October 26th, 2013

Charles Krauthammer: changer

Here’s a piece by Krauthammer describing his own left-to-right change.

I hadn’t before realized he was a changer. But it doesn’t surprise me. I’m often drawn to the writing of changers, even before I know that’s what they are. Another excellent example is Thomas Sowell.

45 Responses to “Charles Krauthammer: changer”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    Facts and knowing human nature drives thinking people to conservatism.
    I had a similar switch which was confirmed by the high tech lynching of Clarence Thomas. His wife is from Omaha and Creighton and she was my classmate.

  2. Mitsu Says:

    That article is kind of interesting because I agree with most of his objections to Democratic Party positions, but I never saw those as particularly strong reasons to abandon the party. For instance, the nuclear freeze — I recall when some nuclear freeze advocates came by this national seminar for “smart high school kids” that was being held at Williams College, I was lucky enough to be chosen. They came by and gave their spiel, we were all unimpressed. It wasn’t, however, that we thought the idea of the Freeze was a disaster — just that it would make no difference whatsoever. So, while I didn’t have much interest in the idea of a freeze, and neither did any of my fellow seminar participants, I also didn’t think it mattered that much if Democrats pursued the policy, because even if we did freeze our arsenal it wouldn’t make any difference. We already had so many nuclear weapons we could destroy the Soviets many times over, and possibly cause a nuclear winter and destroy ourselves as well, so what difference would a freeze make? Perhaps it would save some money that would otherwise be wasted building even more missiles, but it wasn’t as though it made any significant strategic difference either way. That’s why the entire debate just had little import to me.

    Regarding social programs — I actually believe there were good reasons to modify welfare to encourage job training and so forth, i.e., I was never an opponent of welfare reform (though subsequent studies have shown that welfare reform has only helped in some areas, where job training, etc., were actually implemented effectively). And, of course, Clinton famously championed it, so why would I leave the Democratic Party over that?

    So, yes, I actually agree with much of what Krauthammer says in terms of reasoned arguments against what some in the Democratic Party had argued for. But I’m still a Democrat. Why?

    For many reasons. I’m very, very strongly opposed to the social issues that conservatives promote, for one thing. I’m also opposed to the “pure libertarian” view that markets, completely unregulated, lead to optimal systemic outcomes — I’ve talked about that many times. There’s a ton of empirical evidence (speaking of empirical evidence) that regulation, prudently applied, can stabilize markets. Even Milton Friedman agreed the state had some reasons to intervene in the economy to stabilize the business cycle from time to time, a view that has for some irrational reason become anathema to Tea Party purists. And so forth. I believe a Tea Party program would bring disaster to the country. And while I could imagine voting for a moderate Republican, in today’s atmosphere I can’t imagine a truly moderate Republican being able to both win a national primary and govern from the center-right.

  3. Matt_SE Says:

    @Mitsu

    The problem with government intervention in general is imperfect information. Every individual brings his/her own knowledge to the marketplace, and no government official or any group of officials will ever be able to match that…not even close.
    The free market isn’t perfect. There are a few examples where it breaks down; either from disparate information being available to the parties involved, or in the case of catastrophic healthcare, from an inability of one party to refuse unreasonable offers.
    Still, the market is far superior to central planning.

  4. Paul A'Barge Says:

    So Krauthammer “changed” from Liberal to basically RINO. Wake me when he changes to conservative.

  5. Mitsu Says:

    >the market is far superior to central planning

    Of course, that’s totally true and also should be obvious. I’ve always been a strong opponent of central planning, it’s a ridiculous idea and could never work, even with the best intentions.

    But unregulated markets are also unstable. There are many articles and studies about this, here’s an example of a lay presentation of the ideas:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-decision-tree/201107/psychology-not-economics-is-behind-market-bubbles

    Another interesting article on the subject:

    http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/3142/2603

    Another example I would cite is environmental regulation, where individuals maximizing self-interest can cause a tragedy of the commons catastrophe in the system by using up all the resources in a way which maximizes short-term profits at the cost of long-term sustainability.

    In brief, I think markets do best at what might be called local optimization — finding ways of optimizing distribution of goods and services which are locally optimal in space and time. But a short-term optimal strategy might be a long-term disaster (for example, overfishing may improve your profit margins temporarily at the cost of destroying the resource which is finite, for the longer term). It seems to me the logical way to deal with this is to assign responsibility for longer timescale problems to the government, and assign responsibility for smaller-scale local decisions to the market. That is to say, the government should not micromanage, but it should take care to damp down bubbles and keep track of limited shared or public resources. I also think that massive income and wealth disparity can also lead to systemic inefficiency, although how to deal with this in a way that doesn’t micromanage the economy is a difficult question.

    I think Tea Party fundamentalism only looks at one side of this balance. Central planners look at only one side, as well. To me, the ideal policy is something in between, and it is an empirical question what the best policy is in any given case. But I don’t believe you can decide that based only on ideology or “purity”. Hence, I’m strongly opposed to far right as well as Stalinist or statist solutions. At present, the Democratic Party seems to be the only one that has coalesced around a general acceptance of the need to balance these two architectural forces in the economy. Moderate Republicans also do, but they seem to be hampered or constrained by the Tea Party fundamentalists. Thus, I can’t see voting Republican for the near term, at least, while this remains the political status quo. This is totally aside from the social conservatism of the Republican Party which I will never be able to support, which seems to me antithetical to libertarianism as well.

  6. jon baker Says:

    Mitsu,
    Here is a link to the HUD website where they are announcing that HUD, thru Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will provide “$2.4 TRILLION IN MORTGAGES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR 28.1 MILLION FAMILIES”. Fannie and Freddie, which are described in the HUD document as “Government Sponsored Enterprises ” will “buy mortgages issued by banks, thrift institutions and other mortgage lenders, and then package the loans and sell them to investors as mortgage-backed securities. ”
    The date of the Press release is October 31, 2000.
    Free Market capitalism got blamed for the bubble.
    http://archives.hud.gov/news/2000/pr00-317.html

  7. NeoConScum Says:

    The Fox News special on Charles the Great Krauthhammer hosted by Bret Baier last night was a total homerun. Zoweeeeeeee..!

    I came over from the Dark Side slightly before Dr.K., but really overlapped. Mugged by reality. Thank you Irving Kristol. Jimmah was the last Dem I voted for(’80), but didn’t register as a Republican until we moved to Central Florida in ’06.

    Dr.’s Sowell and Krauthammer have long made me very proud to be a Cabal Member.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    NeoConScum:

    I saw that special last night. It was great. The human side of Krauthammer—what a brilliant and determined man he is! I was very touched by it.

  9. Matt_SE Says:

    @Mitsu

    “At present, the Democratic Party seems to be the only one that has coalesced around a general acceptance of the need to balance these two architectural forces in the economy.”

    I don’t see that at all. IMO, the Democrat Party is the party of big government; for any reason, any time, all the time. I can’t think of one program they initiated that favors the market, which isn’t surprising since that would reduce their own power to meddle (and hand out favors).

  10. dicentra Says:

    What Paul A’Barge said.

    Cruz’s filibuster and its fallout have drawn some interesting lines among the GOP.

    I’m not sure why people would get so het up about a “mistaken tactic” unless there were something deeper at stake.

    Krauthammer appears to have come down on the side of the Establicans instead of Cruz.

    Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark, and I don’t much like it.

  11. dicentra Says:

    But unregulated markets are also unstable.

    Instability is scary but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem with bubbles is not that they pop but that the bigwigs who inflated it don’t suffer the consequences of their foolish behavior, so neither they nor their imitators are motivated to avoid creating the bubbles in the first place.

    Also, even when things rise and fall unpredictably, the churn tends to weed out the unfit — not individuals but businesses, practices, and assumptions — which is always good for the ecosystem.

  12. dicentra Says:

    for example, overfishing may improve your profit margins temporarily at the cost of destroying the resource which is finite, for the longer term… It seems to me the logical way to deal with this is to assign responsibility for longer timescale problems to the government, and assign responsibility for smaller-scale local decisions to the market.

    I would do the reverse.

    People who know that their livelihood and that of their posterity depends on whether a particular population of fish or critters continues to thrive will do what they can to maintain that population.

    As it stands, the high seas are closer to the tragedy of the commons, wherein everyone knows that if he doesn’t get his — today — the other guy will. The responsibility for the crash of particular schools and populations is too diffuse for people to think of their behavior as making things worse.

    It would be better to assign particular populations (even the migratory species) to specific people, who directly reap the consequences of foolish or short-term behavior.

    True, it would be hard to break into that business, but they’re not making any more ocean.

    Same with the FDA and other regulatory agencies: put the responsibility in the hands of people who feel the pain when they get it wrong. The FDA suffers nothing for inefficiency and stupidity and pig-headedness. On the other hand, Underwriters Laboratories is a private entity but everyone trusts it, because insurers say “if you don’t use UL-certified equipment, we’re not selling you fire insurance except at an astronomical price.

    The people who inspect drugs for safety should be the companies that insure the pharmaceuticals against lawsuits. They’ll do a good job because their existence depends on it.

    I also think that massive income and wealth disparity can also lead to systemic inefficiency, although how to deal with this in a way that doesn’t micromanage the economy is a difficult question.

    Actually, it’s pretty easy: stop letting big companies enact complex regulations that are designed to thwart their smaller competitors.

    All enormous companies become as sclerotic and inefficient as a government agency. They’re set in their ways and they have huge investments in their current offerings. They can’t turn on a dime or respond to technological or other changes very quickly.

    In a truly free market, smaller, nimbler, more innovative companies would undermine the larger companies’ market share, which would have to shrink to survive or they would die outright.

    However.

    Like Black Walnut trees, which drop herbicide-laden leaves to poison the ground beneath them, large companies have figured out how to use the enormous regulatory mechanism of the government to prevent smaller companies from becoming a threat.

    They insist on onerous regulations that they can afford to comply with but that a startup cannot afford. Any attempt to deregulate results in hysteria about food poisoning and children choking to death and whatnot.

    Most of us have never had to deal with the absurd, self-contradictory mesh of regulations which do exactly what they were designed to do: wrap a strait-jacket around the new guys so that the old bulls can rest assured that their place is safe.

    Furthermore, in the United States, family inheritance is not the problem it was in Europe, where it was against the law to sell off pieces of one’s estate. If a man become a millionaire, by the fourth generation that wealth as become dissipated, because his descendents don’t have the know-how to maintain the wealth-generation.

    We need regulations against fraud, predation, restraint-of-trade, and monopolies (including gubmint monopolies).

    The self-organizing, self-regulating aspects of the market will take care of the rest. We just need the courage to withstand the upheaval.

  13. parker Says:

    dicentra – “Instability is scary but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem with bubbles is not that they pop but that the bigwigs who inflated it don’t suffer the consequences of their foolish behavior, so neither they nor their imitators are motivated to avoid creating the bubbles in the first place.”

    Bingo! There will always be instable bubbles, whether in markets or politics, and the only sin is to protect (by whatever means) those who created or joined the bubble mania. QE (here and abroad) to infinity is currently creating the Buzz Lightyear of bubbles. When I don’t know, but eventually its going to pop, and the depression of the 1930s will look like prosperity in the rearview mirror.

  14. parker Says:

    “Like Black Walnut trees, which drop herbicide-laden leaves to poison the ground beneath them, large companies have figured out how to use the enormous regulatory mechanism of the government to prevent smaller companies from becoming a threat.

    They insist on onerous regulations that they can afford to comply with but that a startup cannot afford. Any attempt to deregulate results in hysteria about food poisoning and children choking to death and whatnot.”

    Black Walnuts are a great analogy. With the collusion of DC the multinational banks and corporations burn and salt the ground where true economic innovation is created. This is why I bank locally and trade locally to the maximum extent possible. Aim small, miss small.

    http://tinyurl.com/or538bm

  15. NeoConScum Says:

    Paul A’Barge: “Wake me when he CHANGES to consevative.”

    Ummm…You can wake up now as Charles did by the mid-eighties. He’s neither a Libertarian-Repub nor a Hole-in-the-Sand Isolationist Republican. He’s a very muscular, strong-America Neo-CONSERVATIVE. (*See the name of this site.*)

  16. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I watched the Krauthammer biopic on Fox also. Great show. I liked Krauthammer’s assertion that, being trained in medicine, he was biased toward results. Anyone who has taken the time to look, as he has, recognizes that big, centralized governments don’t work well. Or as he put it, “If you’re killing the patient, it’s time to look at a different approach.”

    Krauthammer is an aficionado of baseball and chess – two cerebral pastimes. I found his explanation of why he was against the Ted Cruz tactic reflective of that. I happen to agree with him. But I also believe the Rs should have united behind it (Even though they knew it would fail in the end.) until it was plain that it was not going to get any concessions. When the Rs were obviously divided, why would Reid and Obama think they needed to give concessions? Also, those Rs who find the TEA Party too vocal and feisty for their tastes should pause to remember that they can’t win an election without them.

    We now have a big pocket book issue (Obamacare as it is being revealed.) for the Rs to unite behind. Time to quit calling one another names and work to get as many Rs and LIVs on board the anti-Obamacare express.

  17. parker Says:

    “I’ve always been a strong opponent of central planning, it’s a ridiculous idea and could never work, even with the best intentions.”

    Yet you adore the messiah and vote for democrats (not that the RINOs are much better). Sorry, but you are either mixed up stupid or a liar.

    “Another example I would cite is environmental regulation, where individuals maximizing self-interest can cause a tragedy of the commons catastrophe in the system by using up all the resources in a way which maximizes short-term profits at the cost of long-term sustainability.”

    Exactly why should be no ‘commons’. Duh.

  18. NeoConScum Says:

    Dr.Krauthammer’s passion for baseball(and, specifically, the Nats)was a big ‘tell’ for me. During the season’s home games he drives(another surprise)asap from the Fox D.C. studio to the ballpark for games. I knew his longtime close friend, George Will, is a baseball lover, but didn’t realize the extent of the same in Charles. Love it!!

  19. Ymarsakar Says:

    The problem with government is that people like Mitsu end up as puppets, supporters, and the decision makers.

    Which we all can kind of figure out will cause what to happen.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    Btw, healthcare death panels are the ultimate expression of “sustainability”. It sustains the powerful and rich political class, by forcing the peons to conserve resources and stop using up rare medical tech/rares.

    Like the medieval laws concerning what you can buy to eat or wear, it is designed to put the peasants in their place. Mitsu Zombie here either thinks he’ll be promoted to overseer the peasants or that he will be elevated to the Leftist nobility.

  21. Mitsu Says:

    >wil do what they can to maintain that prosperity

    That might be the case, but it might not be. Suppose you have a lake with a finite fish population, and three fisheries competing for customers. Let’s say two of them are responsible and don’t overfish. But the third one decides to go for broke and fish as much as possible, and manages to outcompete the responsible fisheries because economies of scale allow them to offer their goods for a lower price. Let’s say the third one is owned by a multinational corporation that just wants some short-term cash flow and doesn’t care about sustainable fishing.

    The price signal at the marketplace doesn’t price in long-term consequences — that’s a side effect of the way markets work. They don’t factor in long-term resource depletion of bounded resources. So at the marketplace someone buying fish sees the lower price and goes for it, and the fishery that is overfishing will reap the rewards. Then, in 10-20 years, the fish are gone, and everything blows up.

    This isn’t just an abstract exercise — things like this have happened many, many times in reality. That’s why we have environmental regulation and so forth. The same thing goes for massive market crashes — that’s why we had Glass-Steagall and so on.

    Regarinding Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac — I’ve heard this argument before. The simple counterargument is that they only operated in the residential market, but the commercial real estate market had exactly the same inflated bubble and crash, for the same reasons, which were due to mispriced risk in the mortgage security market. And that market only existed because we got rid of the regulations that prevented it from existing back under Clinton and the Republican House. So, no, HUD and Fannie Mae were not responsible for the crash — they may have participated in the market, but the commercial market crashed for similar reasons — the market itself was fundamentally unstable.

  22. Mitsu Says:

    >why there should be no commons

    So we’re now going to establish private ownership over, say, air?

  23. Mitsu Says:

    (I might add — even if one were to establish, say, some mechanism for divvying up, say, the commons of the fish population in a lake — that would be tantamount to government regulation. The government would have to enforce some regulations about who could fish and how much —- which is essentially what fishing permits already are).

  24. Otiose Says:

    Mitsu, you remind me of Obama in that he also likes to project the two most extreme positions and then insinuate he’s in the middle when he really is pushing something well to the left. It’s not a choice between Stalin and zero government regulation.

    No one including the Tea Party is advocating zero government with zero regulations. They and others are pointing out that we’ve got too much government spending too much money.

  25. Otiose Says:

    I apologize. I don’t speak for the Tea Party. I happened to be out for a walk in an East Coast city a few years ago on July 4th and came upon a Tea Pary gathering in a park. I stayed to listen and found them to be reasonable.

    I haven’t heard much from them these last few years because in part the Obama administration used the IRS to suppress their Constitutional rights to free speech.

    As flawed as the markets may be the problem with turning over control via more government to a bunch of government officials is that such people due to the information/knowledge problem will probably do less well than the markets, and then the political rent seeking agenda that grows along with government size like a cancer.

    As far as the markets not including long range factors please note the AGW movement headed by ‘the science is settled’ Al Gore. What he’s been selling is a political movement masquerading as science.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    Imagine dealing with government logick that is worse than the Mitsu here. And anyone can imagine the hell on Earth created by Father Obama and his Regime of Democrat Utopian death cultists.

  27. Mitsu Says:

    Otiose and others: I think there’s plenty of reasonable debate to be had between moderate left and moderate right positions. I’m in favor of some of the things Reagan did, some of the deregulation and welfare reform and so on that the Republican Party has stood for. Now, I perceive the party to have gone far to the extreme. And so do many other people, including most people in my home state of California, even formerly Republican towns. I mean, even Orange County has started to elect Democrats, for chrissakes. Nixon is turning over in his grave.

    For those of you who think Obama is a man of the far left, it’s obvious you have no clue what the “far left” really advocates. There are mainstream political parties in Canada, Europe, and elsewhere which advocate leftist policy and actually implement it. I personally would not be in favor of those policies in many cases. I think the dynamism of the US economy does come from our relatively laissez faire system. But the Democrats have never advocated policy even remotely as left as that in many other countries. Take Sweden: talk about welfare state! They provide one year of maternity leave. State support for the unemployed that goes on for a very long time. State supported child care and on and on. Stuff that we’ve never even come close to here. And you guys think Obama is a “socialist”; it’s just so silly and lacking in historical and political context.

  28. Otiose Says:

    I don’t know you Mitsu but you sound more and more like Obama. You like to open with some anodyne sounding formulation – i.e. I like a lot of what Reagan did, but then we get the punch line – about how extreme current day Republicans or whomever you’re attacking are.

    My take on much of the left today is that they have no idea how far left they really are. Obama is probably the farthest left of any president ever elected. And that’s just about on ANY social or political dimension you want to bring up. ANY. And that’s not bringing up the incompetence of the man – thank God for small miracles. Look at the guy. If you sincerely believe he’s not a socialist then I think it likely it’s because you’re one yourself- just to put this in some context.

    The man is simply ignoring the rule of law on a wide variety of issues. Affirmative action and voting rights – he just ignores Supreme Court rulings and has the Justice Department pursue obviously racist unConstitutional policies.

    Climate Change – can’t get that thru Congress so we just hijack EPA and force what he decides on the people for their own good.

    Don’t like the political opposition e.g. the Tea Party – then let’s label them extremists and use the IRS to suppress their rights.

    Privacy issues – as far as I can tell the man hasn’t lifted a finger to rein in the NSA.

    Immigration – he has no interest in finding common ground with conservatives who have entirely legitimate concerns and decides unilaterally to drop enforcement of the laws in this area.

    Obama openly threatens to expand his policies of cherry picking what laws he will or will not enforce.

    I was surprised and gratified to hear Rubio publicly take issue with Obama saying that essentially that a comprehensive immigration bill can’t be negotiated because no one can trust the man to respect the rule of law i.e. he will take the parts he likes and ignore the rest.

    The Democrats – many of them – have often looked to Europe as an ideal for us to strive for. I live in CA too and I run into that attitude from many highly educated and well traveled people often. So your typical baseline Democrat does not look fondly on our ‘relatively laissez faire system’ as something to cherish and preserve but something to dispense with as soon as we can get to some version of what the Europeans have, which by the way is imploding as we speak.

    The huge problem I’ve seen with people I know in CA who like to cherry pick some aspect of ‘Europe’ to emulate e.g. Sweden’s maternity leave, is that they don’t want to talk about the details of restraint to the extent they exist in Sweden.

    Demand is endless. Supply is not. Conservatives know that truth while Socialists do not. Sooner or later socialists run out of other people’s money to redistribute.

  29. parker Says:

    “So we’re now going to establish private ownership over, say, air?”

    What an idiotic response! It is so idiotic no reply is necessary. Stupid is.. http://tinyurl.com/obu6a2h

  30. Faceless Commenter Says:

    You didn’t know Krautie was a changer? Girl! Breitbart was another, FYI.

  31. M J R Says:

    Faceless Commenter, 10:41 pm —

    I’m having trouble getting my arms around this comment. Is it so unusual that a (yes,) salient fact about someone known by reputation to someone else, has somehow managed to evade the someone else? It happens . . .

  32. Mitsu Says:

    >It is so idiotic

    Parker, the point is simple — the libertarian dream of dividing up the world into neatly-owned domains is itself absurd. Ownership is an abstraction of some utility but it cannot be generalized universally. Everything is interconnected — water, air, the ecosystem — things interact with each other and they don’t always do so in a way that can be easily modeled in terms of transactions between individuals, because the cascades of cause and effect are too interconnected. And, even if one were to try to “solve” the problem by extending ownership in the way you suggest, you’d have to enforce it via government regulations which would be tantamount to pricing in long-term costs — which is essentially operationally equivalent to environmental regulation.

    >Obama is probably the farthest left of any president ever elected.

    That’s arguable, but my point is that he’s not even remotely as far left as many extant European parties. We’ve never, ever flirted with, in the remotest degree, the level of social democratic policy which they have in most countries in Europe. Even the Tories in the UK are in many ways to the left of our Democratic Party.

    >imploding as we speak

    Europe is imploding not because of “social democratic” economics but because of the idiotic architecture of the Eurozone. There’s a huge difference between sovereign debt issued in a currency you control and sovereign debt issued in another currency. Currency union in the way the Europeans attempted it doesn’t work. It is also imploding because they’ve responded to this with austerity which also is the last thing you want to do in the wake of a sovereign debt crisis in the short term.

  33. FOAF Says:

    “I don’t know you Mitsu but you sound more and more like Obama. You like to open with some anodyne sounding formulation – i.e. I like a lot of what Reagan did, but then we get the punch line – about how extreme current day Republicans or whomever you’re attacking are.”

    Exactly, Otiose. mitsu is an astroturfing troll. His smarmy pretense to being “middle of the road” only thinly disguises his agenda of demonizing Republicans who oppose the Democrats’ big government stance.

  34. Ymarsakar Says:

    If you want to enslave Americans and make them into livestock so that the rich can get richer, congratulations, you’re an Obama supporter like Mitsu

    If you like to keep women in rape hell under feminism, congratulations, you are an anti-Sarah Palin zombie.

  35. Ymarsakar Says:

    Mitsu thinks that if he empowers a regime based upon totalitarian concepts, that the “social issues” he is afraid of will be suppressed.

    What he hasn’t thought of, what he hasn’t been allowed to think of by the Left, is that only in a totalitarian central planning system can social issues be enforced against people’s will. Whereas in a system based upon individual authority and liberty, social issues are unimportant.

  36. Otiose Says:

    Mitsu,
    “We’ve never, ever flirted with, in the remotest degree, the level of social democratic policy which they have in most countries in Europe.”

    We’re well past flirting. We got into bed with the farthest left President ever.

    “Europe is imploding not because of “social democratic” economics but because of the idiotic architecture of the Eurozone. There’s a huge difference between sovereign debt issued in a currency you control and sovereign debt issued in another currency. Currency union in the way the Europeans attempted it doesn’t work. It is also imploding because they’ve responded to this with austerity which also is the last thing you want to do in the wake of a sovereign debt crisis in the short term.”

    The “idiotic architecture of the Eurozone” is a complicating factor only. The primary cause of Europe imploding is their using debt to finance social transfer payments complicated by their forcing their banks to continue to rollover old and buy new debt. The banks and their countries are in a death spiral.

    Actually, ‘austerity’ is the first thing you do. The question is whether it will be the Keynesian version i.e. expand government spending and raise taxes on the private sector OR something from Hayek i.e. cut government spending leaving more resources for the private sector to create value to grow out of the problem and pay off debt.

  37. Mitsu Says:

    >We’re well past flirting

    You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. You do realize, for instance, that in the UK, ALL doctors, hospitals, etc., are employed directly by the government? No insurance companies, no private doctors and hospitals, health care is rationed BY THE GOVERNMENT.

    In France, there is one national health insurer (though they allow supplemental insurance). Single payer.

    In Sweden, the government pays parents up to 480 days to stay home and take care of their newborn children. Families with children and anyone below age 29 is eligible for a housing allowance if they cannot afford housing. Banking is strictly regulated far beyond anything we’ve ever contemplated here.

    And so on. You really have no clue what “far left” really means.

    >Actually “austerity” is the first thing you do.

    Austerity (cutting spending) has never worked in the history of financial crashes. It contracts the economy putting things into a devolutionary contraction spiral. You can’t cut your way out of a crash — Hayek was simply wrong about that, much as he was right about the perils of central planning.

  38. Ymarsakar Says:

    Mitsu has no concept of what far left means for nationalization of GM.

    He thinks he’ll be given a license to practice his job in private, instead of it being nationalized.

  39. Mitsu Says:

    >nationalization of GM

    Oh come on. The Bush Administration “nationalized” AIG also. In both cases the companies were returned to private control very quickly.

  40. Ymarsakar Says:

    Mitsu still thinks Bush is in power. Bravo for being a Loyal Leftist Zombie, but I doubt they renewed the Bush authorization yet.

    Are you going rogue? Do you understand what the Left will do to you if you go rogue?

  41. Mitsu Says:

    AIG was nationalized by the Bush Administration, hard as it might be for you to believe.

  42. Ymarsakar Says:

    The fact that you keep talking about the Bush Administration is something obama first told his loyal zombies to do, in order to spread the blame around to buy himself more time.

    Are you not even capable of understanding that?

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Nationalization of GM, destroying the stock broker investments and providing the money directly to Democrat unionistas and cronies like you, Mitsu, along with the bailout of various large banks and corporations, is not seen by Mitsu fence sitter here as being Leftist or extreme Leftism in action.

    He probably thinks he himself isn’t a Leftist either.

  44. Otiose Says:

    “Austerity (cutting spending) has never worked in the history of financial crashes. It contracts the economy putting things into a devolutionary contraction spiral. You can’t cut your way out of a crash — Hayek was simply wrong about that, much as he was right about the perils of central planning.”

    I’m well aware of Keynesian dogma on the issue. We’ve been experiencing the effects of that for the last 5 years both here and abroad and matters look only to get worse. As it turns out Hayek was simply very very right about that and about the perils of central planning.

    The crux of the difference in the two approaches is in understanding what constitutes growth or creating value (or wealth). K. look no further than spending i.e. the flow of currency in and of itself creates value, which is why they count increases in gov. spending as increases to their version of GDP.

    Hayek and his side see value as being created on the supply side – investing towards some value creating goal, which may or may not be successful. From this point of view the government spending money does not increase wealth or as measured by GDP.

    This is why stimulus spending by the government particularly when it is no more than the government spending money e.g. digging holes to fill up – does not actually create growth. It’s one reason why Japan has gotten stuck – they’ve been K spending for more than two decades.

    It’s also why that across the board as the size of government within an economy increases the actual growth rate declines. It’s why W Europe has been suffering so badly and why parts of E Europe have been growing rapidly.

    The K preoccupation with the flow of currency i.e. spending is why they almost all of them did not and could not see the downturn coming in 2007. As long as employment is high etc within their mental model of the economy there’s no rational reason why there would be downturn. And that’s also why they have zero idea as to how to get out.

    Unfortunately this type of thinking has virtually taken over the major central banks especially here.

    The K model also can’t imagine why lower interest rates and inflation could do harm. The truth is that the central bank’s actions are suppressing recovery. And with the K. Yellon about to take over we can expect a very intentional injection of much more inflation.

    As for a nice example of when ‘austerity’ i.e. cutting spending worked: the downturn of 1920-1 lasted no more than about 7 months. When it hit government spending was slashed and interest rates went up. The downturn was severe but short lasting.

    We can not get out of our current predicament without another drop in economic activity as the patterns reset from the unhealthy and unproductive dependency on transfer payments and government spending to new patterns determined by individual participants and companies themselves investing privately. That takes time. But that short detour is preferable to the prolonged downturn we face as the K policies once again fail to stimulate anything but more misery and failure.

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    It is the job of the Left and their loyal minions to cause more suffering. Their task in life is not done until they have made people suffer.

    To that extent, they need seeming moderates to distribute amongst the sheep population and tell them the slaughterhouse isn’t such a bad thing, that centralized planning isn’t at work.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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