Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trojan Pig

(Robert Arial via Instapundit)


thinking said...

Of course, instapundit was wrong the last 8 years in just about everything.

There's no doubt the ideal would have been not to get to this point in the first place. But like I always say...critics have a responsibility to suggest a reasonable alternative.

The alternative in this case would have been to do nothing and allow for an economic collapse.

The critics said much the same about the New Deal, yet the New Deal laid the foundation for the postwar economic boom.

And quite frankly, we need some govt expansion...we need a new regulatory framework for the financial industry, we need an energy policy, and we need a better healthcare policy.

I laugh when I see people criticize govt as if any govt is bad, and then continue to use govt built roads, schools, govt run police and fire depts, govt museums, etc...

Granted, one can have too much govt, but it's also wrong to believe that the market can solve everything and that govt has no useful role to play. If you don't believe that then extrapolate to zero taxes and zero govt.

I used to laugh when the old joke was that a far left liberal was someone who believed that socialism would work if just done properly, but now I realize that far right conservatives just believe that a totally unregulated market with zero govt would work if just done right. In reality neither extreme works.

Brian Hollar said...

Thinking, a few points.

1) You have really got to stop demonizing people who disagree with Obama and categorically talking about such people as "wrong on everything", "stupid", or worse. Glenn Reynolds has been right much more frequently than he's been wrong. Every political and economic comment you've made on this blog over the last 6 months can be summed up as follows: "Obama = right. Anyone who disagrees = wrong/dumb/ignorant/racist/insert other negative adjective." It's fine to disagree with people on issues, but please be respectful.

2) "Doing nothing" does not equal "economic collapse." What concerns a lot of people is that "doing something" does.

3) A lot of critics still say the same thing about the New Deal. The economy tanked under the New Deal, unemployment skyrocketed far beyond what is was under Hoover, and it wasn't until the manufacturing base of the rest of the world was devastated that the US economy finally started kicking back in gear.

4) No one is saying all government is bad. People are saying bad government is bad. And a government that is too big is bad. And government that serves narrow special interests is bad. People are also saying that although markets are not magic, they are far more "magical" than big government. Markets fail. So do governments. Government failure can be far, far worse -- especially when following after recent market failures.

5) The only way to control the economy is to control people. The only thing more dangerous than politicians who don't understand this point are the ones that do.

6) Reverse your thought experiment and extrapolate to 100% taxes and 100% government. That is not a world I want to live in. That's not a world the Founding Fathers believed in. That's not a world most Americans believe in. That's a world I feel we're far closer to than to a 0% world. I believe there is an optimal amount of government someone in between, but that our current government is much, much larger than that and growing bigger every day. You criticized Reagan the other day for growing our deficit. What do you think Obama and the Democrats are doing with all this spending?

7) Very few people other than anarchists believe in zero government. No conservative I know does. You said it well that neither extreme works. Many people, myself included, believe we are far closer to the extreme of too much government than not enough.

thinking said...

One point about the New Deal: it is empirically true that under the New Deal unemployment went down and went down significantly. One cannot say that unemployment skyrocketed.

Quoting from the Mercury News:
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate in 1933 at 24.9 percent and falling each year thereafter, to 14.3 percent in 1937. In 1938 it rose to 19 percent. Why the increase? As Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has noted, it was a reversal of the New Deal policies, which had reduced unemployment, that actually led to another recession and drove the numbers back up.

It's worth noting, by the way, that these numbers do not even include those in federal work-relief programs. At the time, the bureau counted those employed by the New Deal's emergency work programs as unemployed. So the unemployment numbers were actually lower than reported in these years.

From Talking Points Memo:
The Roosevelt administration reduced unemployment from 25 per cent in 1933 to 9 per cent in 1936, up to 13 per cent in 1938 (due largely to a reversal of the fiscal activism which had characterized FDR's first term in office), back to less than 10 per cent at the end of 1940, to less than 1 per cent a year later when the U.S. was plunged into the Second World War at the end of 1941.
[These figure take into acct those employed by New Deal public works programs...]

There was a referendum on the New Deal in 1936, and Roosevelt won reelection in one of the greatest landslides ever. In 1940 Roosevelt was again reelected very handily. If "the economy tanked under the New Deal, unemployment skyrocketed far beyond what is was under Hoover" then the electorate didn't seem to notice.