Regressives

by Don Boudreaux on August 8, 2007

in FDA, Myths and Fallacies, Nanny State, Regulation, Social Security

Here’s my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  In it, I argue that the so-called "Progressives" in modern America are, in fact, anything but.  A better name for them would be "Regressives."

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Mathieu Bédard August 8, 2007 at 8:30 am

But doesn't 'progressive' generally refer to their moral values rather than the policy they fancy?

I mean, I'm all for liberty and individual rights, but when asked whether I'm more of a progressive or a conservative I would probably answer progressive — I couldn't care less about same sex couples, I don't go to church, I'm an immigrant and I think immigration should be totally unregulated, I don't particularly like war and violence…

Gil August 8, 2007 at 8:49 am

A better question might be – how many people would describe themselves as 'progressives'? – which is to say probably not that many.

But really what difference is there between your example of 'statist' locale and a private employer/landlord? 'Love or leave it' is perfectly fine in Libertopia but elsewhere it's case of 'oh no, shock and horror!'?

TLH August 8, 2007 at 9:05 am

Oddly enough, my education about the peasant's life under feudalism completely omitted any reference to the lord setting standards for food safety and the effectiveness of medical treatments. It must be those wily progressives censoring the past!

People living under single-payer healthcare distribution systems are healthier than Americans and far healthier than those living in the libertarian utopia that is Somalia. Doesn't this evidence strongly suggest there may a flaw in your argument?

muirgeo August 8, 2007 at 9:48 am

Today's "Progressives" seek a return to the status and static society in which the few direct and "protect" the many. That, of course, is the opposite of genuine progress.

Donald J. Boudreaux

That's a mis-characterization of what most people who consider themselves progressive believe. Progressives believe in democratic pluralism and basically that policies that strengthen the middle class and those that strengthen the democratic process are good policies.

What we don't believe in is regressive policies that would return us to October 28, 1929 or to the societies so well documented in the literature of Charles Dickens. Been there done that….such policies to us would be considered regressive.

Like in your last post we are not so sure of things like FDI (foreign direct investment) but we do believe in societies that create conditions that those who are certain of the values of FDI want to take advantage of.

Under progressive government we won WW 2, became the worlds greatest economy ever and won the cold war. Now after 25 years of economic liberalism we look ready for another big fall. A progressive is some one who is awake to that fact.

John Dewey August 8, 2007 at 9:49 am

Mathieu Bédard: "I couldn't care less about same sex couples, I don't go to church, I'm an immigrant and I think immigration should be totally unregulated"

Conservatives – or better yet, non-Progressives – are hardly a homogenous group. The libertarian leaning segment are opposed to most restrictions on individual liberty, including many "conservative" proposals such as criminalization of immigration and bans on same sex marriage. I think classifying oneself as either "progressive" or "conservative" only distorts the perception of others.

John Dewey August 8, 2007 at 9:57 am

"People living under single-payer healthcare distribution systems are healthier than Americans"

That's debatable in the first place. But even more important, the health of individuals is much more dependent on choices they make rather than on the effectiveness of the healthcare system. The U.S. healthcare system cannot force citizens to exercise or prevent them from consuming junk.

Sam Grove August 8, 2007 at 10:11 am

Somalia a libertopia?

I call "strawman".

muirgeo August 8, 2007 at 10:57 am

… the health of individuals is much more dependent on choices they make rather than on the effectiveness of the healthcare system. The U.S. healthcare system cannot force citizens to exercise or prevent them from consuming junk.

Posted by: John Dewey

The health of a society is also dependent on the choices the society makes. In Italy signs, commercialism fast food and obese people are not to be found. Bring an Italian family over here and in a generation you have fat kids. No one is as "individualistic" as they think they are. We are all interdependent…Ayn Rand would have never published a single word left to her own.

Rich Berger August 8, 2007 at 11:23 am

The most annoying thing is that these people think they can win an intellectual battle without firing a shot just by adopting a self-righteous name.

Individual liberty doesn't mean going it alone, it just means that you are not forced to participate in collective schemes against your will. Most human activity is the product of voluntary, not coerced cooperation. We humans are pretty gregarious when we are free.

Aschkan August 8, 2007 at 11:25 am

Funny to single out Italy. When I lived in Rome, a friend visited me while backpacking through Europe, and the only map he had was a map given away at the McDonald's that we jokingly referred to as the "Krusty Burger Map". They're conveniently located all across the city, and filled with Italians no less. Maybe in the countryside your comment is true, but then again the countryside is comparatively much poorer and lacking in opportunity, especially for the youth.

Greg August 8, 2007 at 12:20 pm

I've been to Italy and there are plenty of fatties. And as Aschkan notes plenty of McDonalds.

mickey August 8, 2007 at 12:20 pm

lol, "You haughty, misguided child-peasant you!" great work

Objectivist August 8, 2007 at 12:49 pm

Screw the "Progressives". The Democrats are all bloody Communists who want to turn the US into another Soviet Union. Damn them all to hell!

Jon August 8, 2007 at 12:50 pm

@ Mathieu Bédard -
Most Libertarians and classical liberals are the kinds of people that are looks for deregulation all across the board. I'm neither a Progressive or a Conservative, and I think those people that polarize people into those two camps are fools.

@ Gil –
First off, Somalia ain't as bad as you might think. I cite Peter Leeson's Paper from CATO. Here's a link, he has some interesting information on the quality of life in Somalia since the collapse of the Totalitarian Gov't:
http://www.cato-unbound.org/2007/08/06/peter-t-leeson/anarchy-unbound-or-why-self-governance-works-better-than-you-think/

(please note that I'm not making an argument for anarchy, simply want to let you know that not all you hear is bad.)

@ Muirgeo –

Under the Progressives we've put the income tax through the roof, created self-destructive policiies like SocSec and Welfare which create perverse incentives for those who get involved in the system, and have generally made life miserable for entrepreneurs.

You claim societies make choices… this is impossible, individuals choose. Not to say that an individual may not be influenced by social norms, but he is no way railroaded and prevented from the act of choice.

Have you ever even read Atlas Shrugged? Dagney is her own woman, but wait, she never would have build that bridge if it hadn't been for Rearden's Metal. No where does Rand say that we are absolutely autonomous and if you read her interviews she argues against that very interpretation of her works. Stop building up this strawman that you can knock down with a whiffle bat.

Muirgeo August 8, 2007 at 1:13 pm

"Screw the "Progressives". The Democrats are all bloody Communists who want to turn the US into another Soviet Union. Damn them all to hell!"

Said the "Objectivist"….now that's funny! When you can't debate the points label and name call..regardless of the truth or lack there of the names andd labels you choose.

Muirgeo August 8, 2007 at 1:23 pm

"…but he is no way railroaded and prevented from the act of choice."

So for you morning commute I guess you "chose" an internal combustion engine over an electric car and I presumed you "chose" to use gasoline as your fuel of "choice" as opposed to solar charged batteries. I'm also guessing a rugged individualist such as you "chose" to use public roads over private ones or over public transportation or speaking of railroaded…railways.

I'd argue that many people in this country are regularly railroaded by the propaganda in the news and mass media and commecialism of our society. Thinking they are in control of their destiny but really little more then an Orwellian background character or a human battery content to run the Matrix because it gives them the feeling of choice and free will.

python August 8, 2007 at 1:37 pm

"People living under single-payer healthcare distribution systems are healthier than Americans…"

There isn't a single rational argument that I have heard that proves that it is because of the single-payer health care system that people are healthier. We have discussed this ad infinitum at this blog. Using life expectancies to compare different populations is ridiculous. No one here is buying your statement.

People in the US have the freedom to buy healthy and unhealthy food. People in the US have the freedom to exhibit other "healthy" behaviors or not (smoking, tongue-stapling, etc.). Just because other countries' citizens avoid fatty foods does not mean their health care system is better.

The crux of all this is that life expectancy stats are very similar when you weed out the inconsistent data, and yet some wish to change an entire system and grow the size of the government to unprecedented levels just to attain an illusory health advantage that amounts to at most 2 months of extra life.

Progressives are not very progressive when it comes to honestly looking at data. They use the same obfuscation and backward thinking of all types who try to steer the sheep into their pens.

Doesn't it seem ridiculous to rail at the misuse of government power (Iraq, wire-tapping, etc.) then seek out ways to expand government power further? It's almost like they are saying "Your government is corrupt, but our larger and much more regulated version won't be." Who is going to regulate the regulators?

Progressives are anti-choice in education, health, labor, business (trade), and speech. There is nothing progressive about giving our individuals rights to others – that is the status quo in most of recorded history.

Muirgeo August 8, 2007 at 1:44 pm

I've been to Italy and there are plenty of fatties. And as Aschkan notes plenty of McDonalds.

Posted by: Greg

I think this says something about your objectivity. My observations showed it was hard to find obese people in Italy (Roma) and that when I found some one obese they were often Americans. Likewise their was little signage for McDonalds, far fewer of them and a high density of fat Americans NOT Italians sitting in them.

The data supports my observations and not yours.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_obe-health-obesity

python August 8, 2007 at 1:49 pm

The notion that today's progressives are anything like the "progressives" in the middle 20th century is hilarious for 2 reasons. Firstly, a majority of FDR's programs were complete failures, and quickly repudiated by his own party members shortly after he died.

Secondly, the word 'progressives' has changed so much that it has no relation to previous versions. Teddy Roosevelt the great progressive himself lived in an era when government oversight was a fraction of what it is today and the income tax didn't exist. Can we go back to that kind of progressive?

Or we could just ignorantly pick and choose winners from the past, label them with adjectives and associate ourselves to those labels. That way, our political theories will have historical precedence for their success. Never mind the fact that words and labels mean something.

Rich Berger August 8, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Muirgeo-

Your data is a little less convincing than you think – from the notes

"For Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, figures are based on health examinations, rather than self-reported information. Obesity estimates derived from health examinations are generally higher and more reliable than those coming from self-reports, because they preclude any misreporting of people's height and weight. However, health examinations are only conducted regularly in a few countries (OECD)."

In other words, trust us.

And I suppose that we individualists should refrain from driving on the public roads that we are forced to pay for, or the public transit that we are forced to pay for. We aren't getting something for nothing – the government had to extract it from us first.

Aschkan August 8, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Hmm, this is a perplexing comment about choice and mine is a bit of a tangent. If I, and a critical mass of people, wanted to take electric cars, they would probably be available. Markets, for better not worse, oftentimes don't supply things at all that aren't demanded in sufficient number. Some people complain that they can't get whatever they want at the price they want it at, but such is life. Every so often supply and demand curves cross further out than one would like them to. Don't like it, go buy a tesla, they cost twice what a comparable elise costs and have half the range.

Jon August 8, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Muirgeo –

I find your argument about gas vs electric absurd. It implies that people face no restraints on their consumption. That's like asking me why I don't drive a Ferarri right now. Yet another straw man.

You don't get it Muirgeo, You can be your own person. If your theory holds that people "…in this country are regularly railroaded by the propaganda in the news and mass media and commecialism of our society. Thinking they are in control of their destiny but really little more then an Orwellian background character or a human battery content to run the Matrix because it gives them the feeling of choice and free will."

Then why do I not conform to those ideals? Well aside from commercialism…

Also you've got the nerve to talk about Orwell when it's YOUR ilk that wants to control the choices we make.

Control … No that's not a constant theme in 1984.[/sarcasm]

floccina August 8, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Muirgeo I just returned from a vacation in Italy. I saw Mcdonald's there.
Also Italian Americans are less fat than German, Polish and wasp Americans.
Italy Americans on average live as long as Italians in Italy.
I think that people in Japan live longer than people in any other country, but that Japanese Americans live even longer than Japanese in Japan.
Also if you combine the number of still borns with the number of infant mortalities together and take out black Americans, who have a much higher rate of infant mortality and still born, American and european numbers converge. And less one say that the higher rate for blacks is due to poverty or lack of medical care the rate of infant mortality is lower for Hispanics that for white Americans.

See:
The research paper "Eight Americas" for more on this.

mickey August 8, 2007 at 3:25 pm

People should have the right to be fat, and to smoke, and to have consensual unprotected sex.

You might value your health over pleasure, but other people have different priorities. A nation of free adults should be able to look at the choice between health and pleasure as a free human being and make a price based on internal values.

Muirgeo August 8, 2007 at 3:50 pm

Firstly, a majority of FDR's programs were complete failures, and quickly repudiated by his own party members shortly after he died.

Posted by: python

If FDR's policies were a complete failure how did we emerge from the Great Depression (which occurred after 40 years of laissez-faire republican rule), how did we win WW2 and how did we become the strongest economy ever 20 years after his policies were instituted? Hmm?

Jon August 8, 2007 at 4:51 pm

"If FDR's policies were a complete failure how did we emerge from the Great Depression (which occurred after 40 years of laissez-faire republican rule), how did we win WW2 and how did we become the strongest economy ever 20 years after his policies were instituted? Hmm?" – Muirgeo

We emerged from the Great Depression DESPITE FDR's Policies. Oh and by the way Hoover was NOT a Laissez-Faire President and the one's before him were not either. There is, in fact, reason to believe that Smoot-Hawley (passed during the Hoover Administration) made the Recession cum Depression much worse. It was a protectionist tariff designed to protect American businesses from competition.

I suggest you stop holding up a fascist like FDR as a saint.

Floccina August 8, 2007 at 5:29 pm

Muirgeo check out the depressions under Martin Van Buren and Warren G. Harding. Niether lasted as long and did as much damage as Hoover and FDR's depression.

python August 8, 2007 at 5:34 pm

Muirgeo,

I will answer you because you singled me out.

I hope you are kidding with your talk of FDR.

If you are not kidding you obviously have no clue about how the depression got started or continued. To summarize, what became the depression started like many other recessions that occur on a regular basis. The difference with that one was that a few very bad economic decisions by government leaders – not by the free market – that lead to a severe credit and monetary crunch. What was passed off as regulatory oversite (your favorite topic) actually lengthened the depression by years. This is commonly known.

Although many like to say the depression began with the stock market crash, it is very much untrue. A Time article that was published in early 1931 asked people what their concerns were for the upcoming year. Something less than 20% feared economic trouble. The depression that we remember from cartoons, movies, and stories mostly took place between 1932 until 1940.

The "great Crash" of 1929 simply sent stocks back to where they were in 1928. The subsequent continued decline of the stock market due to bad economic policies drove the market further down. The cause and effect of the depression has been colored many ways by anti-market folks who consistently get it wrong.

Note that by 1936, the Dow Jones rebounded up to 184 (it's 1927 level), but stayed under 200 until 1950. And actually dipped all the way back down 92 (half of where it was in 1936) in 1942 – the 6 years from 1936 to 1942 are in the middle of FDR's wonderful time. Imagine what would be said about Bush if the Dow Jones went from 14000 to 7000 during his time in office.

FDR was in charge for 7 of the main 8 depression years. Unemployment in 1928 was 4%. In the first 7 years of FDR's administration it was never below 15%.

Again, it is clear that you need to read a little history before you start typing away on your computer.

Methinks August 8, 2007 at 5:38 pm

If FDR's policies were a complete failure how did we emerge from the Great Depression (which occurred after 40 years of laissez-faire republican rule), how did we win WW2 and how did we become the strongest economy ever 20 years after his policies were instituted? Hmm?

I clue to the clueless: we didn't emerge from the depression until after the war. Rebuilding a whole world tends to do that. Read up on it (not that I expect that will help you)

You've been pushing your "people are healthier in countries with socialized medicine" crap on every relevant and irrelevant thread on this blog. Do you not tire of people pointing out your mistakes over and over again? No, of course you don't.

Useful idiot. The Soviets would have loved you.

Sam Grove August 8, 2007 at 6:22 pm

The Great Depression occurred 16 years after the government created the Federal Reserve Board to prevent…the depression.

Where was this laissez faire economy of which you misleadingly and ignorantly speak?

SaulOhio August 8, 2007 at 8:09 pm

I'm surprised nobody has yet mentioned that VAST amount of material available as evidence of the very bad quality of socialized medicine in Europe and Canada. Waiting lists many months long, stories that make Walter Reed look like a top-notch hospital. Do a little research, don't just watch Michael Moore's propaganda flick. Just do a news search for "NHS" (The name of Britain's health care bureucracy) and "waiting".

As for FDR getting us out of the Depression, WHICH Depression? Definitely not the Great Depression, which lasted his entire presidency, and got WORSE throughout, till after the war. It was AFTER a lot of those policies were dropped that we finally managed to pull out of it.

john pertz August 8, 2007 at 9:38 pm

Why does the left continually brand all libertarians as anti-social individualists? I notice this rhetorical technique all over the internet when progressives find themselves in debate with a libertarian. Its as if they truly believe that all communitarian behavior can only be initiated at the point of a gun when there is much evidence to the contrary. Civil society provides a wonderful framework whereby people can work peacefully in concert with one another on a VOLITIONAL basis. I wholeheartedly support communitarian efforts so long as everyone working in the group wants to be there in the first place. Its a rather terrible idea to argue that the reason why we live in a peaceful humane world is because we live in a strong pluralist democracy. I mean lets face it, democracies do horrific unethical things to people every single day. Just imagine all of the poor inner city youths in this country who are forced at the point of a gun to attend school in some of the most vile, inhumane environments imaginable.

Gil August 8, 2007 at 10:21 pm

To Jon, I made no mention of Somalia, Sam Grove did.

The 'evil' of the Welfare State post Great Depression? I wouldn't mind knowing why up to 1930 depressions were common occurrences, almost guaranteed every 30 years when everyone was on some sort of gold standard? Suddenly since WW2 there have only been recessions? Why didn't the 1987 crash, which was worse then the 1929 one, not spark off another depression? Life for the average schmoe has been a lot better after WW2 than in 'simple, gentler, laissez-faire' 1800s.

John Dewey August 8, 2007 at 11:09 pm

"Why didn't the 1987 crash, which was worse then the 1929 one, not spark off another depression? "

Gil, did you miss Python's post above? He pointed out that the 1929 stock market crash did not cause the depression of the 30's.

These are three reasons economists I've read have given for the 30's depression:

1. The gold standard made it difficult for the federal government to manage the money supply, and also caused the entire world to be impacted by the U.S. recession;

2. a large increase in farm debt in the 20's followed by severe drought in 1930 caused small nondiversified rural banks to fail;

3. the fear of a return to hyperinflation in Germany prevented that nation's cebtral bank from increasing the money supply;

4. the Smoot-Hawley tariff which has been described by the Council of Economic Advisors as "one of the most damaging pieces of legislation ever signed in the United STates.";

5. the Federal Reserve Board increased interest rates in 1931, which today seems an unwise action to take during a contraction.

None of those things occurred around the 1987 stock market contraction.

muirgeo August 8, 2007 at 11:27 pm

"Its a rather terrible idea to argue that the reason why we live in a peaceful humane world is because we live in a strong pluralist democracy."

john pertz

John,

Did you ever watch Gangs of New York, Madd Max or Oliver? These are the best representations of you're libertarian society because no such Libertarian society has ever existed in reality or does currently exist on which to base an assumption that it would be better then our current state. Far and away the success of the middle class is owed to democratic pluralistic governance and NOT to free markets.

Plain and simple history shows over and over when policies shift in the direction of liberal economics wealth is transfered to an elite few who then control society via autocratic means. The last libertarian society was lived in a cave and you want to tell me your side isn't the regressive one??

Russell Nelson August 9, 2007 at 2:16 am

muirgeo: um, Charles Dickens didn't *document* anything. He wrote fiction. The Gangs of New York, Mad Max, and Oliver are also fiction. Since you keep citing these fictional works, I have to assume that you have no idea how the real world works, preferring instead the pleasant fiction that "progressives" aren't regressives.

Russell Nelson August 9, 2007 at 2:21 am

muirgeo: you keep claiming that no libertarian societies has ever existed. And yet a more truthful and honest perspective is that libertarian ideas and socialist ideas are living together in the same society. Interestingly, the libertarian parts seem to do "better" (which is obviously the point in debate, but by "better" I mean more contentment can be observed) than the progressive, socialist, leftist parts. For example, compare the market for food with the market for education. Or the market for exercise with the market for health care.

Russell Nelson August 9, 2007 at 2:25 am

TLH: Somalia, while doing better than you think it is, is not a libertarian utopia. Libertarians want more than the absence of coercion — they want the presence of voluntary cooperation and lots of it. The clan structure of Somalia's society prevents a bunch of voluntary cooperation.

Gil August 9, 2007 at 3:07 am

Libers want freedom from coercion? In other words, they want a world free of crims? Well it would be rather nice and we can only hope can't we? I'm not going to hold my breath.

Lee Kelly August 9, 2007 at 4:55 am

"I'd argue that many people in this country are regularly railroaded by the propaganda in the news and mass media and commecialism of our society. Thinking they are in control of their destiny but really little more then an Orwellian background character or a human battery content to run the Matrix because it gives them the feeling of choice and free will."

Be careful muirgo, or you'll betray that contempt for the common man that we all know is lurking behind that caring facade.

SaulOhio August 9, 2007 at 6:35 am

Why let muigreo get away with such absurd strawman arguments as comparing Somalia to the libertarian ideal? Somalia is anarchy. Libertarians (mostly) want a government that protects people from criminals and foreign aggressors. We need courts and the rule of law, a government that recognizes and protects property rights.

Sure, no country has achieved this as a perfect ideal, but some approach it more than others, and we can see the consequences. The more free countries prosper, while the less free ones are miserable.

As for the few elite amassing all the power to themselves, thats what happens when you have government control. When you demand government regulation of the economy, you are playing into the hands of the most corrupt businessmen out there. They WANT regulations that they can either ignore while their more honest competitors are hampered by them, or that they can use against their competitors. Study up on the antitrust laws. They do more to PROMOTE monopoly than the other way around.

muirgeo August 9, 2007 at 8:32 am

And yet a more truthful and honest perspective is that libertarian ideas and socialist ideas are living together in the same society. Interestingly, the libertarian parts seem to do "better" (which is obviously the point in debate, but by "better" I mean more contentment can be observed) than the progressive, socialist, leftist parts. For example, compare the market for food with the market for education. Or the market for exercise with the market for health care.

Posted by: Russell Nelson

Excellent post Russell! The first sentence is ALL I'm trying to get people here to admit and recognize. The second sentence is the debatable part. I'd argue that as we deregulate too much and lean too much towards laissez faire then inequities arise and the system becomes less stable and democracy suffers. Likewise when taxes and regulation overwhelm society the economy can get bogged down and policies can do more harm then good. My evidence for this is as follows,

-greater equity and quality of life in more regulated Scandinavian countries.
- better economies and incomes in the more regulated blue states
- better quality of life after the new deal
- faltering economy after periods of deregulation such as the current period post Reagan and the period prior to the Great Depression.
- The same historical pattern of deregulation leading to Dickensonian like societies built on inequities.

Here is a relative quote from David Kortens , When Corportions Rule the World,

"Contrary to the boastful claims of corporate libertarians, the West did not prosper in the post – WWII period by rejecting the state in favor of the market. Rather, it prospered by rejecting extremist ideologies of both the Right and the Left in favor of democratic pluralism: a system of governance based on a pragmatic, institutional balance among the forces of government, market and society."

cpurick August 9, 2007 at 8:37 am

It's funny to see muirgeo use the "Great Depression was solved by FDR" argument on an economics site.

muirgeo, your entire philosophy is based on dishonesty.

The entire progressive philosophy is based on dishonesty. They lie about how bad things are so people will accept "progressive" programs. They lie about what really causes the problems, usually blaming them on "the rich." Then they point to programs like Canadian Medicare and lie about how good they are while those programs are gutting entire economies. They lie to us by telling us "the rich" will pay for it all even though middle class wages and employment will suffer the most. And they do all this so they can steal from us.

Perhaps the scariest part is that these people can actually live with themselves after committing such frauds.

cpurick August 9, 2007 at 8:38 am

oops, forgot to turn off italics.

cpurick August 9, 2007 at 8:39 am

WTF? I turned them off!

Russ Nelson August 9, 2007 at 8:47 am

muirgeo: SHAME, SHAME on you for hijacking my post with a false agreement! I completely refuted you, and yet you think you can distract people from that by agreeing with me as if my refutation was what you were trying to say.

Your behavior here is an exemplar of Regressive behavior. I'm sure that you are proud of yourself, when any honest person should be ashamed.

Unit August 9, 2007 at 9:26 am

Muirgeo,

Sweden has partially privatized Social Security, also Scandinavian countries have much lower corporate taxes. I'm willing to bet that the Blue States have more income inequality than the Red States (anyone has that statistic?). What other country absorb the same amount of immigrants as the US? Has any government ever being able to obtain "equality"? …well maybe North Korea, you're right.

Jon August 9, 2007 at 9:39 am

Muirgeo –
"My evidence for this is as follows,

-greater equity and quality of life in more regulated Scandinavian countries.
- better economies and incomes in the more regulated blue states
- better quality of life after the new deal
- faltering economy after periods of deregulation such as the current period post Reagan and the period prior to the Great Depression.
- The same historical pattern of deregulation leading to Dickensonian like societies built on inequities."
———————————–
1.)No, actually in Scandinavian countries there tend to be higher suicide rates. People, though poled as saying they are "more content" rarely admit to being happy.

2.) Oh boy, here we go. Where are the majority of the "blue" states? Northeastern US and The West Coast. Now during the rise of the US the Northeast was an area for transcontinental shipping, banking, and *gasp* the slave trade. Given that advanced base, coupled with the increased industry in the Northern US (largely due to steel production in Pennsylvania) YOU get a VERY strong economy based on heavy industry and trade. As to California, you've got the Gold Rush and nice weather which draws people, you couple that with hollywood and Silicon Valley and you have set the stage for a very strong local economy that has the potential to reach out into the global market. Please note: NOT ONE OF THOSE THINGS HAS TO DO WITH HOW "PROGRESSIVE" THE PEOPLE IN THAT AREA ARE! The current income difference is due largely to Standard of Living differences. If the economies are so good in the blue states … why are American Automakers dying in Detroit, while the Japanese and Euro Automakers are continually increasing market share … and their production facilities are located in the south?

3.) New Deal has nothing to do with Quality of life. Quality of life has been increasing since the Dark Ages … care to try again???

4.) Economic faltering? Most Economists aren't panicking over the hiccup in the Mortgage markets. The Dow is over 13500, Foreign Direct Investment is up, GDP keeps climbing, yup … we're dying from deregulation. This "point" is complete lunacy.

5.) Show me a graph of evidence paralleling deregulation with economic slumps. Also keep in mind the "lag" associated with political decision making and its effect on the economy. Economies are like freight trains. They take a little while toget momentum across all sectors. However, unlike freight trains, poor gov't policy or excessive regulation can stop it in its tracks.

You continue to throw these DailyKos soundbytes out here because you think they sound nice, but if you actually look at the data, the MicroEcon implications of the policies you're supporting, the perverse incentive structures you create with those policies (See Tullock's, Coyne's, and Leeson's work on bureaucracies), then your "points" just collapse.

jdavidb August 9, 2007 at 9:52 am

I blogged about something similar yesterday, as leftists attempt to reclaim the word progressive, and as we need to remember what progress really is. :) Progress is NOT getting the right leadership in place.

SaulOhio August 9, 2007 at 9:58 am

Russel Nelson wrote:"And yet a more truthful and honest perspective is that libertarian ideas and socialist ideas are living together in the same society."

Muirgeo wrote:"Excellent post Russell! The first sentence is ALL I'm trying to get people here to admit and recognize."

Why try to get us to recognize something so trivial and which nobody here has ever denied? We know it. We see it all the time. Whats your point?

However, we can see the effects of all these statist policies, and see how what there is of a free market struggles under them, and still manages to provide us with a pretty good standard of living. Every single one of these socialist policies has been demonstrated to create more of the problems they are supposed to solve.

THAT is the point of the original post in this discussion. THAT is what you should be arguing about. But you keep trying to distract us.

And Reagan's deregulation policies led to a healthier economy. He ended the gas shortages of the 70's by simply removing price controls.

What is called the business cycle comes from the government's "easy money" policies combined with subsequent efforts to control inflation.

I'd like to hear the opinions of people on this forum: As bad as inflation is for the economy, it seems to me that efforts to stop inflation tend to be more disasterous. (Of course the correct alternative is a full gold standard, with no government inflationary measures). As long as we are off the gold standard and we have central banks, would a policy of low and steady inflation be better, compared to trying to stop inflation?

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