Policy Pet Peeves (or the political cost of the hidden welfare state)

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18 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    Now personally I’d be all for gutting our corporate welfare. We should, to quote Bob Cheeks, Hang em All!! I personally would love to take a chainsaw to our bloated pork laden poverty exporting environment harming agricultural policy especially. Is there anything that monstrosity doesn’t make worse? (and yes I know the Europeans are at least as bad)Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    Yes you are correct.

    Most people hate government/pork/welfare/special interests when it doesn’t help them but are just peachy with it when it helps them. And most people who hate government/regulations/pork feel whatever helps them or they like is completely natural, good and just the way it should be. Just never disagree with them or you are an EVIIIL LIBERAL blah blah blah.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Transparency, transparency, transparency.

    We need as much as we can possibly get and my attempts to come up with examples of reasons to oppose more all have to deal with wanting to take advantage of others.Report

  4. Avatar mike farmer says:

    Holy crap!
    “everyone in the US pretends like we don’t have heavy government intervention in the economy, when in fact we do, but it’s in the form various tax breaks and incentives, and effectively hidden from plain sight.”

    What do you read? And how long have you been reading? Frank Chodorov was ranting much louder and eloquently than anyone nowadays in the 40s and 50s about government intervention in the economy, starting in earnest with the 16th amendment. Any legitimate critique of the State includes the history of expansion. It’s just now that many are yelping about the latest spurt of growth.

    Everyone in the U.S.? Hyperbole, anyone? This takes the strawman of the new year award. The advances now are of a greater degree than in recent decades, much like the great advances of the 30s and 60s.Report

    • Avatar JosephFM in reply to mike farmer says:

      Certainly not everyone. But most of the rhetoric on both sides (and especially from the so-called business community, with its vested interests in using free-market rhetoric only when government’s not doing them favors) does indeed act like “oh we have a basically free market”. True compared to the Soviet Union maybe, but not really. And most people in the US are ignorant of 90% of economic policy – hence the constant calls for lower taxes AND more state intervention simultanously.

      Actually, that’s what I like about you libertarian types. You actually acknowledge that government does stuffReport

  5. Avatar Sam M says:

    “Of course, the concealed nature of our welfare state is the exact thing which makes it incredibly easy to demagogue liberal efforts to expand it; for the average American, an attempt to make spending explicit looks exactly like an attempt to massively expand the scope of spending.”

    Is this really the case with health care or the financial industry? A lot of the arguments for reform of these sectors seem to hinge, at least rhetorically, on the idea that “we tried the free market and it didn’t work.”

    That seems like pretty effective rhetoric, actually. Even if it’s not true. So I am not all that sure that liberals should be seeking a true accounting of government intervention. “This version of government intervention in the health care industry failed miserably, so let’s try another form of government intervention” doesn’t have muchb of a ring to it.Report

  6. Avatar mike farmer says:

    Yes, “Doubling down on failed intervention!” isn’t exactly a winning campaign slogan.Report

  7. Avatar M.Z. says:

    Perhaps the US is interventionist on an absolute scale, but relatively it isn’t. While I don’t think you were attempting to fill libertarian fantasies of our problems not having to do with the infallible free market, I’m afraid this piece does so.

    I confess to not caring for the subterfuge attempted. The US doesn’t subsidize single family housing. It established a private corporation to provide insurance from default on amortizing mortgages. This insurance isn’t limited to single family dwellings. Regardless, the creation of this program had little to do with encouraging SFR. The program was created in wake of massive defaults when people were unable to refinance balloon notes circa the Great Depression.

    In regards to the auto industry, we haven’t propped them up significantly in the past. The problem with autos generally is that their externalities are not reflected in the prices consumers pay. The absence of this could be considered a subsidy, but that is just being sloppy.Report

  8. Avatar Kyle says:

    If what you were saying is true, then why is does the standard argument from the left to highlight the failures of private industry and the free market as a justification for visible government interaction?

    Ala health care and the financial industry.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Kyle says:

      Because A) L’s are far more sketicle of the free market then Con’s so we are far less liklty to think it offers good solutions. B) L’s don’t have the same visceral aversion to using gov that many Con’s do, we don’t see all the same horrors in gov intevention that Con’s do.

      that being said i think there is room for people of good faith on different sides of debates to come together but that requires common goals and an acceptance of listening to and implementing solutions from others. There are plenty of people on all sides that are ideologues and won’t listen to other views.Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

        I think everything you‘ve said is accurate here. What I question – and remains unanswered – is that if we fully accept Jamelle’s read of American political culture, that liberals already know and recognize that the current set up involves government intervention in the economy, then cries of “free market failure” are resoundingly disingenuous, if not the same kind of demagoguery he assigns to conservatives.

        In other words, his critique only really works as a one-way view to claim that liberal policy preferences are contextually mundane and not radical while insinuating that conservatives are hypocritical in engaging in exaggerated demagoguery. Once you plug in the other side, liberal arguments about free-market failures as a reason for expanding governmental roles in specific sectors of the economy it falls apart pretty quickly.

        As for the original premise, I’m skeptical that’s even true. First, I think heavy is a highly subjective adjective. Second, half the country at any given time is complaining about government involvement in this or that industry so I’m not sure who this mythical everyone is that “pretends.”

        As to your points greg – agreed – i’ve been amused by the number of conservatives that have said they’d prefer single payer to the current bill. Still you go to war with the Congress you have. Err..Report

  9. Avatar Hilary says:

    We need a welfare-state model because there isn’t enough meaningful work to go around in this increasingly technology-dominated economy. I’d be happy to see some Marxist thought brought back into the economic debate. For years our policy goal has been a tax-free, regulation-free capitalist utopia. That’s dangerous.Report

  10. Avatar mike farmer says:

    “For years our policy goal has been a tax-free, regulation-free capitalist utopia. That’s dangerous.”

    How long have you been in a coma?Report

  11. Avatar mike farmer says:

    or, I should have asked — how long were you in a coma?Report