liberal activists standing behind police lines clapping and chanting. harlem shake is playing in the background. the bass drops. property destruction and resistance to police ensues.
Showing posts tagged liberalism
We obviously don’t live in a perfectly libertarian world, but libertarians have had a pretty impressive winning streak in recent decades, especially on economic policy. Income tax rates are way down. Numerous industries have been deregulated. Most price controls have been abandoned. Competitive labor markets have steadily displaced top-down collective bargaining. Trade has been steadily liberalized.
Simultaneously, the intellectual climate has shifted to be dramatically more favorable to libertarian insights. Wage and price controls were a standard tool of economic policymaking in the 1970s. No one seriously advocates bringing them back today. The top income tax bracket in the 1950s was north of 90 percent. Today, the debate is whether the top rate will be 35 percent or 39 percent.
Timothy B. Lee, who’s a libertarian (although often a pretty good read on tech issues and why abolishing software patents would be a good idea) and is saying this like it’s a good thing. This was from early 2011, before Occupy. Back when taking credit for the changes to the US economy since the 70s sounded like a good idea.
Now, of course, you say things like this and people start to figure out that that’s also when middle class income growth stagnated, and start wondering if the liberals’ willingness to adopt a libertarian intellectual framework might have something to do with it. It’s been so long since there’s been an actual Left in this country it’s pretty depressing. One of these days I’m going to write a bigger rant about the uselessness of the Democratic Party.
Here’s a cool thing about neoliberal policy: you can justify any kind of terrible proposal by invoking the idea of a market and throwing more weight on the back of that already overburdened word “choice.”
So I could say, “This certainly looks like a way to run a low-skill temp agency giving weeks of free labor to employers, employers who already probably have monopsony power and labor that is effectively deskilled, with taxpayers picking up the tab.” A neoliberal would then respond, “Well this program gives people the market dynamism of the choice to be choosing in the market of choice for the market of uncompensated labor, a choice market that synergizes with employer’s full choice of market wages,” and in our age that would somehow constitute a strong retort. Repeat that enough and the policy fellowships will just start falling into your lap.