so.

        3. Uh…there is not state inspection here, so yeah, I’m not sure you perception matches reality.

          1. I assume that was supposed to be in response to Mr. Smithy.

            1. Yes. I’m not good with the treading

              1. Or spelling. Threading

        4. We don’t have vehicle safety inspections in CA either. Interesting fact: In CA we love to go to the local schools when school gets out in order to see all little kids get run over by all the cars that have faulty brakes. It’s always a good time!

  10. And lets not forget Prog renter laws and the war on pay day loans. It sounds so great to make it impossible to evict a bad tenant. The effect of that is to make landlords so cautious about who they rent to it is virtually impossible for the poor to rent. Most places in big cities require first and last months rent plus a security deposit to rent. This is how real people, not mentally drunks and retards like shreek, end up homeless. You boyfrined or wife fucks you and screws up your credit and you lose your apartment. Oh don’t have $3,000 laying around to rent another place to live? Fuck you go to the homeless shelter or live in your car. Such is the face of the kind prog society.

    And of course if you really do run short of money and you have to pay that ticket or go to jail or pay that back rent your deadbeat girlfriend stuck you with, forget about getting a quick loan to do it. Fuck you. Wait until you get paid or go to jail because we couldn’t have anyone exploiting you by loaning you the money at too high of an interest rate. That is just wrong. You losing your home or going to jail is of course a price that must be paid.

    You can’t hate progs with enough intensity.

    1. The law, in its majesty, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges.

      1. equality. finally.

    2. Well, if those folks need a better job, why don’t they just go back to school and get a masters degree ?

      /prog sarc

      1. Nah, that’s giving way too much credit to poor people for a progressive.

    3. Yeah because having predatory lenders devouring poor people would be a much better outcome. I guess you are only happy if some poor person is struggling to pay astronomically high interest to some rich person.

      1. DON’T TAKE OUT A LOAN YOU CANNOT REALISTICALLY AFFORD TO PAY

        1. MAYBE ONE DAY LECTURING WILL WORK TO EFFECT MACROECONOMIC OUTCOMES.

          1. Maybe one day the people who used force of violence to coerce lenders into issuing subprime loans will be held to account?

            WHO FUCKING KNOWS, AMIRITE?

      2. Re: Noodlez,

        Yeah because having predatory lenders devouring poor people

        The predatory lender uses cunning and stealth to stalk its victim, pounce over it and give it low-interest money.

        I guess you are only happy if some poor person is struggling to pay astronomically high interest to some rich person.

        Yes, N, we are gleefully entertained by fools suffering the consequences of their folly. Except that poor people didn’t really lose anything – it was the lenders who did.

      3. Hearings were done that showed that payday loans were actually very reasonable when the risk of default and duration of the loan were taken into account. Nice try though.

      4. I really enjoy it when trolls take 19th century anti-Semitic propaganda and just remove the ‘Jews’ part of it and pretend its a valid argument.

    4. And lets not forget Prog renter laws and the war on pay day loans.

      Pfft, poor people are supposed to get their housing and money from the government. Why would they need anything different?

  11. When arguing an issue like this, I really try to avoid using the term “the market” or “the free market”. That language gives credence to the idea that “the market” is this thing that exists apart from people, and that “market forces” are some outside force acting on people, often malevolently.

    Calling it choice or free enterprise helps make it clear that “the market” is just shorthand for individuals making their own choices. THEN if someone wants to argue that their choices are stupid and need to be made for them…well, you can have that argument.

    1. Re: Mariner2,

      Calling it choice or free enterprise helps make it clear that “the market” is just shorthand for individuals making their own choices.

      It doesn’t matter, M. Little red Marxians will not concede that free people can make their own informed choices. Most share a complete disdain for freedom as it is, so anything that smells of free choice will be taken by them with suspicion.

      1. Oh, they like freedom. As long as freedom means force. Like the freedom to breathe smoke free air because the smokers have been forced to go outside.

        It’s liberty that they despise. Liberty and justice (social justice is institutionalized injustice). They hate them both.

    2. I find that proggies get all confused when the word “choice” is used outside the context of abortion. Seriously. Abortion and choice are now synonyms among the politically correct.

      This is because killing the unborn is the only choice we should have. Everything else should be decided by authority.

      1. I hate that too. And I am all for legal abortion. And while I am pro-choice in most matters, I try to make a point not to use that term when discussing abortion.

      2. From the torrent of politcal ads in NH that I am trying to ignore, it seems that “women’s health” has become a synonym for abortion and contraception.

        1. This time of an even numbered year I’m especially glad I don’t get TV anymore. I do get about 3 fliers in the mail every day, but those are easy to ignore. I also get about 2 surveys a day, which gets old. At least I seem to have convinced the party organizer people that it is a waste of their time to call me.

    3. Could you explain this to Daniel Graeber? I’ve been trying to listen to Debt on audiobook, but I find his arguments so completely loaded with this sort of assumption that the parts I’d like to hear more about are almost not worth listening for. I keep wanting to shout: “Why do you assume that all value can be monetized in every transaction?! This is only true for transactions where the parties want to be clear of real or perceived obligation to each other in the future! Economic theory doesn’t prevent me from loaning money to my cousin that I don’t think I’ll get back! It just contraindicates trying to start a business where I loan money to people like my cousin without collateral and expecting to get much of it back!”

    4. Having powerful multi-national corporations coluding to rule over everyone else isn’t exactly what I would call individuals making there own choices.

      1. Re: Noodlez,

        Having powerful multi-national corporations coluding to rule over everyone else isn’t exactly what I would call individuals making there own choices.

        Even if they were, how does that invalidate a person’s autonomy? Your statement is a non sequitur.

      2. Your impeccable spelling makes your arguments even more compelling.

      3. You’re right. Those corporations are terrible!

        I mean, they provide goods and services that we voluntarily buy, and they provide jobs that people voluntarily work!

        That’s just awful!

        Our lives would be so much richer without those goods and services, and the people those corporations employ would be so much better off without a job!

        Oh, the humanity!

        Down with corporate rule!

        1. You don’t understand, the corporations control us because they control the government, therefore the government needs more power!

          1. Yes! Then with more power the government which is us can control the corporations that control it! Power to the people!

            1. +1 power multiplier!

      4. Yes, it’s so much better when governments do it, since their only power is to kill and imprison you.

    5. Calling it choice or free enterprise helps make it clear

      I like spelling it out even more clearly: “coercion-free zone”.

      When I’m feeling really snarky I say “gang-free” zone.

  12. Sounds like the balloonjuice butthurts go wind of this article.

    1. Is that where the trolls are wandering in from?

      1. Maybe. Juan Cole directs people to come here and troll occasionally and it’s always this sort of whining.

        1. Oh, I thought maybe Warty left the basement door open again.

          1. That wouldn’t matter. His Stockholm Syndrome Force Field prevents escape.

            1. Is there wifi in Wartys basement?

              I suppose after they take off their gimp suit they can surf Balloon Juice.

              1. There is only WartFi. It’s a dial-up service that connects them to their own ass.

              2. You’ll have to ask SF, who rents an apartment in Warty’s basement.

  13. The apparent indifference of politicians to the shitty economy has to stem at least in part from their belief that spending and revenues don’t need to correlate in any way. If they needed a healthy economy to fund all of their bullshit, then they’d be at least a little concerned about doing things that hurt the economy.

    And, of course, putting half the country on some form of welfare or other subsidy helps insulate them from the blow of a public unwilling to tolerate a poor economy, though that ship may be sailing, since a majority of people seem to be dissatisfied–finally–with the current state of affairs.

    1. Haven’t you been listening to Obama? The economy is improving and is on the right track and we are better off than we were in 2008.

      1. Improving? I suppose it is if you think DC is the center of the universe.

    2. Quite the opposite. The worse the economy, the more people are dependent on government to save their skins. Probably would be that the bad economy doesn’t afford the government enough revenues to pay for these voter bribes, but with the power of the FED, anything is possible.

  14. I say it’s a regular having fun with us. It hits all the notes a little too precisely. It’s like listening to a drum machine.

    1. And these blast comments, too accurate for Leftpeople. Only Imperial Stormtrollers are so precise.

  15. Poverty occurs naturally and has occurred naturally in every single political/economic system that mankind has ever implemented. In the 20th century, the New Deal and Great Society got rid of shanty homes and extreme poverty for poverty with air-conditioning and parking lots and basket ball courts.

    The liberals didn’t create poverty by creating the government.

    1. I’ll agree the government didn’t create poverty, it is man’s natural state.

      1. I suddenly understand just how pissed off Jesus must’ve felt, performing miracles and everyone acting like they’re no big deal.

        Freedom and free markets haven’t solved all possible problems perfectly; therefore, let’s go with systems guaranteed to do much worse in almost any category you care to name.

        1. I was fishing for that quote about government knee capping people who try to life themselves out of poverty and bad luck, but I can never remember the author

      2. Only because despotism has been man’s natural state.

        In the last few centuries there has been an explosion in wealth, all due to liberty and limited government.

        But we’re inching back. Every new piece of legislation, every new government program, every new regulation, takes us a step back to absolute rule and the poverty that comes with it.

    2. The liberals didn’t create poverty by creating the government.

      Man, nothing burns like a strawman.

    3. the New Deal and Great Society got rid of shanty homes and extreme poverty for poverty with air-conditioning and parking lots and basket ball courts.

      Shantytowns that would not have existed if the central bankers and central planners had not decided to turn a minor stock market fluctuation into a collapse of the global economy.

    4. in every single political/economic system that mankind has ever implemented

      You imply that free market capitalism is “implemented” as in something that is designed. It is not. It is a product of emergent order. It is not imposed upon the people. It is what happens naturally when people are free to buy and sell and produce and save and invest as they please, without having to ask permission or obey orders.

      The liberals didn’t create poverty by creating the government.

      No one said they did. But they certainly don’t help things any. More often they make things worse.

      1. You imply that free market capitalism is “implemented” as in something that is designed. It is not. It is a product of emergent order.

        Yeah just like Juche. Do you people ever listen to yourselves?

        1. Ignore the Communist Party of North Korea, since their existence is inconvenient to Tony’s incoherent babbling.

        2. Re: Tony,

          Yeah just like Juche.

          Juche is spontaneous?

          Huh.

  16. I really wish I had grown up in the lovely world with unicorns and rainbows that a lot of these younger “occupy” morons must have grown up in, becuase it must be nice to think that someone actually gives a shit about your well being. I cant wrap my mind around a politician giving a crap about poor people. And the same people arguing against free market ideals are the same people that cant go anywhere or do anything without 15 apple devices strapped to them.

  17. This was even more racist than I thought it would be.

    1. What do you think the government should do differently in its anti-poverty spending, Tony? Do you think the government should spend more?

      Anti-poverty spending is easily $900 billion at the local, state and federal levels. Dividing $900 billion by the poorest 25% of the U.S. population (77.5 million people) is a little over $11,600 per person. For a family of three in the poorest 25%, that’s a total of $34,800.

      Obviously, that spending is not spent as a direct cash payment, and it’s not all spent on the poorest 25%. But it’s a large sum of money that should theoretically wipe out poverty as we know it in the U.S. So do you think there should be more than $900 billion in anti-poverty spending, that it should be spent differently, or what?

      1. I tentatively support a basic income guarantee (plus universal healthcare and education services). This doesn’t really *cost* anything. It just alters the distribution of incomes.

        You must understand that if you come to the table with the impenetrable assumption that taxing people is evil, then you aren’t really entitled to give any opinion about how to reduce poverty. The market mechanism does wonderful things but it isn’t magic.

    2. Re: Tony,

      This was even more racist than I thought it would be.

      Clouds are racist!

      The fluffy, pretty ones are white. The ones that bring down storms, tornadoes and hail are black! It’s like the Birth Of A Nation all over again!

      So, what else is racist, Tony?

      1. The underpinnings of the entire history of your economic philosophy.

        1. I love this guilt-by-association game. How long before you quit and run away screaming again? Cause I will never run out of racist quotes from socialists and progressives or anti-racist quotes from capitalists and free marketeers.

          Do you want to play, motherfucker?

          1. No I don’t want to play quote-off. I want you to explain why antigovernment ideologies thrive in places that used to have economies built on slavery.

            1. I want you to explain why antigovernment ideologies thrive in places that used to have economies built on slavery.

              Like Africa? Or the Middle East?

        2. Re: Tony,

          The underpinnings of the entire history of your economic philosophy.

          Aww, really Tony? So only you get to pee and call it rain?

      2. In Tony’s world only non-white people are poor. And we’re the racist ones.

  18. The war on poverty has been a massive, tax payer-funded failure: http://www.libertybriefing.com…..ailure/281

    1. Poverty has never shot back up to pre-Great Society highs. It has remained relatively steady, even if it had been dropping at the time of its implementation. Something has to explain why there aren’t the swings back up to high rates of poverty. The only rational conclusion you can come to by examining this data is that the programs worked to stabilize rates of poverty. Doesn’t mean they solved the problem altogether.

      1. Poverty was dropping, Great Society was implemented, Poverty stopped dropping. Tony celebrates “Stabilization of Poverty!!!”

        1. …And it never went back up. You can’t claim it would have kept going down. That would be self-serving speculation.

          1. The counterfactual fallacy cuts both ways, dipshit.

            1. No. If the GS didn’t work at all then we would have seen the same fluctuations in poverty level as we did pre-GS. And we never have. Something has to account for that, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that policies directly intended to cause this outcome might be somehow responsible.

              1. Re: Tony,

                If the GS didn’t work at all then we would have seen the same fluctuations in poverty level as we did pre-GS.

                What fluctuations? The trend was a downward slope, not sideways.

                You can’t even tell good lies.

                1. The trend at that specific moment was downward–from very high rates. Ever since the rate has been relatively stable and low.

                  1. Re: Tony,

                    The trend at that specific moment was downward–from very high rates.

                    So much for arguing that there were fluctuations.

                    Ever since the rate has been relatively stable and low.

                    So low that pundits should not be using the poverty level to argue for more intervention, right?

                    I just wish you little red Marxians would get your stories straight.

              2. Post a graph, motherfucker. All these claims and no evidence.

      2. Re: Tony,

        Poverty has never shot back up to pre-Great Society highs. The only rational conclusion you can come to by examining this data is that the programs worked to stabilize rates of poverty.

        It wasn’t called The War For The Status Quo, you mendacious fuck. It was called The War On Poverty.

        1. At it succeeded wildly, if not totally and perfectly.

          We’re supposed to scrap all that in favor of something that has never worked and doesn’t even work in theory?

          1. We’re supposed to scrap all that in favor of something that has never worked and doesn’t even work in theory?

            Who brought cheap energy to the masses, Standard Oil or you beloved government?

            1. Why is it always either/or with you guys?

              1. When we’re nuanced, you say things are simple. When we keep it simple, you say things are nuanced.

                Is there no dishonesty to which you won’t stoop?

                1. What was something you applied nuance to?

                  1. Not killing people who oppose us? I mean, that’s pretty nuanced, right? That people who disagree should be free to do so? You can’t even manage that level of nuance.

          2. Re: Tony,

            At it succeeded wildly

            Sure. Like cutting the ribbon and then turning around to say “look at that bridge I built!”(*)

            Success!

            * When you know you didn’t.

      3. How many weeks after they stop receiving welfare checks will most welfare recipients end up in true poverty again? Six? Twelve? Maybe a year?

        You have not ended poverty. You have stolen the wealth of the productive, destroyed or wasted most of it, and then created an ever-growing underclass of dependents.

        If you had truly ended poverty, then people would not have to depend on the next welfare check. They would have taken the money and built something sustainable with it. But free money has no incentives to better oneself or one’s community.

        You are just a thug in nice clothing.

        1. There is little evidence that putting a floor on poverty (giving people free money) causes people not to work en masse. Otherwise we’d have much higher unemployment since the advent of the welfare state instead of, you know, significantly less than before.

          And stop equating wealth with virtue. Nobody asked you to bring your religion into this.

          1. Re: Tony,

            There is little evidence that putting a floor on poverty (giving people free money) causes people not to work en masse.

            There’s actually plenty of evidence, just by looking at Clintonian welfare reform. People, after being told they were not going to get more welfare, all of a sudden, looked for work.

            Then there’s the labor participation rate. It shot up. Why? Unemployment benefits.

            The evidence is all around. You just don’t like poor people, which is why you prefer to bribe them instead of seeing them in the street on their way to work.

            1. Clinton’s welfare reform only increased misery in this country. The overall employment rate has tracked with economic growth, generally.

              If your thesis about welfare causing laziness were correct then we would have always had higher unemployment since the Great Society than before it. That is, obviously, not the case.

              1. Re: Tony,

                Clinton’s welfare reform only increased misery in this country.

                Ah, changing the subject!

                If your thesis about welfare causing laziness were correct then we would have always had higher unemployment since the Great Society than before it.

                America HAS higher unemployment since the Great Society! The government changed the measures in 1994 – do you think they did because they were proud of their achievement?

          2. And stop equating wealth with virtue. Nobody asked you to bring your religion into this.

            I’m sorry, who was it again that assumes all wealth is ill-gotten and thus taxation is not theft?

            1. I don’t know.

              1. Fuck off, sockpuppet.

      4. Holy non sequitur Batman!

      5. Tony:

        The only rational conclusion you can come to by examining this data is that the programs worked to stabilize rates of poverty. Doesn’t mean they solved the problem altogether.

        Since poverty is defined by income, and welfare benefits don’t count as income, how to conclude that the only rational explanation is that welfare benefits stabilize poverty?

        That sounds more like jumping to predetermined conclusions, rather than the “only rational explanation.”

  19. Yeah, it’s working perfectly in Firestones plantations in Liberia where folks get $125 a month for 12 hour days and living in squalor.

    1. The alternative to which is dying on the streets or joining one of the gangs.

      1. So it’s not as bad as dying in the streets. It must be the way to go.

        1. So it’s not as bad as dying in the streets. It must be the way to go.

          Yes? Are you fucking stupid? Or just an immoral asshole who wants people to die in the streets so that he can feel smug about himself?

  20. Jeez, the stench of stupid, with craiginass putting out the final brain fart. Get out the air freshener.

  21. Should we turn our heads to ill-gotten wealth?

    I know the US Government has no problem with various business except drugs.

    1. Should we turn our heads to ill-gotten wealth?

      If you can prove a crime, you can get the “ill-gotten wealth” returned to its rightful owner. The government is not the rightful owner of goods stolen from somebody else.

      I know the US Government has no problem with various business except drugs.

      Oh boy, we got another kidder. The DEA and FDA are just one small part of the government. How easy it is to forget the USDA, DOE (both), ATF, SEC, IRS, CBP, and myriad other agencies. All business in this country is the government’s business, and anybody who pretends otherwise is an idiot or a liar.

  22. John Stossel’s “free market” is one that is laissez-faire where things take their own course, without interfering. Of course, given the unjust system we are presently trapped in, this will ONLY further concentrate capital ownership among the already wealthy ownership class and further enslave people as wage slaves and welfare slaves. Instead what needs to happen is our leaders need to reform the system to provide equal opportunity access to insured, interest-free capital credit to simultaneously finance the building of a FUTURE regulated “free market” economy that can support general affluence for EVERY citizen while broadening personal ownership of newly formed capital assets whereby EVERY citizen is an OWNER.

    We need to finance our FUTURE using financial mechanisms (which the wealthy use) that would empower EVERY citizen to acquire ownership in FUTURE wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets. A key financial mechanism would be to provide equal access by EVERY citizen to insured, interest-free capital credit loans repayable with the FUTURE dividend earnings of the investment, without having to pledge past savings or equity or reduce one’s standard of living.

    1. Equal opportunity is nonsense.


      Instead what needs to happen is our leaders need to reform the system to provide equal opportunity access to insured, interest-free capital credit to simultaneously finance the building of a FUTURE regulated “free market” economy that can support general affluence for EVERY citizen while broadening personal ownership of newly formed capital assets whereby EVERY citizen is an OWNER.

      That is so FUCKING FUNNY I almost had to go the emergency room.

      Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

      First of all, it is not the Government’s responsibility to do anything. Libertarians would live without a government.

      Secondly, those leaders you talk about that need to reform the system to provide equal opportunity access are put there by the people that are in power now.

      When you go vote, believe it or not, the list is a bunch of cronies pretty much appointed by corporate America.

      I will admit that I am the Biggest Dumb-ass in America to vote for Obama and to be so naive to believe that this Negro was going to bring fourth change, and the established community of Crooks and Corporate America (Regardless of Rep/Dem/Lib/Commie) would take that sitting down.

      You sir, are pretty dumb to believe that the people in power will take this sitting down and that we can change that.

      1. Until the guns come out, people only have as much power as you let them have.

        Most power structures in this country are highly transient. The President is reelected every four years, the Congress every two (well, 1/3 of the Senate and all of the House). The composition of the top 1% of income earners changes daily, with only a few outliers like Gates and Buffett who have been there for decades. Even they have relatively little power; their personal wealth is trivial compared to just the annual revenue of the businesses they are associated with, and they aren’t running any personal armies the last time I checked. Only the civil service is truly entrenched, but an act of Congress and the stroke of the President’s pen could change that practically overnight.

        Yes, you are a fool, but your vote for Obama is incidental. You are a fool because you think there exist a class of top men who will give you what you want. No such men exist; all are made of the same cloth as you and I. The best thing to do is to diffuse power as greatly as possible. The government in its present state is far more powerful than any organization or business in this country. It is the true monopoly, and it has the force of law and the power of many, many guns behind it.

        1. Until the guns come out…

          Have you seen the TV Lately?

  23. The solution is to adopt and implement the Capital Homestead Act that will empower EVERY American citizen to become an owner of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets simultaneously with the technological economic growth of the economy. The Capital Homestead Act is a key plank in the Unite America Party platform.

    1. Your website is very very nice.

    2. You are a moron. Your failure to understand finance is only matched by your mendacity in piggybacking on Warren Buffett’s tax rate hand-wringing.

      If Mr. Buffett is so concerned about the tax rate disparity between himself and his secretary, he is free to make up the difference by writing a check to:

      Gifts to the United States
      U.S. Department of the Treasury
      Credit Accounting Branch
      3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
      Hyattsville, MD 20782

  24. I will publish this on my page on Facebook
    Johnson’s War brought further progress, but progress then stopped. It stopped because government is not good at making a distinction between needy and lazy. It taught moms not to marry the father of their kids because that would reduce their welfare benefits. Welfare invited people to be dependent. Some people started to say, “Entry-level jobs are for suckers.” Many could live almost as well without the hassle of work.

    Cleaning company

  25. Eh bien, je suis un bon poste watcher vous pouvez dire et je ne donne pas une seule raison de critiquer ou de donner une bonne critique ? un poste. Je lis des blogs de 5 derni?res ann?es et ce blog est vraiment bon cet ?crivain a les capacit?s pour faire avancer les choses i aimerais voir nouveau poste par vous Merci
    ?????
    ????? ???

  26. You are a moron. Your failure to understand finance is only matched by your mendacity in piggybacking on Warren Buffett’s tax rate hand-wringing.

    If Mr. Buffett is so concerned about the tax rate disparity between himself and his secretary, he is free to make up the difference by writing a check to:

    Gifts to the United States
    U.S. Department of the Treasury
    Credit Accounting Branch
    3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
    Hyattsville, MD 20782masr news

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.