Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spawn of Koch Libertarian Bastardy: "David Stockman: What Do Poor Folk Know of Fancy Finance?" by Steve Weissman @ Reader Supported News

Hat Tip - Uncle Academic

His comment made while sending this article to readers at the Fightin' Cock:
Also the spawn of American "Libertarian" Bastardy.
"The comments to this article have Stockman nailed.  It amazes me this guy gets reverential treatment on NPR's On Point as a 'moderate' who must be sound because he dishes Republicans and Democrats." 
The comment section is worth examining, more on that below this partial reprint.  [Excerpt from the RSN original report by Steve Weissman.]

Young David Stockman, the bright-eyed boy wonder who ran Ronald Reagan's Office of Management and Budget, won fame in his first year at the White House for publicly telling the truth. His highly touted "supply-side economics," he told the "Atlantic Monthly's" William Greider, was primarily "a Trojan horse," or decoy, for cutting the top tax rate for the highest earners from 70% down to 50%.

Now, with his widely discussed new book "The Great Deformation," an older Stockman returns from a lucrative, if less than stellar, career doing leveraged buyouts on Wall Street. This time he is selling new truths and half-truths, along with one overwhelming glob of magical thinking. America's future, he says, can be saved from its current evils, but only if we turn back to "free market capitalism" as it existed before President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Do Americans really want to go back to the dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all economic system whose mess FDR struggled to clean up by taking the United States off the gold standard and ushering in the New Deal with its beginnings of a decent social safety net? "Free market capitalism" did not work so well before that. Why would it work any better now?
Like former congressman Ron Paul, the right-wing Libertarian loner, and his son, Senator Rand Paul, a wanna-be president, Stockman is channeling “Austrian economics” as preached by Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. Hayek and his highly polemical “On the Road to Serfdom” were spiritual guides to Reagan and Maggie Thatcher and are now required reading for Tea Party enthusiasts. The more radical Mises, Hayek's mentor back in Vienna and a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, was in 1960s America a stalwart of the rabidly right-wing John Birch Society. In his new book, Stockman mentions Mises only once, and Hayek not at all, but their anti-government, free market extremism shapes the entire argument. ..."

One particular comment had me nailed too.  I've been delving into the deep history of the English Civil War and the "libertarian" publisher and pamphleteer John Lilburn, the Renters, Diggers and Leveler movements around the same time.

The comment:

"His "libertarian" economics is also based on a completely mythological understanding of capitalist history and development (including a total misreading of Adam Smith) whereby they harken back to a "free market" past that NEVER existed. Capitalism would never have developed in England, for example, without the Enclosure Acts (i.e., government intervention) that forced people off the land and "enclosed" formerly "common" land such that people could no longer be self-sufficient without becoming waged workers. And, every major industry in the US from the first (Railroads) in the 19th Century to Silcon Valley in the 20th also developed only due to huge government subsidies (from tax breaks and free or cheap land for the railroads to government contracts for Silicon Valley -- so no, the development of the internet was not due to IT nerds working in their garages). So, in the end, those like Stockman pretend to be supporters of the "free market" while in fact simply opposing anything that government does to regulate their activities while fully supporting all of the corporate welfare that government bestows on them. Completely self-serving and disingenuous."

No comments: