Category Archives: Economics

Zerohedge Fears Millennial Lack of Ideological Purity

From Zerohedge, two polls are cited with overlapping percentages. 58% favour socialism; 64 percent favour a free market.

While Zerohedge is correct that socialism is not a free market, it is wrong to suggest only capitalism can be a free market. Before capitalism, we had free markets; free markets have always been a thing.

What we’re perhaps seeing is an end to a political ideology: Classical liberalism. That end cannot come soon enough. I believe it was the Cold War and the one-directional television/radio communication that created such fanaticism as we have today among the Hippie generation.

“Third Way” ideas are not some degradation of a perfect ideology; they are a return to sanity. Millennials might not know what socialism is, but they’re right to reject classical liberalism.

Addendum: Perhaps another factor that encourages rigid classical liberalism is the overfocus on a single historical period for political values, rather than appreciating multiple periods.

Zerohedge Claims Most Under-30 Adults Reject Capitalism

I view this quote as potentially good news:

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn’t clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

To start with, how many, even Harvard students, would give a consistent definition for the term “capitalism”? Most from Harvard might give correct definitions, but their definitions would inevitably vary. And when Hilaire Belloc attacked capitalism in The Servile State, he had to first define capitalism. Note: Belloc was arguing against capitalism’s tendency to bring about socialism. *Libertarian heads explode.*

Secondly, many of the paleos were labeled as “anti-capitalist”, and I’ve never believed in the mythos around the Industrial Revolution. The strength of capitalism exists where economically productive assets within a society are given power. The less economically productive then must focus efforts on more immediate concerns, like finding a job so as to eat. As a result, you have less idleness but also reductions in socially useful assets such as monasteries.

And on this second point, let me note that this is only capitalism as functioning ideally. Also, these less productive assets, such as monasteries, can serve vital functions. So, while ideal capitalism might lead to a dramatic flowering, it isn’t necessarily stable. We see in America today, moneyed-special-interests influencing political campaigns, culture, the media (including bloggers though obviously not this site). There’s almost no place for those who value anything other than money.

Today, nationalism is condemned. Faith is condemned. Our society is becoming more individualistic, secular, transient. What value is left to Americans but pursuit of greed? And we see the results, wars partly fought for profit (also for Israel lobby), mass immigration for profit, free trade for profit (Francis once said free trade is “economic ethnic cleansing”). Greed destroys. (And it’s not a Christian value, but it feels somehow dirty to make such an obvious reference.)

The term for what is lost in present-society used to be called, by a paleo blogger, “social capital”. We could all sense something was amiss with Wall Street speculation and greed, though we certainly didn’t want socialism. “Distributism”, “Third Position”, and other “Third Way” ideas became popular as a result.

Anyway, I’m proudly anti-socialist, and that is why I’m also anti-capitalist. Third solutions are the future, however one defines them, alternatives existing within both the “Left” and the “Right”. And I find many on the “Left” agree with me on many things, so long as I don’t break certain taboo topics, at least not all at once. There is potential there for a movement to draw support from both groups to assault the “moderate” centre.

One thing investors and speculators know well: The market doesn’t move in a straight line. If the march of “history” appears inevitable today, that march will shift.

Why Red States Tend to Be Net Tax Receivers

From Zerohedge:

This is all federal spending, so these totals are a combination of military spending, social welfare programs such as Medicare, and ordinary civilian federal spending, including civilian research facilities and other programs funded by federal grants.

Areas that are more rural and reliant on agriculture will tend to be net tax receiver areas both because farmers and ranchers receive a lot of government subsidies, and also because agricultural work tends to have lower productivity than urban work.

Urban areas, in contrast, produce most of the tax revenue, so highly urbanized states will tend to more often be “break even” or “net tax payer” states.

Additionally, you have retirees in the South and heavy military spending in certain states.

Nationwide, the tax-spending ratio is not one dollar, but it about $1.20. So, states that are getting around $1.20 back for every dollar extracted in taxes are really just at the national average.

On the other hand, the realities of the central bank tend to favor the richer, more urban states at the expense of the poorer tax-receiver states.

Simultaneously, the money creation process tends to favor the financial sectors in large urban areas at the expense of less urban and poorer areas. Thanks to the way the central bank creates money, it is the urban investor classes that get to spend the new money first — before prices adjust to the new, larger money supply — while more rural, less urban, and less productive parts of the country receive this money only after prices have risen. This further perpetuates the tax-spending imbalance.

Sen. Jeff Sessions Calls Out Rep. Paul Ryan on Fast Track

Sen. Sessions has been doing yeoman’s work on fast track. Here he calls out Rep. Paul Ryan.

One thing that strikes me as different this time is that outlets like Brietbart are on board against fast track. In the past, most conservative outlets have been broadly supportive of anything called free trade. Notice the comments. They are nearly unanimously anti-fast track, and are brutal in their condemnation of the GOP Establishment.

Rick Perry Retracts his Support of Fast Track

Breitbart has the story.

This is evidence of what I wrote in my post below, Republican Fast Track supporters are feeling some serious heat from their base. Perry recently came out in support of fast track. He got hammered for it. Now he has changed his position. I’m not criticizing him. I’m glad he changed his mind. We need to keep the heat on. We’re moving the needle.

Rep. John Duncan on Fast Track

Here is what Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) posted on Facebook re. fast track. If we had more like him, we wouldn’t be in such a mess.

I have never voted for fast-track trade authority in the 26 years I have been in Congress and have voted against it under both Republican and Democratic Presidents. Fast-track limits the authority of Congress and gives too much power to the executive branch.

The U.S. hasn’t done a good job negotiating trade agreements. Too often, the deals that have emerged have been a boon for multinational companies but have not been favorable to U.S. workers.

House Scheduled to Vote on Fast Track on Friday: Contact Your Rep. Today

The House is reportedly going to start voting today on issues leading up to a planned vote on fast track tomorrow. I know I’m biased, but I get the sense that Republican Reps realize that fast track is very unpopular with the base. One way you can tell this is by the number of declared and potential GOP presidential candidates who have recently come out against it. In addition, the people who don’t like it REALLY don’t like it, whereas the people who do support it (other than the fat cats) generally support free trade in theory and just see fast track as a means to an end.

Please contact your Representative today and urge him to vote against fast track. I know the oligarchy usually gets it’s way, but if we make our Reps feel enough heat, maybe we can win this one. Shamefully, the Republicans are the ones who are the biggest problem here, so especially pound the phones if your Rep is a yes leaning Republican.

Greenspan Speaks on US and Global Economic Problems

It’s refreshing Greenspan focuses on the need for savings (especially long-term investments) and worker productivity, which seems so obvious yet so many today seem to claim any near-term consumption, any spending, will miraculously result in growth. It is investment and research that grow an economy, long-term.

Greenspan also mentions the current investment environment is unpredictable, resulting in greater investment risk especially for longer-term investments.

H/T: ContraCorner

Pat Buchanan’s Surprising Take on Lifting the Cuba Embargo

Well, I say surprising. Maybe it’s not surprising to the people who know him better.

To me, lifting the embargo is a no-brainer from a non-interventionist perspective. Buchanan has a point here:

But Obama threw in an admission that all nine presidents before him pursued a “failed policy.” Calling for recognition of the Castro regime as the legitimate government of Cuba, Obama said, “Isolation has not worked.”

“Not worked”? What is he talking about? Isolating Cuba during the last 30 years of the Cold War helped bankrupt and bring down the Soviet Empire, which had to carry Cuba on its back.

But why did the embargo need to be continued once the Soviet Union collapsed?

I agree that Obama should have laid off publicly criticizing past Presidents and policies because to do so is generally unseemly, and maybe he should have extracted an agreement from the Castro regime that they would lay off the whooping it up and declaring victory, if such a thing is possible. Maybe they could have agreed on a joint statement.

Thomas Fleming doesn’t agree, and I think his comment probably explains Buchanan’s position as well as any:

Pat has been a friend for years and we usually agree, but not always. We all have a fall-back position, and Pat’s is the Cold War, just as for others it is the War Between the States, and for still others the Persian Wars.

Is Max Boot the World’s Most Obnoxious Neocon?

I once suggested on the old site that we come up with a “prize” for most obnoxious neocon. If we did, Max Boot would surely be a finalist. The Republican midterm rout (some of the newly elected Republicans are quite hawkish) has hawks feeling their oats. This has uber-hawks like Boot clamoring for more wars. Good little globalist that he is, he also throws in a plug for “fast track” for the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Daniel McAdams from the Ron Paul Institute replies here to Boot’s wild eyed rantings.