Saturday, February 21, 2009

If Only America Were More Like India... (Pt. II)

My YouTube conversations/debates continued. Here's the followup. I'll put the comments directed at me in bold, and leave my responses in regular type, for clarity.

I was commented to-
"Bush also lowered interest rates, as a means of back door taxes, and expanded regulations. Both of those actions were anti free market. Bush only paid lip service to the free market, while upholding Keynsian socialist principles, just like his father who said, "Read my lips. No new taxes."

The idea that politicians care about workers or the lower economy is naive."

I responded-
"The idea that George W. Bush-- ignoring that he spent his last year bailing out his failed comrades on Wall Street-- was somehow not friendly enough to conservative economic policies is insane. The people who believe this probably buy the myth that Reagan was some pure conservative hero too.

There's no such thing as a free market. A market, by definition, is a construct of the society that created it, and is subject to the norms and rules of said society. It is supposed to serve society's needs."

His response-
"Bush ADDED to regulation. Bush lowered interest rates in order to prop up housing prices. How this is not government intervention is beyond me. A market is not by definition a construct of society. It is the term used to describe the buying and selling between various individuals in a society. With or without rules, it exists. To say that the market is supposed to serve society's needs, is like saying the ocean is supposed to ship products across its waters. W/or w/out ships, it exists."

"The idea that the housing bubble was a result of too MUCH government interference, rather than two little (even the McCain/Palin crew agreed on that much), is a leap from reality. The housing bubble was not only Wall Street's ultimate free-market triumph (this decade, anyway), it was also the underpinning for Bush's 'ownership society'... the key domestic achievement celebrated at the 2004 GOP convention.

Very convenient of conservatives to launch him to two terms, then disown when he fails."

I also responded to his comment about free markets and their nature-
"Water exists in nature. Air exists in nature. Etc.

A market does not exist in nature.

It is a construct of society... the buying and selling between individuals is a construct of society (birds don't have a market, for instance). It exists within the norms and rules we establish for it, and these vary between societies, cultures, countries. It is not some magical, pure thing.

As long as the GOP comes off as a party that cares more about magic markets than actual people, they're in trouble."

His response, which went back to the issue of the housing crisis-
"You obviously have not studied credit markets. The government purposely lowered interest rates to encourage people to spend money. It was specifically directed at the housing market, pushing housing prices further up. At no point did the government create any new buyers or did they make housing more affordable (in principle payments) to those who currently rent (such as myself)."

"Lowering interest rates to encourage people to spend more money sounds like GOP economics to me... after all, it's basically the same general defense for tax cuts.

And yes, the government did create new buyers for homes. Through the deregulation (etc) which started at the end of the Clinton years and flourished under Bush, they helped create an anything-goes financial market, which lead to banks giving out mortgages and loans to people who couldn't afford them (and then repackaged them for profit), when a better system of regulations and checks would've curbed this."

And then his next response was back to the question of outsourcing jobs to India-
"So is it wrong for managers of pro ball teams to let go of their aging players for those with better stats? No. Those aging players deserve job security. Did you ever stop to ask why Indian laborers are cheaper? Here we are driving up the cost of capital goods and bailing out companies so prices won't deflate, thereby disallowing the average American to afford to live on cheaper wages. We can't compete, because our government won't let us compete.

Don't diss India for OUR failures."

I responded-
"The goal should NOT be to create conditions that make it easier for Americans to live on the increasingly low wages they receive. The goal should be to get Americans more jobs and better wages, and to create an environment-- better health-care etc-- where we can live comfortably.

I assure you if you ran for office on the platform you espouse (in which humans beings and their work are dismissed as a commodity), there might only be two districts in the entire country where you'd have a shot."

His response?
"I'm not trying to run on a popularity contest on false promises."

And that's pretty much how we left it. I'll also throw in the caveat that I'm no economist. This is just one layman's semi-educated take on all of this... particularly my belief that anyone who looks at this economic crisis and believes it's the fault of too much regulation rather than the vice versa is not someone who's worldview I'm likely to ever understand.

Another user jumped in at the end, and asked me this-
"Jeremy, I don't get it, can you seriously look at yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself that government regulation and high taxes are good your country? Do you seriously trust your government to make the correct decisions in regards to red tape and spending other people's money? Because it seems to me that this is what you advocate."

I responded, again within the space limits of the YouTube comment system-
"I believe we live in a complicated society with many needs, and I see economic libertarianism (I am a social libertarian, however) as anarchy. We've seen how businesses behave when there is no check on them (Enron, the housing bubble scam, savings and loans in 80s, etc). Believing in self-regulation takes a naive view of what motivates businesses.

In recent decades, top salaries increased by thousands of %s while base wages have remained stagnant. This is not good for America or capitalism.

As for taxes, well they pay for police, firefighters, parks, schools, public assistance, etc. All good things. I want the private sector to run stores and restaurants, not the parks or fire department. I'm less concerned w how much I pay, and more concerned that the $ goes to worthy places (instead of military boondoggles or other pork).

The problem is too many people take what we got from the New Deal for granted. I've yet to hear, for instance, of libertarians refusing their unemployment benefits."

Finally, in regards to that last comment, I don't think anyone who's read this blog over the years can accuse me of being a blind supporter of government... or, in recent months, a blind supporter of our new President. However, I am a liberal, and not a knee-jerk one, and I believe the case for this ideology was made recently by that peskiest of debaters... reality. Again, this is just one man's opinion. I'm also happy, if any readers desire, to back up any and all statements I made with supporting links (which wasn't possible in YouTube).


[UPDATE: My friend emails me this reality check link about the quality of life in India.]


At 10:56 AM, Blogger Steve sculpts critters said...

I reckon you might get a kick out of my "Golden Parachute" t-shirts on it's rough justice for Golden Parachutes there!!


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