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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Kudlow's "Ayn Randian, Free Market Nirvana"

Paul Vigna says that Larry Kudlow is full of . . . . snake oil:

Snake Oil 2010, by Paul Vigna: So Larry Kudlow was on the radio this morning ... prattling on about the resilience of the free markets despite what he calls “socialism lite” and the ascendancy of a new conservatism driven by the tea partiers that’s going to lead to a Republican takeover of Congress in November. It’s essentially the same shtick he usually delivers. What’s amazing..., though ... is that even after two of the most tumultuous years of our lives, he hasn’t changed his tune, not by even one note.
Kudlow’s performance requires some amount of self-delusion. He’s optimistic, and that’s fine. ... But in his world, it’s like the last two years never happened:
Despite the historic expansion of the federal government’s involvement in, intervention in, and control of the economy ... despite all the things that would be expected to destroy the economy — all this socialism lite and the degrading of incentives and rewards for success — despite all this, the U.S. economy has not been destroyed.
You don’t have to like $700 billion stimulus packages, and trillion dollar banking bailouts, but it is intellectually dishonest to say the economy is getting better despite them. The economy is alive and breathing only because of them. The government didn’t just sweep in and take over anything. Private companies, including banks, insurance companies and car companies,... pleaded for government aid. And they petitioned both Democrats and Republicans. ...
The central government has underwritten this recovery... To say that somehow GDP has turned positive because of some miracle of the free markets is either delusional or deceitful, but certainly not accurate.
There is a place, and a central place, for the free market in the United States. But the free market was never freer than in the aughts, and it failed miserably. The entire banking system was on the verge of collapse; at least, that’s what we’ve been told. There’s a reason a dyed-in-the-wool Republican administration like the Bush White House abandoned the free markets during the depths of the credit crisis, and used the blunt power of the government to save the economy. Because that’s all that was left.
We need a free market, and that free market needs rules. To pretend one can exist without the other is to invite — again — disaster. And for people like Kudlow to pretend that we can go back to some Ayn Randian, free market nirvana where the government exists only to provide a military and deliver the mail is, well, he’s just peddling snake oil. That’s all that is.

What a surprise. The people with the most to gain from our current system, a system that socializes losses but keep gains private, are trying to blame it all on the government. We'll hear again and again from those who benefit from out current system of "socialism for the elite" that government caused the crisis, and then made it worse. We'll hear how awful it will be for jobs and the economy if the financial sector is restricted in any way. They're full of snake oil. That's all that is.

    Posted by on Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 02:43 AM in Economics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (89)

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