"We Won the Battle of Ideas"
says liberal Robert Kuttner
I just got an email from RealClearPolitics linking to a Robert Kuttner article about the Biden administration “Winning the Ideas, Losing the Politics” in the last two years.
It really is helpful to get a look into other peoples’ bubbles.
See, Kuttner asserts that
No serious person any longer thinks that deregulation, privatization, globalization, and tax-cutting serve economic growth or a defensible distribution of income and wealth.
The tell, I think is that, for some strange reason, “deregulation, privatization, globalization, and tax-cutting” have all become pejoratives over the years.
Earth to Kuttner: all government interventions in the economy reduce economic growth. Why? Because nobody can know the details of how to grow, make, distribute sells the millions of goods and services. Every government intervention involves helping some pal of the ruling class, because politics. When you unpack the four things that “no serious person any longer thinks,” you realize that they are all names for efforts to try and undo government domination of the economy. As in
Regulation doesn’t work, because “regulatory capture;”
Government ownership of the means of production doesn’t work because Hayek and Mises;
High tariff walls don’t work because they favor politically favored interests;
High marginal taxes don’t work because they seize the product of labor and ideas and distribute them to the rulers’ favorites.
Without a reliable majority in Congress, Biden worked miracles. Inflation has been tamed, we are at full employment, supply chains are being brought home, antitrust has been resurrected. Biden is taking on Big Pharma and Big Tech and promoting strong unions:
Actually, Biden rammed through a far-left agenda without any Republican votes, and the increased spending is all on green subsidies and ramp-up of the fight against systemic racism that does not, and will not, put money on the pockets of ordinary Americans.
I remind Kuttner of the Moynihan Concept, that when you pass a big piece of legislation you need a 70-30 vote in the Senate. The meaning is that, if you want your new program to become part of the furniture you need to deal everyone into the hand-outs.
Then he says:
Biden’s accomplishments have not been nearly radical enough to change entrenched patterns in the American economy when it comes to jobs, paying for college, health care, and housing.
It was the Democratic complicity in the economic wreckage of the average American over four decades that finally brought us Trump.
Oh yeah? And who was responsible for the slow recovery from the 2008 recession, with a stimulus package that amounted to handouts for Democratic constituencies like teachers?
And how much harm has Obamacare done by making health care even more into a government regulated racket where Democratic constituencies get free health care and ordinery people get screwed.
And do you have a clue, Robert Kuttner, about how the Fannie / Freddie low-down fixed rate mortgage game has contributed to sky-high housing prices?
Kuttner quotes a woman friend who has spend decades in legal activism. Now she says “By focusing on civil liberties but ignoring economic issues, liberals like me got defeated on both.”
Yes, but do you understand that whether you liberals are doing legal activism or “economic issues” you are always talking about government intervention in society or the market.
And the fact is that politics reduces everything to the fight against the enemy. And wars, whether economic or shooting, don’t create resources and prosperity, they consume them.
The conceit of people like Robert Kuttner and the rest of the educated class it that educated people can imagine what society needs and also how to do it.
Hey, not just the educated class: the ruling class, ,the merchant class, the administrative class, the religious leaders, the military leaders. If you don’t understand that nobody knows nothing about the future, you just don’t get it.
I would say that the record of the last 200 years is that nobody has a clue: either what we should do next or how to do it. The future emerges out of the cloud of unknowing, of people inventing stuff, and people making and selling stuff. And above all, people fixing their mistakes.
I remember when the iPods came out in about 2000, and I thought to myself: yes, the kiddies like those music players and they are really cool, but how big could it be? Pretty big, it turned out, but nothing like as big as the iPhone which combined music, email, and then texting with the basic phone ability, and it changed the world. My point is that if you didn’t put half your savings into Apple in 2000 you really didn’t have a clue.
And that is what everything in life is about: placing a bet upon the future — with your own money. Yeah, betting with somebody else’s money doesn’t count.
Anything else is just a conceit.