Mike Konczal of the Washington Post sets Buckley and Friedman and all conservatives and libertarians as wrong and then laments that there is still not enough Keynesian policy to go around.
From the get-go, the author treats as a foregone conclusion that Milton Friedman would have approved of current quantitative easing policy, because he was, like, totally the biggest Keynesian in the history of the world.
He points to three blog-posts, (are blog-posts and columns now interchangeable? I wonder if Krugman takes offense at being called "just a blogger," heh) all of which are making the same false assertions and foolish assumptions that Friedman would have approved of the current policy. But, especially in Krugman's case, much of the problem lies in an over-compensation of bad outcomes. Krugman is discounted at the end of his very first paragraph. As if the projected 2013 deficit of over $6 billion of deficit is not a bad number, we have found that the 2009-2012 numbers all exceed $1 Trillion.
Konczal wants to belie Buckley's work against Keynesian economics, but in practice, it actually shows what brilliance Buckley had:
"In his first book 'God and Man at Yale' (1951), William F. Buckley went through four of the new, post-war Keynesian introductory economics textbooks, paying special attention to Samuelson's blockbuster 'Economics' (1948), and accused them of preaching a 'brand of collectivism.' Buckley conceded that, when it came to them, one wouldn't find 'textbooks who advocated the overthrow, violently or otherwise of all vestiges of capitalism' but that 'approach is not needed to accomplish, ultimately, the same transformation.'"
Is that not what is happening before our very eyes? Buckley is being proved right, but look how the author decides to say that Buckley "conceded" the notion. He saw that all that was needed was for one economist, who was pro-government intervention, to teach the minds of economists for decades, in order to change the mindset of a capitalist nation into one of government-centric collectivism.
"Samuelson's book uses the metaphor of a car lacking a steering wheel three times throughout it. For example: 'The private economy is not unlike a machine without an effective steering wheel or governor. Compensatory fiscal policy tries to introduce such a governor or thermostatic control device.' Though Milton Friedman introduced a lot of new tools and ideas, and ended up in a much different place than Samuelson (and was a hero to conservatives like Buckley), he too was part of this debate on how to best stabilize the economy. This stabilization could be monetary or fiscal, discretionary or rules-based, but the fact that the government was undertaking it meant that the overall state of the economy was a public problem."
And of course, if the economy is always off-kilter, it is always in the mode of "needing to be fixed" and with, Samuelson, that meant government needs to fix it. Friedman rejected vast government intrusion, and Konczal glosses over that fact in order to come to his over-compensation for Keynesian theory. That it is solely the government that needs to undertake the problems associated with an economy which is no longer based on free-market capitalism. People like Konczal will never concede that our economy is not a free economy, even though that is a fact. It is clumsily guided by the heavy-hand of government, consistently off-kilter, and consistently being fed poison to heal it.
And now, which is it? Is the author saying on the one hand that Friedman was the father of Keynesian policy, or is he saying that Samuelson was? This is the one problem that so vexes me about libs. Given that Friedman and Samuelson were at opposing ends, you can't use Friedman for your shame-hammer. But logic never stops the left from making their non-points.
"One can spend an entire lifetime debating the distinction between "public" and "private," but for this post let's use an approach from John Dewey."
Oh, here we go. John Dewey is clearly on the public side of the debate, so the purposes of using him is not just "for this post," but it is also to argue in favor of government intrusion. But, that aside, what does Dewey say?
"In 'The Public and Its Problems' (1927), Dewey argued that the public is involved wherever an action between two people has consequences 'that extend beyond the two directly concerned.' Given 'that they affect the welfare of many others, the act acquires a public capacity.' And as such needs a public response. And conservatives reject this."
You're damn right we do. For one thing, it is such a sweepingly broad brush. Action between two people always has consequences. Konczal is arguing for government intervention in all things. In fact, he is arguing for government control, the iron fist of totalitarianism, the crushing and eradication of a free society.
Whether it be better for government to control the people or for the people to control themselves and the government is the main question answered by the founders of the nation. When in doubt, trust thyself.
We are not a nation of classes of people, we are a nation of individuals with hopes, dreams and aspirations, all of which are threatened by the massive growth of the federal government. There is no middle-class if anyone can rise from nothing to become out-of-this-world successful. Wasn't Bill Clinton a poor kid from nowhere? Wouldn't you say he shot right past the middle-class? Is Obama the poster-kid for the middle-class? How so? What is the middle-class, and if you are born into it, are you always destined to die in it? These questions are clearly way over the head of Konczal but in all cases, unless you decide to be on the Dewey/Samuelson/Clinton/Obama side, where you can use government (otherwise known as the public's bank account) to become an elite, you will forever be controlled and manipulated by them so that they can keep their lavish lifestyle on the taxpayer's dime. And the funny thing about this whole private vs. public argument, is that there are only just a few governing elites, and unless the author watches out, he's going to have to beg them at some point to get what he wants.
Unless you are at the top of the heap of big government, you can only try on the clown pants, not wear them.
Conservatism relies on the individual greatness of ordinary Americans, and that the nature of human beings, when allowed to be 'free to choose' will better determine fairness and equality than those seeking to be the puppet-masters. This thinking is classical liberalism, freedom. Konczal offers and defends a slavish mentality.
The conservative believes that, when given the opportunity, man will better himself. We believe everyone can rise to their fullest potential. And, if it is your fullest potential to be 'middle-class,' then that is success. If it is your fullest potential to become the highest-paid female in media, you'll have Oprah to contend with. But, you have to want to do the work. With the current 'safety-hammock' policies, you will be less likely to retreat from the clutches of government. And of course, that is by design, since the ruling elite need those who are soft enough to rule.
Konczal spends way too much ink arguing against 'huge inequality' when the country is four years past the largest single Keynesian 'stimulus' that was supposed to stop it from happening. He has also repeatedly used words like 'purely private' and 'any notion of public' and "no public' and 'all public', whenever there is a questioned notion of conservatism, and it reflects his ideology of absolutism and tyrannical rule. Why, if conservatives would like less government, they are against government, he surmises. It's all-or-nothing. But life isn't all-or-nothing, and neither is nature. Just as a horse will shake his head and then rear against reins held too tightly, the elites will lose control by holding on too tight, and the situation will become more urgent, resulting in rebellion.
Government must have respect for the ability of man to make and create and govern himself. The inversion of this, is what is being forced upon us today, with the promotion of Keynesian policy and the rejection of the free market of Smith and Friedman.