In the wake of September 11, 2001 and continuing through the lead-up to the Iraq War and into 2003, I was involved in an intense debate on several political Usenet groups (my involvement in political Usenet, actually, goes back to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal of 1997-1998), in which there was a clique of rabidly right wing libertarians holding forth on what they called “anarcho-capitalism.” Many believe that the only logical conclusion to right libertarianism (and to history, actually) is capitalism completely unfettered by government. In a sense, they’re right (except for the history part): If you think government is bad for business and you think business is the best way to distribute resources, then the best government is no government at all. Of course a lot of Libertarians believe government is necessary to provide for the defense of business interests, but the anarchos would argue that if businesses need to be defended, they should do it themselves. Abolish government, they say, abolish borders, open all the world to capitalism. Let the market determine the value of everything. Continue reading
I’m not a fan of this ridiculous deficit obsession and wish Obama and the Democrats and even Republicans would rise to the historic occasion in front of them and pass meaningful demand-side legislation, but I can’t help but enjoy the game Obama is playing with the little mouse from Virginia:
Jackie Calmes in the New York Times today, in analysis pretending to be a news report, actually does seem to be telling a truth about what lies behind President Obama’s words at his press conference yesterday. I know Bob Somerby, one of my original Internet heroes, would be annoyed by any presumption to know what’s in the mind of a politician beyond what’s in his words, but I’ll explain what I mean after the quote after the jump. Continue reading
The Wall Street Journal seems to mistake President Obama’s fumbling around with revenue fixes for the irrelevant deficit problem for what he should be doing, which is energetically rekindling a stimulus, with real spending on jobs programs to nourish the nation’s weakening demand-side. Continue reading
Let’s get down to brass tacks: Republicans are slaves to a fantasy ideology called supply-side. They are not free to consider any actions other than those that enrich the rich. The ostensible logic of this compulsion of theirs is that the wealthy alone are capable of distributing their own wealth, that they do this by investing in ventures that create jobs for the non-wealthy. But let’s be real: Republicans are not free to think beyond the first step: Enrich the rich. Any sector other than the rich doesn’t exist for Republicans. Enrich the rich.
In this, Republicans are exactly like the lancet-fluke infected ants Daniel Dennett likes to cite when discussing freedom and religion. Like these helplessly suicidal ants, Republicans are merely the vessel by which a very dangerous meme propagates itself. Until very recently it was not absolutely clear how dangerous this meme was, but the conditions for a perfect storm unleashing the danger have been brewing since the tandem events of the financial crisis of 2008 and the election of Barack Obama. Continue reading