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10/16/2011

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TANSTAAFL

Best wishes and good health to Becker and Posner. May they soon resume blogging. In their absence (and with Halloween approaching), reasonable minds may hope that the leftist commenters on this blog may be enlightened by the spirit of the late Milton Friedman. The lefties could read Friedman's works, of course, but, sadly, that is an unlikely bet.

Amanda House

I hope all is good and you will be blogging very soon! Sending all my positive thought to you!

natasha

I hope the two of you are feeling well.

Michael A. O'Brien

Write something on Occupy Wall Street.

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Jack, Yep. It's the dichotomy that exists. On the one side of the coin, there's the "Public Value" and the other "Private Value". As an ancient Roman once put it, "The reason Rome is great, is that the true Roman believes in Public Magnificence and Private austerity". Something we could do well too learn today... hh

ZK

Are either Becker or Posner seriously ill? I would be very sad to hear that to be the case.

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Jack

Tans -- Way back then, I did find Milton's stuff at least intriguing. I guess it did offer something to consider and compare to LBJ's reasonably successful War on Poverty and Nixon's post-devaluation price controls and his advocacy for the negative income tax that has become the pittance known today as EITC.

Looking back, however, at the time since Reagan, got in, on something of a Friedmanesque reverence for THE market as god but quickly jettisoned Stockman's worthy of trying, "starve the beast" proposal after getting rolled by legions of Pentagon generals and going on to quadruple the single trillion of debt left to him when Carter left office I'm truly at a loss to see much of any improvement.

As I often mention those doing most of the work have "reaped" only stagnant wages, and our ongoing trade deficits seem indicative of our being no more "competitive" in the world than we were back when you COULD get a competent CEO for 30 times worker pay as compared to them demanding over 400 times that of those they "lead?"

Does it sometimes seem to you that today's brand of "capitalism" is largely a rigged game to enrich the very very few much as the system of lords and serfs oppressed the many in favor of also enriching the few?

The invention of money? Once thought to enhance a barter system? Can it be that today it facilitates the accumulation of monstrous fortunes that would have never been the case (except under duress) of a barter system? What group of farmers would willingly "trade" 400 bags of rice for "leadership" while bringing only one bag home to their family? And, of course, what leader would want vast amounts more rice than he could possibly consume? Unless he was planning to feed an army??

Well........ with a fair amount of time before the proffs give us a new topic, I wonder if you'd write a few paragraphs on how Milton, Rand, or even Gspan has either improved the lot of working folks or enhanced out collective competitive position in the world? Feel free to touch on any reason for a million be spent at the topmost ranks "spurs" productivity while the same million being spread around those not even going home with a living wage would be detrimental to morale? or increased productivity.

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TANSTAAFL

Jack -- you have my sincere apologies if free markets have not worked out well for you. The problem with your economic philosophy is that you would consign everyone in the world to mediocrity, rather than allowing people who work hard and/or think hard to excel and raise themselves above the mean. Thus the Soviet Union failed, and thus your reasoning fails.

And, no, I respectfully decline to write "a few paragraphs" to explain what you ought to know already, had you paid attention in school.

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Jack

Tans Re Cheap shot often used by cornered wingers of taking the discussing of policy to the personal level and your similarly winger based tendency to jump to conclusions hardly justified by the facts presented:

There is NONE of my posts that favor anything related to the economic system employed by the USSR. But! having broached the subject.. I do wonder about the seemingly forked tongue mythology of the "right".

Now is it the case that the USSR had a strong a vigorous economy enabling them to be a true world class military power that would have continued but for Reagan having quadrupled our D E B T by squandering billions on the Star Wars fantasy the fooled neither the US citizen nor the people of the rest of the world and then huffed and puffed to blow away the otherwise mighty power?

Or, was the story more as you suggest? and that we youthful comparative politics students, paying close attention, circa 1972 predicted, that the bear was gutshot then and it was only a matter of time and manner that the whole thing would implode?

As for lamenting what has clearly become an ALL FOR THE RICH economy in the US replete with utterly unconstrained Wall Street thieves plundering what remains of our once strong economy and balanced budget, sorry, but that's just not what our founders planned and certainly not what Americans expect nor fought for in countless deadly wars.

It is, of course, understandable that those finding no fault with today's corporate/Wall Street dominance at the expense of those doing the work would want to reveal their satisfaction and support for the corruption of America; no....... much better to join the talk wanks of whackright radio and chip away at those trying to rebuild the badly crippled system and talk in terms of vague innuendo.

......... bout right?

Kritus

I hope we will read from you soon!

TANSTAAFL

Jack -- for the sake of civilized discourse, please set aside your cheap rantings about "cornered wingers" and "whackright radio."

Now, assuming you agree to leave behind the name calling, please tell us why your economic vision of governmentally sponsored coercive wealth redistribution differs from the old USSR.

Readers await your word.

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NEH

Jack, affl is just another back seat driver shooting his/her mouth off. If we followed their "directives/invectives" our "old jalopy" would clearly go over the edge into the Abyss. That's why the State won't issue them a license and why he/she's in the back seat. Perhaps he/she might learn something if tossed out to the wolves...

As for Milton Friedman's opinions it's clearly evident that he/she has never studied them in detail. What we have here is Political Economics by hearsay. And its probably got old Uncle Milty rolling over in his grave... ;)

TANSTAAFL

Allies like NEH only make the flaws in Jack's arguments come to light all the sooner.

Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and the other framers of our Republic believed that men should transact their affairs with one another, free from governmental interference, with winners and losers chosen by natural selection -- that is, the smartest and most diligent would come out ahead of their more ignorant and lazy brethren.

Leftists, in contrast, believe that men cannot be trusted to order their affairs privately, and, therefore, the State must pick the winners and losers on political grounds. The winners are the ignorant and lazy who otherwise would never rise to the mean, and the losers are the smart and diligent who otherwise would surpass the mean. The State, in the view of the leftists, must grind all citizens into grains of equal dimension.

Despite this agenda, the leftists will not admit their ideological kinship with 20th century Leninists. See, for example, Jack and NEH. Rather, the leftists preach equality but fancy themselves the masters of the egalitarian state they advocate. All would enjoy equal treatment under the leftists' rule. Equal misery, as the USSR demonstrated.

Jack

Tans My apologies if I snubbed you up a bit too sharply the other night, but I do find it irksome when a poster leaps to "leftists" and "Marxists" or tries to take the otherwise civil discourse personal.

Speaking of such, those of great vision such as our founders especially liked to put away their own station or that of their offspring a design a society that works for all and as if they did not know what station in life they might occupy. Naturally, that is the model I try to emulate as compared to that of the rich seeking and purchasing favors from the government to perpetuate their own status and that of their spawn.

I'd hope the discussion here is well beyond the vague "hopes" of the founders as it is precisely "government interference" in many ways that ensure both "winners" and "losers" the "strong" and the "weak" CAN conduct their affairs. Costly protection provided by police departments, the military and our court system come quickly to mind.

Further, one hopes things have not deteriorated or slid so FAR to whatever the strange agenda of the "right" is about today that railing against the cabal of WS thieves who took down not only our economy but the economies of the world is considered "leftist".

Nor should the observation that the over concentration of both wealth and income in the few, and fewer hands of the very, very wealthy be taken as anything different from a mechanic pointing that your engine spun a rod bearing due to a blockage in the oil passages that kept too much oil up in the valve covers while main bearings and rod bearings way down in the crankcase failed because they were starved of the necessary oil.

I don't see a "leftist" or "rightist" aspect to an observation of the consolidation playing a major, major role in what has been wrong with our economy for over 25 years. It should be obvious and intuitive that things just won't work any better in 2015 with such a consolidation than it did in 1928.

Surely most have read, along the way somewhere, that a functioning democracy REQUIRES a strong middle class and a feeling that they are a part of a TEAM working together for a better nation and better future for all, than that they've been reduced to powerless serfs again doing the bidding of lords and landowners.


It should also be obvious that there are several means of correcting the situation before the whole thing does come down and has to be rebuilt from the rubble as was generally the case of the decade long Depression.

We CAN discuss whether it's better done by empowering working folk to increase their wages, or as seems the case, keep pounding down wages to the point that ever increasing numbers of the working, and non-working folk are added to the rolls of more and bigger transfer programs -- not exactly my idea of a finely tuned capitalism efficiently deploying scarce resources. But! in my, at times, less than humble opinion, we're near another tipping point on wealth consolidation with stagnant wages for most and nothing for all too many.

Well, in closing, I was cheered today to hear that the Pope weighed in on my position today and with considerable support for the OWS folks.

NEH

affl, Before you presume to become the "mouthpiece" for the Founding Fathers and their Political Economic Philosophy; perhaps you need to become better versed in U.S. History and economic developemnt. May I suggest Hamilton's 1790 "Report on Credit" and the subsequent actions by the Government? May I also suggest Hamilton's 1791 "Report on Manufactures" to Congress and the subsequent actions taken and the rise of the "American School of Economics" which has been turned against us by the likes of the Chinese, Indians, and other rising Economic Powers? May I also suggest studying the "Whiskey Rebellion" and the Washington Adminsitration's response? May I also suggest studying the "Tariff Act of 1828"? The Founding Fathers as "Free Trade/Free Marketers"?

Historical Revisionism as a ploy too try and prop up a clearly dead Economic Ideology (Anarcho-Capitalism)? Even Limbaugh and his minions aren't that dumb.

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TANSTAAFL

Jack -- you raise some good points. You and I probably agree that the working man has been getting screwed far too long. We disagree about the solution.

NEH -- why do you presume you are the most well-read person in the room, a presumption your own posts rebut convincingly?

With any luck, Becker and Posner will soon return to give their readership some new insights to consider.

NEH

affl, As for being "well read", they're called Libraries, both Public and Private. Open to all comers, but only those with the desire, inclination and are willing to put in the effort...

Being fat and dumb is really no way to go through life. ;)

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