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Hopefully, a Final Nail in the Coffin of the Debate Over “Trickle-Down Economics”

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Throughout the first decade of this century, the rich got much richer, while the rest of us saw marginal improvement at best in our incomes. Yes, we all know this. But a report yesterday by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that US corporate profits are at an all-time high.

So…isn’t it a tenet of Reaganomics that if you just get out of the corporations’ way and let them make lots and lots of money, then they’ll build lots more factories and we’ll all have jobs and life will get much better for everyone? Deregulation! Cut the capital gains tax! That’s it in a nutshell, pretty much.

But the rosy promises of those who supported Reaganomics didn’t happen, did they? Why is it that US corporations are doing better than they ever have…but those factories are not being built and those jobs are still not being offered to Americans? Could it, might it just possibly be that Reaganomics is wrong?

Oh no, that can’t be the case, because no matter how bad things get for the American people despite record profits by US corporations, we all know that conservative dogma cannot EVER be wrong and must not be questioned! Despite what the data show, the Republicans are always better for the economy than are the Democrats!

So let it be written. So let it never be questioned.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Bollocks, Glenn. There is no debate over this issue and your attempt to repaint it as something it’s not doesn’t change that in any way.

    The fact that higher corporate profits result in more employment and other benefits throughout the economy is self-evident.

    However this only applies when the profits are real and not just the result of inflationary policies which create a meaningless semblance of profits with nothing to back them up.

    It also changes when you’re dealing with multinationals rather than primarily domestic corporations, because multinationals can direct the benefits of their profits towards growth outside the US, which they are obviously going to do given the hostile, anti-business environment created by our current tax and regulatory policies.

    We haven’t been operating on Reagan’s principles for 20 years, so why would we expect to enjoy their benefits?

    Dave

  • Jordan Richardson

    Dave, why do you insist there’s no debate over this issue when there clearly is? You also might want to be careful with your use of the word “fact,” especially when what you’re referencing isn’t one.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jordan, I was just doing what Glenn did when he asserted that his dubious theory was established fact and immune from questioning.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    The fact that higher corporate profits result in more employment and other benefits throughout the economy is self-evident.

    Y’know, the East India Company would’ve loved your logic…as would the industrial barons of England’s Industrial Revolution while gleefully pointing out how wonderful it was for people to have jobs in sweatshops.

    It also changes when you’re dealing with multinationals rather than primarily domestic corporations, because multinationals can direct the benefits of their profits towards growth outside the US, which they are obviously going to do given the hostile, anti-business environment created by our current tax and regulatory policies.

    You mean the other countries where they DO pay corporate taxes as compared to here in America where corporations like Exxon and General Electric pay NO corporate taxes?

    And let’s not forget how the Chamber of Commerce stood strong against Obama’s evil suggestion that the stimulus should not be used to buy goods and services from outside the U.S., or how the Republicans stood strong against Obama’s other evil proposal to give tax BREAKS to companies for bringing jobs back to America from overseas!

    Let us all marvel at the patriotism of the Chamber of Commerce and the Republican party!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    …and you really think it isn’t an established fact that the rich got much richer while the rest of us saw little or no improvement as a whole during the Bush years?

    I gave references showing the proof…so how about you disproving my references.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    …which they are obviously going to do given the hostile, anti-business environment created by our current tax and regulatory policies.

    I think Dave and his ilk have gone ’round the bend…”hostile??????”

    The tax rate had been reduced by Bush. Where are the jobs? Wouldn’t an improved economy have already been in evidence, if all your BS (cult-think) were to be believed?

    I suppose ‘friendly’, as opposed to ‘hostile’, would have everyone here competing for under a dollar a day.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    which they are obviously going to do given the hostile, anti-business environment created by our current tax and regulatory policies.

    Fake profits vs real profits?????? WTF kind of make-up junk is this? Are you for real or for fake?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/joseph-cotto/ Joseph Cotto

    Glenn, as you must know, when all is said and done, the only alternative to trickle down wealth is trickle up poverty. This has been seen in every country which has instituted a command, or heavily mixed, economy. While free enterprise does not in any way guarantee that milk and honey shall flow from the springs and down the River of Life for all to enjoy on an equal basis, it does, at the very least, provide all with the chance to attain financial success. That is good enough for me, and was good enough for our ancestors as well as the hundreds of millions of other immigrants which strived to become United States citizens over the centuries. Perhaps, before you inevitably go off on your next anti-capitalist screed, the alternative to the economic system which we currently enjoy should be considered. I am confident that you will find the grass is not at all greener on the other side.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um…Joseph –

    Look at ALL the first-world industrialized countries of the world. How many of them work on ‘trickle-down’ economics? Zero…unless you count America which started going down the path of Reaganomics thirty years ago.

    Look at all the great economies. China doesn’t count – they’re largely still a third-world country (and more capitalist than we are). Every single one of the first-world industrialized countries of the world – the British Commonwealth and the EU, Japan, South Korea, and us – ALL have social safety nets not found in third-world countries wracked by poverty.

    Furthermore, you’ll find that of all the first-world countries to which I refer, ALL of them have a greater tax burden on their wealthiest citizens than does the U.S., and NONE of them have as great a disparity between the highest-paid and their lowest-paid in their corporations as does the U.S., and NONE of them have such a gap as we do between our richest and poorest.

    But you know what? There are countries in the world that DO have as great a disparity between their richest and poorest – they’re ALL third-world countries.

    In other words, Mr. Cotto, you have a choice: you can go on supporting policies that are found in third-world countries but NOT in first-world countries…or you can support policies that are found in first-world countries but NOT in third-world countries.

    (Clavos – time for you to trot out your false argument again)

  • Doug Hunter

    By world standards, America is the “rich” and capitalism/free trade is leveling the playing field between us and developing nations, our wealth is trickling down to China/India/etc exactly as theorized. Normally those are things leftists could be proud of, the problem is they didn’t get to control the trickle, to take the money themselves and distribute it to their groups, buy their votes, and build their political power. Also, capitalist wealth tends to trickle down to the hard working, the educated, and the entrepeneurs, not the welfare class which is what many of their favorite stats measure, income inequality for example.

    *In case you weren’t aware the bottom quintile is made up mostly of single parents, the elderly, and others who don’t work while the upper quintile is made mostly of two earner families in their 50’s. When looked at over time a critical thinker would wonder if the change in family structure, the increase in single parent low earning households and the increase in dual earners at the top had anything to do with the changes over time. Non critical thinkers just look at the big shiny graph, think the world is unfair, and pull the Democrat lever. Me, I’m not sure what the exact difference in income should be between a single person not working and likely living on government benefits (that aren’t counted in order to make the disparity look worse) and a successful couple both working in their prime earnings years. In fact, both measures could be the same person at different points in their life.

    Otherwise, the rest of the article is the usual links to cherrypicked stats and garbage propaganda repackaged and spread by the drones (of which Glenn is a fine example) who haven’t had an original thought since Marx.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Okay, Doug –

    Name a first-world industrialized country that doesn’t have the kind of government-run social safety net that conservatives hate.

    Just one, that’s all I ask.

  • Doug Hunter

    #9

    Glenn, poor nations are a pitiful analogy much like using tribes to critique socialism or communism… it’s apples and oranges. You can’t have social services without money, period. That fact does nothing to bolster your argument for or against capitalism in a developed country. (except of course that capitalism has the best track record of making a poor country rich so they can become part of the debate).

    I associate capitalist ideas and mentality with growth and progress while socialism is focused on comfort and security. European nations have indeed built systems to make their populations more comfortable and secure in some ways, at the same time the US built systems like… computers and the internet, food production that allowed the world (including those poor countries you claim to care about) to feed it’s growing population, a large share of medical technology, etc.

  • Doug Hunter

    #11

    When you name me a single first world country who has contributed as much as we have to progress in technology, food production, and medicine as the US has in the last century that helps every human being on this planet.

    When you come up with yours I’ll come up with mine. Deal?

  • Doug Hunter

    Wow, I should really proofread before I post, #13 was horrible awkward and repetitive in it’s wording. You get the point anyway.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    You can’t have social services without money, period. That fact does nothing to bolster your argument for or against capitalism in a developed country. (except of course that capitalism has the best track record of making a poor country rich so they can become part of the debate).

    Ah – so the country becomes rich FIRST and THEN they start providing a social safety net. Is that what you’re saying?

    Let’s give you the benefit of the doubt – then you should be able, then, to easily point out a modern, first-world industrialized country that became rich and stayed rich without ever providing a social safety net.

    And to answer #11, that’s not as telling as you may think…because America has had a good social safety net from the late 1930’s until now, despite all the obvious flaws of said net. It’s called ‘Social Security’.

  • Arch Conservative

    Why do you guys even bother with Glenn?

  • Dan

    I want profitable corporations, I’ve invested much of my hard earned savings from working at the sawmill in corporate equities.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Glen,

    Assume for the moment that you are the Chief Executive Officer of Amalgamated Widgets, Inc., a publicly traded top ten manufacturer of widgets and other things in the United States. Your company has been reasonably successful for the last twenty-five years and you have some profits in hand; you could spend them on new plant facilities and on hiring and training perhaps several hundred more employees. Let’s further assume that you would like to do those things because you are and want to be seen as a good, socially responsible, CEO.

    You are well aware of the business uncertainties presented by anticipated additional federal emissions control regulations — your manufacturing processes and those of your suppliers emit carbon dioxide and you haven’t the foggiest notion whether or to what extent they are likely to be limited further. The answers which seem to be blowing in the wind are scary. Your employee medical insurance rates and the regulatory burdens associated with health care have both increased and a waiver has yet to be granted. You are also concerned about “card check” legislation/regulations.

    There are also concerns about the impact of economic problems in other countries, since about thirty percent of your widgets are exported and thirty-five percent of the supplies your company needs are imported. There are other international concerns as well: will there be increased upsets over Israel and the Palestinians? Has the Obama Administration played bait and switch in that theater? What about a mess brewing in Korea? How might these things affect Amalgamated Widgets, Inc. directly and, through her foreign suppliers and customers, indirectly? Your suppliers face similar problems and so do your customers. This is, in short, a period of substantial uncertainty.

    Would you, as CEO, push boldly forward to expand your plant, buy new equipment and hire new employees as you in your heart desire in the face of these and other uncertainties? Would you expect your stockholders to accept that with glee? Or would you and they think it best to try to maintain the status quo for now and see what happens?

    Dan(Miller)

  • Doug Hunter

    #15

    I feel fairly confident that social services cost money and are more a feedback (which can indeed be positive as you would duly note) of wealth/advanced economic systems than the other way around. That’s a subject too complex for a comment or to get into on a holiday weekend. We’ll must agree to disagree.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Y’know, I just thought of something this morning – if Democrats are so terrible for business, why is it that the best quarter for corporate profits in American history came when DEMOCRATS were in control of the House and the Senate, AFTER having taken over from a Republican administration in the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression (after having been handed a budget SURPLUS by the previous DEMOCRATIC administration).

    So…if Dems are so terrible for business, how exactly did that happen? After all, if we Dems are so terrible for business, instead of having the best quarter EVER for business (and it comes after the Great Recession!), we SHOULD have been even further down the road to another depression, right?

    So WHY didn’t it happen the way you guys think it should’ve happened?

    Oh – and one more thing – would any of you care to guess which president cut the deficit by the largest amount in American history? Here’s a hint – his last name starts with “O”. It wasn’t by the largest percentage – he cut the deficit by ‘only’ eight percent – but it was the largest amount.

    (When was the last time a Republican president cut the deficit by even one penny?)

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Glen, am I to gather from your comment #20 that you would rather praise Democrats and chastise Republicans than consider what you, as a businessman regardless of party affiliation, would do in the current climate of uncertainty as noted in Comment #18? I had thought that your article was intended to deal with the idiocy of “trickle down” as shown by the failure of business to invest profits in ways likely to “trickle down” to the less fortunate. After all, you asked,

    Why is it that US corporations are doing better than they ever have…but those factories are not being built and those jobs are still not being offered to Americans? Could it, might it just possibly be that Reaganomics is wrong?

    Obviously, praising Democrats and criticizing Republicans is easier and probably more congenial than focusing on business realities, albeit somewhat less useful for analytical purposes. I must confess that I am somewhat naive and had hoped for something more illuminating.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Doug Hunter

    Glenn, The snarky answer to your question is probably $trillions in government handouts to be repaid by our children later once those corporations move their headquarters overseas.

    The serious answer is the chaotic nature of the businesses cycle. The private sector has a huge hand in this and although government policies influence it to a large extent I think you underestimate how long it takes these policies to work their way through the system and take effect. For instance, I believe the technology boom/dot com bubble of the 90’s would have happened regardless of who became president in 1992 and with or without the Republican takeover of the house in 1994. The groundwork for that expansion had been laid by previous policies and the direction of industry. The free trade and housing policies that were settled on then had as much effect on our current situation as many of the actions of Bush, Obama, and the Democratic congress. Economies ebb and flow whether it’s North Korea, Iraq, Germany, or the US. North Korea’s growth exceeding the South’s in 2008 had nothing to do with better governance, it had to do with chaotic business patterns, the same ones you try to deny exist. Government policies point your economy in a direction, but it’s a damn wobbly drunk on it’s way there and you never know which side of the road you’ll find it on.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    The general consensus among progressives is that America is still in the thrall of Reaganomics – and yes, we DO blame Democrats too, particularly Clinton for signing the repeal of Glass-Steagal (even though it was handed to him with by a veto-proof Republican majority backed by blue-dog DINOcrats).

    The difference is that while the Democrats are trying to get Republicans to agree that Reaganomics does not work and that we should get back to a saner fiscal policy that worked quite well for forty years before Reagan, the Republicans frankly don’t give a damn what we think…and I think you can agree with that statement.

    Until the Democrats grow a pair and force America back into a saner economic system, we’re still going to have this deregulated boom-bust cycle that brought us the 1982 recession, the 1987 S&L crisis, the 1990 recession, and the Great Recession. IMO of all the economic crises we’ve weathered since the advent of Reaganomics, only the dot-com boom is not a direct result of Reaganomics, of the idea that we can never have enough deregulation and tax cuts.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    I typed comment #23 before I read your comment – and as you see, I agree that the dot-com bubble had little or nothing to do with Reaganomics. All the other economic crises since Reagan took over, however, certainly DID. Business cycles DO occasionally result in nationwide or even worldwide economic troubles…

    …BUT it’s a fatal error to assume that the government’s policies don’t have an overarching effect on the function of business as a whole. The easy proof of this is every single example of monetary deflation in history – businesses can’t force deflation. ONLY the government can do that!

    Conversely, only the government can tighten the money supply to control inflation. Only the government (or in our case, the Fed) can tighten or loosen interest rates for the banks to borrow money (see the LIBOR rate). Only the government can set tariffs to protect internal businesses and industries. Only the government can use tax incentives like cuts, breaks, and credits to encourage businesses to build or expand in a certain location. Only the government has enough money to invest to build infrastructure on a grand scale (see Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway system, our military-industrial complex (with all its civilian spin-offs), our space program (with all the comms satellites that are CRUCIAL to everyday business)).

    Perhaps most of all ONLY THE GOVERNMENT can keep the level of corruption down to where business can function well (see any third-world country). Yes, there’s always corruption to some extent – but a country with a very high level of corruption is not nearly as capable in the business arena as a country with a low level of corruption (and China, as far as Asia goes, only surpasses the nations of S. Korea and Japan when it comes to corruption…but it’s still largely a third-world country).

    I could go on all day, Doug. Yes, the chaotic nature of business can and does sometimes bring us booms and busts…BUT whether you like it or not, the above examples prove beyond ANY reasonable doubt that the function of a nation’s GOVERNMENT usually has far more to do a nation’s economic health than the function of business therein.

    Why? It’s almost precisely like regulating traffic. The government doesn’t provide the cars or the time and effort to get us back and forth to work…but the government DOES provide the roads and the traffic regulations that DO enable us to travel to and fro more quickly, more safely, than we can do otherwise…

    …and I heartily invite you to the Philippines so you can see what traffic becomes when laws aren’t enforced!

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Glen, in what I had hoped might be a responsive comment, you say in Comment #23 nothing responsive to the question I had posed in my Comment #18. As noted in my Comment #21 soliciting a substantive response,

    Obviously, praising Democrats and criticizing Republicans is easier and probably more congenial than focusing on business realities, albeit somewhat less useful for analytical purposes. I must confess that I am somewhat naive and had hoped for something more illuminating.

    You did, after all, write the article. Should I give up? Or have you perhaps already answered that question?

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan – As much as some here would like to claim otherwise, party politics IS integral to business reality – my last reply to Doug should show that! I wasn’t trying to avoid your question – I was simply showing that it’s a mistake to underestimate the impact of party politics on the business world.

    For instance, Republicans like to claim that Dems create a ‘hostile’ business climate…until there’s news that shows business doing well under Dems, at which point they quickly claim that politics doesn’t really affect business that much. Sound familiar?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, the Democrats only create a business hostile to free enterprise. They have created an environment quite friendly to monopolies and state-dependent parasitic businesses.

    Dave

  • Cannonshop

    It’s funny, Glenn-I’m driving a friend who’s been out of work for more than a year to a job interview this morning.

  • Clavos

    Perhaps most of all ONLY THE GOVERNMENT can keep the level of corruption down to where business can function well (see any third-world country).

    Unless, of course, the government itself is the prime source of corruption, as is the case in most of the third world, and increasingly, right here in the “good” old USA.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    Glenn, the Democrats only create a business hostile to free enterprise. They have created an environment quite friendly to monopolies and state-dependent parasitic businesses.

    And you base this claim on…what, exactly? Oh, I forgot – your claim must be true because You Just Know It…and that’s all the proof you need.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    My oldest son – the one with the degree in business and a few months away from his MBA – has been out of work for over a year, too, despite hundreds of job applications and scores of interviews.

    What happened? Easy. Thanks to Reaganomics and ‘free trade’, we had that ‘great sucking sound’ of jobs leaving for Mexico and overseas. Like I said earlier, we blame Clinton for this, too, along with all the Republicans who were oh-so-sure that if only we’d allow businesses to do whatever they wanted to do – including outsourcing to wherever – then everything would work out swimmingly…despite the fact that other countries still charge tariffs and taxes on imports when we don’t.

    And every single one of you know who it was that pushed for deregulation and ‘free trade’. Republicans, DINO’s…and Clinton.

    C-shop! Who was it that protested so loudly when Obama wanted to ensure the stimulus would be spent only on goods made in America? The Chamber of Commerce! Who was it that opposed in lockstep Obama’s plan to give tax breaks to companies who brought jobs back to the U.S. from overseas? The Republicans!

    No sir, C-shop – you want to blame somebody, blame the people who were more concerned with stopping Obama from succeeding in anything at all even when his proposals were in the very best spirit of traditional conservatism!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Very good – you agree that a government that is less corrupt is better able to keep down the corruption in business!

    But if government does nothing at all, then there is NOTHING to stop the corruption that will rule the business community. Are you so naive to believe that without government regulation, that the magical free market corporations will simply police themselves and corruption will go away by itself?

    Clavos, the business community rarely if ever polices itself. Only governments can do that. If you get government out of the way, then corruption will reign supreme…and I think you know it.

    So what’s the solution? Get the government out of the way? Or simply get the government to regulate honestly and well? If you simply throw up your hands in the air and say, “the government can’t do it because they’re incompetent”, then you’re a shining example of the saying, “can’t never could”…meaning, if you give up and don’t try, you’re sure to fail.

    But government regulation and earnest efforts to curb corruption DO work – that’s a big reason why first-world countries are first-world countries…and third-world countries aren’t.

    “Can’t never could”, Clavos. Getting government out of the picture is tantamount to allowing corruption to run rampant at will. Is that really what you want?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    As one of the long-term unemployed, I can tell you I don’t blame trade agreements and outsourcing. They had little or nothing to do with the Great Recession and the Slow Recovery.

    Companies are just being overly cautious — they cut a lot of jobs in a panic, and are adding them back as slowly as they can get away with. Conservatives have an ideological explanation: businesses have been battered by Democratic policies. This is as ridiculous as talking about a ‘giant sucking sound’ as an explanation.

    Private companies have added jobs every month this year so far. They will add more. A recovery from a recession this deep was never going to be fast.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    When even David Stockman is talking about how ridiculous it is to extend tax cuts using borrowed money, it is a sign that ‘trickle down’ has seen better days.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Somehow, Handy, I don’t think any conservatives are going to address your comment #34….

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I am by now accustomed to crying alone in the wilderness.

  • Clavos

    Very good – you agree that a government that is less corrupt is better able to keep down the corruption in business!

    But I didn’t agree (although in your response you clearly assume I did) that the US government is less corrupt than American business. On the contrary, the federal government AND state and municipal governments in this country are more corrupt than the business world — far more. The various governments are better able to get away with and conceal their corrupt practices — they make and enforce the laws — but that doesn’t mean they are cleaner, they aren’t.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Instead of pretending that businesses and governments are all angels, or all devils, we could simply agree that they are all run by imperfect humans prone to greed and the lust for power. And set up rules and regulations and transparency accordingly.

    It’s when we set up rigid ideological formulas — all government regulation is suspect and ‘freedom killing,’ or all big companies are malicious — that trouble erupts.

    It is possible — and necessary! — to protect ourselves from the bad behavior in both business and government.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    But if you take away the government, it’s very much like any other human community without rules – lawlessness. Business will NOT operate ethically without regulation of one sort or another by an authority with oversight capability.

    Just think, Clavos – what threats would you face if none of your competitors had to worry about breaking the law and going to jail?

  • Clavos

    On the relative efficiency of, and the rewarding of success in, the private sector as compared to the public sector.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You really refuse to address the issue of exactly how ethically businesses would behave if there were no government oversight, don’t you?

    Your reference said: n the private sector, success means making money. True, clever CEOs can fudge the numbers for a time, but for business frauds, jail awaits. Because government helps keep business honest, private-sector profits ultimately determine success..

    And that’s precisely what I’ve been saying all along, isn’t it? Your reference’s only point is that government and the public sector generally does a poor job of policing itself…which is precisely why on this thread I’ve been arguing that four things are crucial to freedom: the rule of law, freedom of the press, a strong middle class, and a strong military. The first two factors are what are necessary to policing the public sector.

    But it all boils down to the FACT that removing government oversight of the private sector WILL allow corruption therein to go unchecked. Why? Profits. Corporations will do everything for profit – and if there is no legal oversight, then they will operate in lawlessness. Examples of this fact are legion, Clavos.

  • Clavos

    So that’s what’s bothering you, Glenn? Your perception that I want to eliminate government oversight of the private sector?

    Well, rest easy, my friend, for I have no such idea in mind and never said I did. What I would like to see is better oversight of the government and all who work in it — I would like to see government workers held accountable for their actions and government agencies reporting to the public, rather than the other way around, as it is now. I would like to see individual government managers and directors held responsible for disasters like the TSA. I would like to see the government removed from competition with the citizens in areas like education, energy and agriculture. And I would like to see the government stop trying to effect social change by fiat, especially when the people are opposed.

    Other than that, I think government is fine, except, of course, for the US government.

    And I definitely do not see evil in profit, as you do. Corporations will do everything for profit…

    Yep. Good thing, too — it’s the motivator behind the wealth of this country — wealth which, until recently, was unprecedented in the history of the world — until the government started meddling…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yes, everything for profit – legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, harmless or harmful…

    …need I go on?

    Something I learned during my career in government service – yeah, that service that you hate so much – is to do work not because it is profitable, but because it is the right thing to do.

    Profit is NOT always right.

  • Clavos

    Yes, everything for profit – legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, harmless or harmful…

    A canard — and you know it.

    But fine, let’s destroy the private sector, take away their profits — and watch this already sinking country (thanks to its government) collapse under the weight of its government debt.

    to do work not because it is profitable, but because it is the right thing to do.

    Oh puleeze. The government doing something — anything — because it’s “the right thing to do?”

    What a crock…

  • Clavos

    Here’s how your government’s because it’s the right thing to do shtick is working out in health care, Glenn.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    A ‘canard’? Really?

    Didja happen to notice a little oil spill that occurred over in the Gulf earlier this year? You know, the one that occurred because BP and Halliburton ignored safety rules for the sake of profit?

    And then there’s the Exxon Valdez which happened after Big Oil fought so hard against being required to use double-hull tankers?

    And let’s not forget the coal mine disaster earlier this year – not the one in Chile where the mining company followed the safety rules and all the men were saved, but the one where 26 Americans died because the mining company bypassed safety rules and fired (or threatened with firing) those who spoke up about it?

    Yes, Clavos, corporations WILL do everything they can for profit – legal or illegal. Why? It’s called corporate momentum. When profit, profit, profit overrides all other considerations, people die. This has been proven over and over and over again…

    …and you STILL don’t get it?

    And by the way, your reference is a joke. Why? Instead of comparing America to other first-world industrialized democracies, it’s using VENEZUELA as an example to attack Obama and his tyranny-in-progress. So how about doing something different like comparing apples to apples, instead of apples to dictatorships?

    Here’s a good place to start. Yes, it’s on Daily Kos, so you’ll automatically ASSUME that it must be wrong and socialist and communist and evilevilevil…

    …but instead of ignoring it, how about READING the data therein? How about seeing how well our vaunted health care system is performing for ALL the American people, and not just the fortunate who can afford it?

    Ah, but I keep forgetting – just like Roger said, y’all really don’t care about the FACTS, and facts will never change your mind. That’s pretty sad, y’know.

  • Clavos

    Instead of comparing America to other first-world industrialized democracies, it’s using VENEZUELA as an example to attack Obama and his tyranny-in-progress.

    Probably because it’s been a while since Amerika could legitimately call itself a first world democracy. Democracy left the building quite some time ago, and our economy is steadily sliding into third world disaster. And, of course, there is more than a passing resemblance to Chavez on the part of Mr. Obama — both insist on pushing their ideas on the populace, regardless of what the people want.

    Facts in and of themselves have little meaning, Glenn, it’s how they are interpreted which counts — but then, you know that, perhaps better than anyone on BC, as evidenced by your constant drawing of unwarranted conclusions from the “facts” you so eagerly present. DK is no better in that arena, and yes, I give them (DK) little credence — in much the same way you give the right little credence, so we apparently have us a Mexican standoff (Love that concept!)

  • Clavos

    Didja happen to notice a little oil spill that occurred over in the Gulf earlier this year?

    You mean the spill the Obama administration ignored for several weeks, and then, when they finally woke up, botched their management of? That spill? The one in which certain members of the administration apologized to BP? That spill?

    As to the Valdez, it turned out that the captain was drunk, so I fail to see how a fixation on the pursuit of profit figured in that one. Alcoholics turn up in virtually every work place, including the cockpits of airliners and operating rooms in hospitals, so I suppose we should start incarcerating them when we find them — oh, wait, can we do that?

  • zingzing

    free market economics, in its pure state, leads to mass poverty, mass oppression, mass torture, mass hunger, war (if it didn’t start that way), and a few people (mostly gummit people) getting ridiculously rich. friedman and his ilk have been trying this shit since the 70s, and it’s never turned out right. if there’s a problem (such as the above), it’s not because free market economic theory is wrong, it’s always because there’s too much gummit meddling. the theory eats itself, and it never works.

    “trickle-down” ONLY leads to the rich getting richer, and the poor being starved and tortured.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Wow.

    He admits that our economy is sliding into the third world category…yet he continually insists that we MUST NOT do what the first-world industrialized democracies are doing, because they’re all ‘socialized’, I guess.

    Instead, he wants us to keep doing what Reagan started – which just so happens to be what third-world countries do: leave the rich alone to make all the money they want, and to hell with the rest of the people.

    If you want to be successful, Clavos, then do what successful people do. If you want to be a first-world industrialized nation, then do what first-world industrialized nations do. Is that really so hard to understand?

    No, it’s not – but it’s ‘socialist’ in the eyes of those who control your personal echo chamber, and so you must not ever, EVER consider doing what is PROVEN to work – because it’s against your oh-so-precious Republican dogma.

  • Clavos

    He admits that our economy is sliding into the third world category…

    Because the government, under both parties, but especially the Democrats, and especially the numbskull currently sleeping in the People’s House, has been micromanaging (and fucking up) the US economy for decades — ever since the 60s.

    Instead, he wants us to keep doing what Reagan started…

    Which resulted in the longest period of prosperity we have experienced since the 60s.

    And I’m not a Republican, Glenn. I don’t vote for Republicans unless they espouse my beliefs — ditto Democrats. I prefer to write in my own name in most presidential elections rather than vote for the scummy professional politicians this country breeds.

    If you want to be successful, Clavos, then do what successful people do.

    I am successful, Glenn, and I don’t care if you are or not, nor do I expect (or want) you (much less the government) to care whether or not I am. If the government takes care of me, it will expect a quid pro quo in return — a quid pro quo I’m not prepared to give it — it’s bad enough that more than half my income is stolen by the government as it is.

  • Clavos

    “trickle-down” ONLY leads to the rich getting richer, and the poor being starved and tortured.

    Apparently I’m not poor, I’ve never been starved or tortured, just robbed — by the “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

  • zingzing

    well, you don’t live in friedman’s dream, as he could never ever get that shit to pass around here. that would take an economic or natural/possibly war-related disaster, which is what he/they have piled their shit theory on for decades.

    and oh, how evil government is. do you wonder why anti-government governments are bad at governing? because they think what they’re doing is evil. that’s why.

  • zingzing

    passed. ahem.

  • zingzing

    wait. damn it. i was ok. my head sucks.

  • STM

    Clav: “right here in the “good” old USA.”

    Mate, you’re starting to sound ripe for a move to the aquatic playground down here in the antipodes. There are always spots for Mexican/Irish/Viking blokes selling boats.

    Although, we have a “government” too. The debate’s getting pretty lively down this neck of the woods right now.

    You just can’t get away from it.

  • Clavos

    Another view of the role of government (any government) in society, this time by Frederic Bastiat:

    “Nothing is more senseless than to base so many expectations on the state, that is, to assume the existence of collective wisdom and foresight after taking for granted the existence of individual imbecility and improvidence.”

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “Assume for the moment that you are the Chief Executive Officer of Amalgamated Widgets, Inc.”

    Thornton Melon: “What’s a widget?”

    Dr. Phillip Barbay: “It’s a fictional product…It doesn’t matter.”

    Thornton Melon: “It Doesn’t matter?! Tell that to the bank.”