Wednesday, March 19, 2008

E.J. Dionne doesn't know what a capitalist is...

Ironically, his essay in today's C-J was titled "Capitalists aren't so smart".

Although I like some of his work, we could title this one "E.J. Dionne isn't so smart".

Never do I want to hear again from my conservative friends about how brilliant capitalists are, how much they deserve their seven-figure salaries, and how government should keep its hands off the private economy.

The Wall Street titans have turned into a bunch of welfare clients. They are desperate to be bailed out by government from their own incompetence, and from the deregulatory regime for which they lobbied so hard....

Uhhh.....E.J., that's not capitalism. It's mercantilism, national planning, socialism, but there is no way to reconcile wealth redistribution to corporations as "capitalism".

I don't fault Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, for being so interventionist in trying to save the economy. On the contrary, Bernanke deserves credit for ignoring all the extreme free market bloviation. He doesn't want the economy to collapse on his watch, so he is willing to violate all the conservatives' shibboleths about the dangers of government intervention....

Uhhh...."Extreme free market bloviation"? There may be some, but it isn't influencing the debate at all. An absence of government intervention? We've just had an attempt at a "macro stimulus package" from Bush and the Democratic Congress. And the Fed has been quite busy for months trying to prop things up. Again, Dionne is peering through some foggy glasses.

But if this near meltdown of capitalism doesn't encourage a lot of people to question the principles they have carried in their heads for the last three decades or so, nothing will.

Huh? What will cause Dionne to question the bizarre definitions he carries around in his head?

We had already learned the hard way -- in the crash of 1929 and the Depression that followed -- that capitalism is quite capable of running off the rails. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was a response to the failure of the geniuses of finance (and their defenders in the economics profession) to realize what was happening or to fix it in time....

OK, this will take a far longer response-- and I will write an essay later this week on the New Deal (since it's the 75th anniversary this month). But the Great Depression was caused-- at the outset and certainly its length and depth by the federal government.


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