The Science of Public Choice Reveals that Government is Motivated by Politics and Not by Science

by Don Boudreaux on December 3, 2011

in Business as usual, Crony Capitalism, Energy, Environment, Not from the Onion, Politics, Subsidies, Trade

Here’s a letter to Reuters:

You report that “The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 that there was a reasonable indication that SolarWorld Industries America and other U.S. producers [of certain 'green energy' products] have been harmed by the imports or could have been” (“US panel okays China solar panel unfair trade probe,” Dec. 2.).  You add that “The vote allows the Commerce Department to continue an investigation into whether the Chinese government provides illegal subsidies for its solar energy sector and whether Chinese companies are selling solar cells and panels in the United States at unfairly low prices.”

I don’t get it.  If Beijing volunteers to make green-energy products more widely available and more affordable to Americans by subsidizing our consumption of such products, why should we complain?  If we cheer (or at least tolerate) Uncle Sam’s many efforts at distorting markets in order to increase the supply of – and the use of – green-energy products, why do we jeer at Beijing for doing the very same thing?  Shouldn’t we cheer Beijing’s policies even more loudly than we do those of Uncle Sam, given that the costs of Beijing’s distortions are borne overwhelmingly by the Chinese?  Shouldn’t we send bouquets of (green) roses to China for relieving us of much of the cost of refitting our homes and businesses with solar panels?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

(HT Andy Roth)

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Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 3, 2011 at 7:02 am

Don

Doesn’t understand the very simple fact that, if China puts our solar energy sector companies out of business that we loose all the exports these companies could make to the rest of the World.

And, he never learned or understood that location theory teaches us that all economic activity will move toward the Chinese magnet.

Beyond that, Don’s attitude about people having meaningful work appears to be, “let them eat cake.”

The less we make (and export) the more over time an economy becomes a “service economy,” creating less and less value, especially value that can be “exported.”

Look at Great Britain. It’s economy is almost entirely service and it has no way to generate growth

Sam Grove December 3, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Many services are exportable.
In fact, all jobs are service jobs.
Think hard before responding.

Invisible Backhand December 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm

subsistence farmer?

Invisible Backhand December 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm

subsistence troll?

HHarold Cockerill December 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hahahahaha

kyle8 December 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm

And just as soon as they think they have that market all sewn up and raise prices or stop subsidizing their production, that will be when a dozen other competitors pop up, either here or abroad.

They are engaged in a long term losing strategy, and you think they are invincible.

Ubiquitous December 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Don doesn’t understand the very simple fact that, if China puts our solar energy sector companies out of business that we loose all the exports these companies could make to the rest of the World.

Luzha the Mental Muddle Puddle doesn’t understand the very simple fact that, if the sun puts our Daytime Shutter & Space-Heater sector companies out of business that we lose all the exports these companies could make to the rest of the World.

Oh, you mean those resources would simply get redirected elsewhere in the market — just as the resources of our solar energy sector companies would if put out of business by China? Oh, OK. Never mind. Luzha gets it.

Dr. Octopus December 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

What I’m not understanding here is the distinction between subsidy and the U.S. government distributing a multitude of low interest loans to U.S. solar companies with dubious business models, allowing them to sell product under cost until bust.

Perhaps the real problem is that the Chinese government isn’t donating to the appropriate U.S. political entities.

PrometheeFeu December 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm

BINGO!!!!!

What this comes down to is this: The Chinese government is stealing from the Chinese people to give stuff to ourselves and its cronies. The US government is unhappy because it would rather steal from us to give stuff to the Chinese people and its own cronies.

PrometheeFeu December 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Let’s imagine for an instant that China becomes the sole producer of everything in the world. No other country is producing anything else. So here you are in the US and you are not producing anything. There are now two possible situations:
1) You are perfectly happy with the state of things because either you didn’t want solar panels, food, electricity, water, shelter etc… Or China is giving it to you for free. Obviously, since you are happy, there is no problem.
2) You are not happy at all about the situation because you want more food, water, solar panels than China is giving you for free etc… Well, you now have plenty of free time on your hands. So you start making foods, water, solar panels, etc… Or perhaps you band with other people agreeing to make food and give it to them in exchange for solar panels. At that point you are producing and happy again.

Ultimately your complaint makes no sense.

Nuke Nemesis December 5, 2011 at 10:56 am

Why anybody would want to be in a manufacturing sector that bleeds money left and right is beyond me.

China is subsidizing their solar industry and making Solyndra-style loans. They aren’t making money on this, if you remove the price supports.

Gary Mullennix December 6, 2011 at 8:22 am

And you would thwart the Chinese how? Barriers to their products so we will produce a similar product at a higher cost? And sell them to whom? The Chinese would still outcompete us for the trade you fear is being taken over by them. Compete or die.

Colin December 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Great Britain is a tiny island, what are they supposed to manufacture? China is a massive export driven country. If we wanted to be making green technology we would be doing it, the oil/auto industries are keeping this from happening. So China is capitalizing on us not looking toward the future.

Don’t blame China for being smart, blame big business for being greedy and caring about money over innovation.

Greg G December 3, 2011 at 7:44 am

I assume that the phrase “science of public choice” is used in a tongue-in-cheek way here since public choice theory is a “science” in exactly the sense that “political science” is a science. I do see enough unintended irony here on a regular basis to be less than 100% sure that was the intent.

SmoledMan December 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Just another Orwellian name for a Communist think tank.

El Diablo December 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

“I do see enough unintended irony here on a regular basis to be less than 100% sure that was the intent.”

LOL! I know. I see silly statements by Useful Idiots who proclaim that freedom and democracy requires an elite in government ruling every aspect of our lives.

Daniel Kuehn December 3, 2011 at 8:03 am

Solar power subsidies seem more appropriate to think of as correcting existing distortions than causing distortions.

Now the currency manipulation and protectionism that you support…

W.E. Heasley December 3, 2011 at 9:40 am

“Solar power subsidies seem more appropriate to think of as correcting existing distortions than causing distortions”.

You statement makes assumptions regarding Pigouvian tax–Meade positions vs. Coase, the Coase Theorem and throw in some Harold Demsetz as well.

Regardless, the “externality” aka neighbourhood effect is being used predominantly for profit by crony capitalists [explained quite nicely through public choice theory] rather than some externality reduction. Stated alternatively, the externality becomes a crony capitalist profit seeking venture not some altruistic ideal aka “…correcting existing distortions”.

Further, the total externality may actually be increasing and or other externalities are introduced.

Lastly, positive externalities need considered as they are absent from your assumption.

Daniel Kuehn December 3, 2011 at 10:13 am

Well obviously there’s more to it than correcting an externality from the perspective the Chinese corporation – and from the perspective of any American corporations receiving a subsidy. I have little interest in idealism.

I don’t like this habit of juxtaposing Pigou and Coase, and I don’t do that.

The point is simply that if we’re identifying the distortion Don seems to be missing a crucial one for this conversation.

anthonyl December 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

Dude- there is no such thing as a distortion in the market except where government creates one.
It sounds like there is one created by Chinese government subsidies of the solar panel market.  Don is saying we should see this as a gift as it provides the American consumer with cheaper solar panels.  Where does it say that it’s best for Americans that they obtain solar panels from American companies?  This type of distortion has been created by the US in many areas of production.  Why is it bad when someone else does it?  If the US is worried about American solar panel producers, they are perfectly able to subsidize them as well.  

Harold Cockerill December 3, 2011 at 11:09 am

At least subsidize them till they declare bankruptcy and run off leaving the American taxpayer holding a steaming bag of shit.

Daniel Kuehn December 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Governments don’t have to create it – social context and social institutions aside from the government can create them too – most importantly property rights.

Costs can be imposed by transactors without being taken into account by those transactors depending on the property rights institutions in play. That can distort what market outcome is produced. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with government (although obviously government can create distortions too).

re: “Where does it say that it’s best for Americans that they obtain solar panels from American companies?”

Nowhere at all. Well, maybe in a politician’s stump speech I guess.

Mesa Econoguy December 3, 2011 at 11:51 am

LOL

You must work for Joe Biden…

http://reason.com/blog/2011/11/09/they-about-had-an-orgasm-in-bidens-offic

Christ Danny, this is exceptionally stupid, even for you.

Methinks1776 December 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm

My dear, when you have a Clear Vision and Superior Understanding, it is not difficult to believe that you can find The Answer without even realizing that’s what you’re doing.

Greg Webb December 4, 2011 at 12:33 am

Disingenuous Kuehn is pretending at knowledge again.

Sam Grove December 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Is there any economic reason to suppose that solar panels for U.S. consumption MUST be made in the U.S.?

Daniel Kuehn December 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Not that I’m aware of. Why do you ask? I want to buy them from whoever makes them the best and cheapest. I think you’re missing my point. I’m not agreeing with the FTC’s ruling. I’m disagreeing with what Don is calling a distortion.

Ubiquitous December 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm

That customers do not want anything as expensive and inefficient as solar power is not a “distortion” of the market. They don’t want it.

It’s not a difficult concept to grasp, Kuehn. What do you not understand?

Daniel Kuehn December 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

What makes you think I don’t understand that? When have I ever given you any reason to believe that I don’t understand that customers don’t want higher priced energy? Did you even read what I wrote?

Henri Hein December 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

By distortions, do you refer to subsidies to traditional energy? If that is the case, is not the correct response to eliminate those subsidies, rather than create new ones?

Jon Murphy December 3, 2011 at 8:18 am

Why is it that the government touts the benefits of green energy, but when a foreign entity makes it cheaper for Americans, it’s a bad thing? Am I the only one getting mixed messages here?

vidyohs December 3, 2011 at 11:31 am

You are one more fine example of the kind of person the looney left hates with a passion. :-)

You’re just supposed to listen or read, you aren’t supposed to think about what you’ve heard or read.

The only thing that can make you more of an anathema to the looney left is for them to know you are totally financially independent and self sufficient.

Invisible Backhand December 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Why is it when a foreign government tries to keep us dependent on oil while getting off it themselves that’s a good thing?

Invisible Backhand December 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Why is it when a foreign government tries to provide oil to us at cheap prices while making their own citizens use an expensive, subsidized alternative that’s a good thing for us?

Oh, because we get to buy a necessary good at a low price. I guess I answered my own question. Never mind.

(Hey, everybody! What do you think of my new Gravatar? Pretty cool, eh?)

W.E. Heasley December 3, 2011 at 8:42 am

“The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 that there was a reasonable indication that SolarWorld Industries America and other U.S. producers [of certain 'green energy' products] have been harmed by the imports or could have been”. – Doug Palmer, Reuters

I don’t get it. If Beijing volunteers to make green-energy products more widely available and more affordable to Americans by subsidizing our consumption of such products, why should we complain? If we cheer (or at least tolerate) Uncle Sam’s many efforts at distorting markets in order to increase the supply of – and the use of – green-energy products, why do we jeer at Beijing for doing the very same thing? – Don Boudreaux

Say we have alternative energy company Wanna-Tax-Dollar, LLC located in the U.S. The prime directive of the quasi-business model of Wanna-Tax-Dollar, LLC is to acquire tax dollars via politicos through the mechanism of government. Meanwhile, Hat-in-Hand I.A.M. Politico needs to dole out the high diffused taxpayers’ money to the aforementioned rent seeker in order to fund political constituency building exercises.

Wanna-Tax-Dollar, LLC, original investors thereof, through connections at the EPA and DOE, must secure taxpayer funds in order to complete the quasi-business plan of going IPO and having their original investments [prior to acquired subsidies] increase many fold during the IPO process. Conversely, the politico needs the campaign contributions and political support of the investors and consequential IPO shareholders of Wanna-Tax-Dollar, LLC.

All is bright, wonderful, and copasetic in the land of special interests and crony capitalism until an exogenous crony capitalist appears! The ultimate crony capitalist from crony capitalist land wants to unload their particular super-taxpayer-funded items! Foul! Foul!

Hence the domestic crony capitalist and their associated politico flex their political arm aka The U.S. International Trade Commission to protect domestic crony capitalism from external crony capitalism.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has a rather neat trick to display for the enjoyment of James and Jane Goodfellow. Yes, the ultimate argument/trick that the pot is indeed calling the kettle black and in this one rare case, in all of recorded history of pots and kettles, the acquisition is true!

anthonyl December 3, 2011 at 11:00 am

Like this cute story W. “Exogenous crony-capitalist” He-ha!!! The only believable use of the term “exogenous” I’ve heard.

Josh S December 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

Don, it’s a good question, but one that has a very simple answer. A policy is evil when China does it, and good when the USA does it, because saying so helps politicians get elected. That’s why weak currency policy is noble when the Federal Reserve does it, and evil when the Bank of China does it.

miltonf December 3, 2011 at 9:30 am

Don, You have this totally right. If all of our alternative energy companies were to fold due to other countries subsidizing our consumption of “green” energy products we would put the people and capital that would have been focused on alternative energy to better use( fuel cells, cure for cancer, etc.). I’m also reminded that history does repeat itself. A little research indicates similar concern during the 70′s about Japan “subsidizing” autos in the US market. If Japan had provided a free auto to every licensed driver in the US it would have been a huge transfer of wealth from the taxpayers of Japan to the auto drivers in th US. I’m afraid the only problem with “unfair” foreign subsidies is a political one- that we are letting other countries steal our jobs- without recognition that we would all be better off with the transfer of wealth and could be even more productive with the freed up resources.

rbd December 3, 2011 at 9:31 am

Excellent letter. If China wants to “give” us solar panels, why in hell would we want to spend (waste) our money (tax dollars) making them!

vidyohs December 3, 2011 at 11:38 am

This is a lot like Jon Murphy’s question above.

It is a strange world in which the government lives. They tell us that when the American consumer is being given things, either free or the opportunity to buy dirt cheap, by foreigners…….it is a bad bad thing.

Then we are told by the same government that it is good good good thing when the government gives things to citizens who won’t work to provide for themselves.

But, we aren’t supposed to notice that hypocrisy, much less comment on it.

Jon Murphy December 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm

You’d think this would be something the government would be behind 100%. They get to look like the world leaders in green energy AND IT DOESN’T COST THEM A PENNY! Better yet, those damn Red Chinese bear the brunt of the burden.

Jon Murphy December 3, 2011 at 7:35 pm

By the way, I love the Chinese people and culture and country (it’s one beautiful place). I’m being overtly American here to make a point.

nailheadtom December 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

Demagogues are unable to continue to portray the new-look Russians as the existential threat that requires their leadership so they’re using the Chinese instead. Rather than menacing the US with waves of nuclear missiles and turbo-prop Bear bombers, the Chi-coms are co-opting us with container ships full of inexpensive items like HD TVs and bicycles that unemployed Americans will gaze at as they attempt to stave off the epidemic of obesity. The suffering can only get worse.

muirge0 December 3, 2011 at 10:49 am

“I don’t get it. ” Don B

Me neither. You continue to cheer for more of the same policies associated with the worst economy in 80 years. You continue to act serious by telling us how silly we are not to understand how great this all is for us. It might be a little more persuasive if the economy for the average person looked a little more like it did in the 50′s and 60′s but it doesn’t… and you continue to cheer.It’s funny because I always get scolded on the correlation doesn’t mean causation principle yet anti-correlation is regularly accepted as also not being of significance. Indeed, I don’t get it.

Harold Cockerill December 3, 2011 at 11:14 am

I guess I missed the post where Don was cheering for government intervention, corporate socialism and printing money to give to bankers. I mean that is what you were speaking of when you mentioned the policies that put us here, right?

Sam Grove December 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm

George has already explained several times that he is not here to understand or advance arguments, but rather he comes here to figure out how to debase free market advocates.

He’s not even good at that.

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I don’t debase free market advocates… reality does that. You should come up from your mom’s basement and check it out sometime Sam.

Greg Webb December 4, 2011 at 12:37 am

George, Sam knows what he is talking about. You, on the other hand, live in the statist fairly tale world.

muirgeo December 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

No Greg we ALL live in a semi-statist real world… or a social democracy as most call it. That’s the real world and you are a part of it. The most successful and productive societies in all of civilization have been socila democracies. You however, do believe in a fairytale land called Libertopia or maybe its Republidopia in your case neither of which exist anywhere in the real world…they never have and they never will…. but you still believe. It ‘s like a grown up who believes in Santa Claus… oh wait…you do know about him right?

Jon Murphy December 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm

So, if we all live in a semi-statist world, then all the economic problems we face are resulted not from free markets and liberalism, as you claim, but from statism.

Jon Murphy December 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm

After all, you cannot blame problems on something that doesn’t exist, can you?

Greg Webb December 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Jon, excellent logical arguments that devastate George’s silly pro-state arguments. I, and many others appreciate your efforts though it will be lost on George because illogic, non sequiturs, straw man arguments, silly name calling, and prevarications are all he can use to promote his big-government agenda.

Jon Murphy December 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Thanks Greg. I’m doing my best to igonore the trolls, but every once in a while, they just throw a soft, underhand pitch like that and I just can’t resist knocking it out of the park.

Jon Murphy December 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm

* ignore

Greg Webb December 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm

It happens to the best of us. Not sure why the leftist trolls want to invest Cafe Hayek. They convince no one of anything, except that leftists are stupid.

muirge0 December 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm

“So, if we all live in a semi-statist world, then all the economic problems we face are resulted not from free markets and liberalism, as you claim, but from statism.”

Yes, we have to claim all of the problems along with all the iPods and BMW’s and Cardiac transplants… The point is we can do better and we even know how to do better. It’s all a matter of getting good policy and the age old fight between the ruling elite and the rest has not yet been settled. Power and control needs to be wrested away from the ruling class and given back to the people. It will happens with time but the road may be difficult with so many on our side ignorant of reality and voting against their own interest and saying and believing stupid things like you and Greg believe…. you’re just a couple of serf-wanna-be’s in my opinion. And you deserve to be serfs but the rest of us are not willing to be dragged down by your stupidity and we have to much pride to become dupes and court jesters to the ruling class.

Jon Murphy December 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm

So, if we live in a semi-statist world, and power is concentrated in the hands of a ruling elite, then statism creates a ruling elite.

Dude, you gotta stop throwing these things underhanded. At least give me a curveball or something.

anthonyl December 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

You are questioning the insignificance of anti-correlation?
You don’t think that the Chinese governments support of its S.P. business is providing consumers with cheaper panels?
American producers are harmed by the unfair competition. So be it, they have the freedom to do something else.
I personally don’t want to live in an economy like the 50s 60s because I would be living in a less comfortable home, work in an uncomfortable factory and wouldn’t have an iPad to watch movies streamed from Netflix. My car would not be nearly as nice as the one I currently own and the variety of food I can enjoy today wouldn’t exist in my city.

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm

“I personally don’t want to live in an economy like the 50s 60s because I would be living in a less comfortable home,…”

Come on that’s so stupid. America was the most successful economy in the world by a long shot in the 50′s and 60′s and we have decidely been losing that . The comparisons are time relative.

Hal December 3, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Americans have dramatically improved living standards since the 50′s and 60′s, but because other countries have supposedly improved their living standards faster, this is cause for concern? Shouldn’t we be happy that other parts of the world that were so destitute before have risen out of poverty?

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Hal,

People like you just accept far lower standards then people like me I guess. We could easily have health coverage for all and NOT have 25 million out of work. We could be working fewer hours and have even far more advanced technologies then we do now if we just didn’t set up our economy like a casino and if we didn’t sell our democracy to the highest bidder. Wwe could have far better public infrastructure and better schools but we chosen toincrease the per centage of wealth the top make by the equivalent amounts we’ve lost in total GDP.

I’m not sure peole with no health insurance, those with no homes or those filing for bankruptcy see it your way jsurt because iphones exist theworld is better for them. You need to not confuse techincal progress with social progress. The Great Pyramids were the most advanced technological innovations of their times…built by slaves of course.

Hal December 3, 2011 at 6:01 pm

How much higher are your standards? How much faster should the US have grown according to your standards? What evidence do you have that this should have been so? The US economy grew faster than any other economy in the world in the last 40 years. Over twice as much as the next fastest growing economy (Japan).

And you still haven’t answered the question of why it’s so bad that others have been lifted out of poverty, making them less poor compared to Americans.

How could we “easily” have health coverage? And we are working fewer hours with more advanced technologies than in the 60s. You say “easily” an awful lot in your comment. If it’s so easy, why isn’t it done? Aren’t all the excuses you’re about to bring forth proof that it isn’t easy? You seem to think there are no opportunity costs. Or that your preferences are more important than others. Just because someone purchases something other than you would have, doesn’t make them wrong.

Also, “we” don’t sell democracy to the highest bidder (you should also stop using the word “we”. I don’t think you speak for anyone except for yourself and only makes you sound pompous and arrogant). Politicians do. Politicians from the party you seem to favor and make excuses for, like Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Murtha, Maxine Waters, etc.

Those people without health insurance don’t have health insurance because they don’t want it, not because they can’t afford it. You might not think that their iPhones are more important, but clearly they do. You can get a decent health insurance policy for the same price as an iPhone (about $100/month).

And while it’s unfortunate that people need to file for bankruptcy, how else would you handle it? Communism? That ended as a hell on earth. Socialism? That has bankrupted or is in the process of bankrupting every country that has tried it.

Forgiving loans will lead to a collapse of savings, since banks make loans with savings deposits. Meaning that if you forgive loans, savers simply lose their money. Bad choices and bad luck (but mostly bad choices) lead to bankruptcy. Encouraging people to not be responsible or feel the burden of these bad choices only makes things worse.

And in the US there is no slave labor. People can freely choose to work wherever and whenever (unless you’re under a certain age or are willing to work below a certain wage) they want. Employers cannot force anyone to work for them, just as laborers cannot force anyone to hire them.

Encouraging people to think they are just entitled to stuff without having to work for it or take any responsibility only leads to dirty people living in cramped parks around the country wallowing in their own feces complaining about a system that prevents them from getting dysentery.

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm

“Encouraging people to think they are just entitled to stuff…”

Who thinks they are entitled to stuff? Are you talking about people like Lyyod Blankfien who sends an army of lobbyist to get policy written as needed for Goldmann Sachs or are you talking about the unemployed father of two kids who simply wants a secure and decent job and a home to raise his kids?

The fact is Hal the top 0.1% has seen their incomes go up by approximately 5% of GDP. It was IMO almost all policy related. THOSE are the people who seem to have a ridiculous sense of entitlement and the differences in wages going to these casino operators as opposed to public workers and private workers who actually makes things and provide services is the reason our economy is stalled. It’s also the reason our quality of life has not improved over the last 15 years since we signed these trade agreements and deregulated the financial sector rather then the 40 years you cherry picked.

Why do people like YOU consistently defend corporate socialism and think you are defending something legitimate something honorable? Who’s side are you on Hal? The takers or the givers? The producers or the paper pushers??? Do you know who is who?

Hal December 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm

“Who thinks they are entitled to stuff?”

You, a couple other commenters here, Obama supporters, OWS protesters, most academics, most government employees, democrats…

“It was IMO almost all policy related.”

Except that it wasn’t. Of course, some in the top 0.1% received special privleges from government, most did not.

“It’s also the reason our quality of life has not improved over the last 15 years”

Another collective term “our”? Who do you think you are speaking for?

While it’s true some people’s lives haven’t improved in the last 15 years, most people’s has improved. Mine in particular and everyone I know has a life today that is much better than in 1996.

“Why do people like YOU consistently defend corporate socialism ”

Can you please define “corporate socialism”? If you mean cronyism, can you point to a single sentence where I have ever supported that?

“Who’s side are you on Hal?”

I’m on the side of those who defend liberty and property rights.

“The takers or the givers?”

You are clearly on the side of the takers, given your outrage at peopel not being allowed to keep houses they can’t afford and government provided health insurance.

But are “takers and givers” all there is? I am neither. I trade my labor for the goods and services I want. I work hard enough to get those. How about traders? Traders are people who produce valuable products and services and trade those with other people who produce valuable products and services. Traders are the people who actually improve lives.

“The producers or the paper pushers?”

Most paper pushers are producers. Just because some are not, like most government bureaucrats and regulators, doesn’t mean all or even most are not either.

“Do you know who is who?”

Yes.

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm

“It was IMO almost all policy related.” ME

Except that it wasn’t. Of course, some in the top 0.1% received special privleges from government, most did not.

Hal

Well here is where we should focus are energy because for you to say that is IMO a statement of gross ignorance about just what has happened the last 15- 20 years but particularily the last 3 years.

For starters are you aware of the Fed audit that showed some $7 trillion dollars of undisclosed basically interest free loans over and above the TARP loans that went mostly to a handful of mega banks? $7 trillion Hal! Also, are you aware that the Finance and Banking sectors share of corporate profits has gone from some 12% to 40% of all profits? If you are not informed of these issues or if you don’t understand their significance and you still think the problem is with OWS and middle class people wanting handouts then maybe we should talk about that.

Even if everything were market driven it’s just beyond me why ANYONE thinks its a good idea or an economic matter of effeciency to arrange society to have so much wealth concentrated amongst so few people. Can’t we just agree it not healthy and it’s NOT necassary for economic effeciency and in fact seems to be deliterious to effeciency and democracy?

Hal December 4, 2011 at 12:15 am

I am aware of the Fed audit. These loans don’t prove that 0.1% wealthiest got their wealth because of this. You can go look at the Forbes 400 and see that most people on the list are not in banking, meaning this $7T contributed nothing to their wealth. I’m sure that most of the 310,000 in the 0.1%, like these 400, are not in banking.

Being market driven means people get what they want. Are you only interested in people getting what you think they should have, regardless of their wants and needs?

Free markets have never concentrate wealth into a tiny minority. This only happens with government intervention. Every society that has introduced free markets into their economy has seen income and wealth inequality radically shrink, primarily due to the ordinary person becoming incredibly wealthy.

Also, liberty and property rights are good ideas as an end, not a means. It’s just icing on the cake that this also provides the most efficient means of wealth creation.

brotio December 4, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Why do people like YOU consistently defend corporate socialism – Yasafi Muirduck to Hal

Hal,
Yasafi is a hypocrite. He constantly hurls this unsubstantiated accusation at the individualists at this Cafe, yet Yasafi is on record in support of corporate welfare for ADM, Chrysler, GE, GM, and Solyndra.

Darren December 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm

America was the most successful economy in the world by a long shot in the 50′s and 60′s and we have decidely been losing that .

It seems to me that you are mainly focused on relative standard of living (that’s how I interpret ‘economic success’) rather than absolute standard of living. I would expect the vast majority of reasonable people to be more interested in their own absolute improvement in living conditions rather than merely being better off than the next guy and sustaining a static standard of living.

Mesa Econoguy December 3, 2011 at 11:53 am

“Me neither.”

Duh.

Full stop.

Sam Grove December 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm

The economy is much more complex than you can comprehend, hence to perpetual grasping at superficial causation stories.

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

No the economy is niot that complicated Sam. When you are productive making things you increase your wealth. When you buy things on credit and are not producing things you get poor.It’s pretty simple Sam.

Greg Webb December 4, 2011 at 12:39 am

George, the economy is not pretty simple. That is what you statist idiots refuse to understand and why Hayek called you statists idiots for pretending at knowledge.

muirge0 December 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm

No Greg the economy is pretty simple and so are you.

Methinks1776 December 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm

So simple, a Muirdiot can misunderstand it.

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Government intervention, corporate socialism and printing money to give to bankers are ALL part of our trade policy which favors a small minority who have access to these things. Don cheers regularly for our trade policy and NEVER mentions these things. He seems completely OK with American companies that produce in China and get all sorts of protectionism ( tax, tariff, and monetary) for doing so. There’s not a wit of consistency in his position and the real world results are doing him no favors.

Don’s best contribution to the world when this is all said and done and well documented in history will be as an example of the dangers of ideological rigidity. His positions on trade will be talked about the way biologist now talk of Lamarckism or spontaneous generation.

kyle8 December 3, 2011 at 8:46 pm

god you are stupid and repetitive.

Dennis December 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

@muirgeo
I didn’t know that government intervention, aka the destruction of freedom, was social progress.

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm

“I don’t get it. If Beijing volunteers to make green-energy products more widely available and more affordable to Americans by subsidizing our consumption of such products, why should we complain?”

Good point! And if Washington DC decides to give us solar panels for free why should we complain. They could just give China the equivalent amount of treasuries needed for the solar panels and then give us the panels for free. I think we are onto something.

muirgeo December 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Maybe China could supply us all the economist we need for real cheap and all the think tankologists we need for for cheap and our governmet could just pay them in treasuries. It would free up all of our economist and think tankologist to do other more productive things. Also it would likely cut the cost of tuition and membership fees for Cato and AEI.

SmoledMan December 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm

If Dr. BOUDREAUX provides value to his employer why do you care?

vikingvista December 4, 2011 at 3:41 am

Of course the US government desperately wants to stop the Chinese government. The Chinese government’s screwing of their own population is undermining US government’s efforts to screw the American public. So it appears to be a sovereignty issue.

Harold Cockerill December 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I don’t think the US government really wants the Chinese government to stop screwing the Chinese people. They are yammering about stopping the Chinese government from screwing the American citizen. It’s all yammering though as they really don’t want the Chinese to stop doing what they’re doing. That would cause all kinds of problems for both countries. As it is the Chinese policy is just screwing the Chinese citizens. The US government wants to appear to be doing one thing while in truth it’s doing something else. What it’s really doing is screwing every person on the planet.

Jeremy December 7, 2011 at 12:51 am

Hypocrisy. Next to hydrogen, stupidity, and paperwork, it’s the most plentiful element in the universe.

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