The WSJ celebrates Milton Friedman’s birthday with this extraordinary indulgence in idolatry, The Man Who Saved Capitalism by Stephen Moore
It’s a tragedy that Milton Friedman—born 100 years ago on July 31—did not live long enough to combat the big-government ideas that have formed the core of Obamanomics. It’s perhaps more tragic that our current president, who attended the University of Chicago where Friedman taught for decades, never fell under the influence of the world’s greatest champion of the free market. Imagine how much better things would have turned out, for Mr. Obama and the country.
One has to admire the thickness of Mr. Moore’s tin-foil and the durability of his knee pads to write an opening paragraph like that. The Great Recession or Wall Street meltdown was composed of several factions of Friedman style deregulation and the far Right conservative trend toward laissez faire economics. The culmination of these wonderful Friedmanesque policies resulted in 8 million Americans losing their jobs, millions losing their homes, millions underwater on their mortgage. While the USA lost about $14 trillion dollars of its wealth. In turn the unemployment ripped state and federal revenue, and added billions to state and federal deficits. That in turn had another domino effect, state’s laid off workers to cut budgets. The decease in public sector jobs – mostly teachers, but including fire fighters, clerical workers, custodians, librarians, etc, caused another 750,000 jobs to be lost in the private sector because of the loss in demand. While there were some flaws in The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein( a critique of Friedman’s Chicago School supply side economics) she was right about how conservatives used the worse economic crisis since 1929 to push an even more extreme agenda on the American public. Instead of facing the reality of a crisis in federal and state revenue, conservatives with the aid of the media as usual, convinced a good portion of the public that we didn’t need to raise taxes on millionaires and wealthy corporations ( many of which pay little to no taxes) – what we needed to do was cut spending and gut social safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid. They convinced the public that the problem was not a fifty year trend of redistributing money from working Americans to the plutocrats, we needed to cut unemployment benefits and food assistance. All so that the top 10% of the income bracket, who had every material need meet hundreds of times over, could not have to pay a few percent more in taxes. In the minds of the conservative idolaters like Moore, any criticism of Friedman is a criticism of capitalism. Friedman did what conservatives do, took some fetishistic ideal of what they felt capitalism should be and decided that was the only way to implement capitalism. Democrats, every liberal, every progressive I have ever meet or read likes capitalism, we just don’t like the kind that crushed families so that people like Mitt Romney or the Koch brothers can make even more easy money. Money, or rather capital created by working class Americans that Moore and the conservative movement have proved they have nothing but contempt. Friedman lived long enough to see he was wrong about capitalism always producing freedom – see China, the authoritarian capitalist poster child. Democracy has links with capitalism, but one does not guarantee the other, contrary to Friedman orthodoxy. Friedmannomics gave America this:
The Cult of Friedman thinks any attempt to return the U.S. back to the glory days of the New Deal, Glass-Steagall, to regulate derivatives – the age where America created the greatest economic expansion in history based on Keynesian economics, is the exact same thing as Marxism. When it is about a genuine merit based society that provides equal opportunity ( Republicans would lock people out with a kind of Jim Crow-lite society that keeps out minorities, women, traditional blue-collar workers and the working poor). Conservatives do not want any humaneness to enter into their version of capitalism. The rich and upper middle-class have what they have because by balance of their bank accounts they are more virtuous. It’s a vicious cycle in which they reward each other for the happy accidents of birth and the blessings of luck they have had in life. Economic justice, intellectual prowess, a solid work ethic, creativity, strength of character – are not according to conservatives worth much or meaningful, compared to how much black ink one has on the bottom line.
Romney spoke favorably about the fact that health care makes up a much smaller amount of Israel’s gross domestic product compared to the United States:
“Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent,” he said. “You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.”
Israel spends less on health care because of a universal health system that requires everyone to have insurance. Every Israeli citizen has the obligation to purchase health care services through one of the country’s four HMOs since government officials approved the National Health Insurance Law in 1995.
John Hindrocket at Powerline has looked at the above and the rest of Romney’s Excellent European Adventures and come to the conclusion that like his former flame George W. Bush, Romney’s brilliance is unappreciated. If Romney plans on implementing an Israel style health care program here – like Obamacare, only a little better – maybe John is right for once.
Polish Solidarity Distances Itself From Romney: He ‘Supported Attacks On Trade Unions And Employees’ Rights’. The conservative blogisphere tried to make a big deal out of Lech Walesa dissing Obama for not granting him a private meeting, not because of politics. How are they going to spin a labor movement largely responsible for the downfall of the Soviet Union thinking Mitt Romney appears to be a right-wing extremist on labor policy.
More let’s prove Mittens foreign policy credentials goodness, Mitt Romney Misuses Judaism to Support Israel and Buttress His Own Campaign. I happen to enjoy history. Though I understand not everyone shares that interests. Mittens, like Sara Palin, has this attitude that history does not really matter, so why get some major details wrong. Even if the history they get wrong is a source of cultural identity.
Brown doesn’t say why he specifically disagrees with Cathy’s statement, because he certainly agrees with Cathy’s anti-equality position. He voted against Massachusetts’ same-sex marriage law when he was in the state legislature, and has a long and problematic history on LGBT issues, even to the point of being the only member of the state’s congressional delegation to not participate in their “It Gets Better” video.
Brown is well out of the mainstream with the rest of Massachusetts on this one. PPP polled the state in June and it’s clear the state is happy with the law.
62% of voters said they support gay marriage being legal to only 30% who think it should be illegal [...]
64% say legalizing gay marriage had no impact on their lives to 20% who think it’s been a positive thing and 16% who believe it’s been negative.
Which is undoubtedly why Scott Brown says he disagrees with Cathy’s statement, but won’t say why, and won’t say why he himself is adamantly opposed to marriage equality.
Is it possible those greasy chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A have clogged Brown’s sense of moral decency.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has spoken a lot about cutting government spending, lowering taxes for corporations, and removing social safety nets that millions of people rely on. But while he is busy eliminating more than $3 billion from public classrooms, his administration is simultaneously racking up hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal expenses to defend several of its own unconstitutional laws and fight frivolous battles in federal court over Obamacare.
To date, Rick Scott has authorized more than $888,000 for legal costs.
Scott is one of the followers of the Friedman Shock Doctrine, always use a crisis to screw over the most vulnerable Americans and get more freebies for corporations and the buddies at the yacht club.