Farm Bill Socialism in Senate

 

Republicans have criticized the socialism of Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but they should reflect on their own party’s socialist vote in the Senate yesterday. The upper chamber voted 87-13 for the bloated monstrosity known as the farm bill, which funds farm subsidies and food stamps. Republicans in the Senate voted in favor 38-13.

I’m less worried about the food stamp wealth distribution. After all, it is part of a safety net in a market economy. Its the corporate and industry control that is more worrisome: ” 807 pages of legalese laying out excruciating details on crop prices, acres, yields”. It also pays wealthy landowners who live in a city but qualify for subsidies because they finagle the rules that say they are farmers.

Some Republican hypocrites listed. But it is a bipartisan freak show.

 

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It’s time to champion capitalism’s extraordinary successes

Philip Booth:

And what is this case? For many in the world, the extension of globalisation has literally been a matter of life and death. In 35 years, the proportion of the world’s population that is living in extreme poverty has fallen from 44 per cent to 10 per cent. The global middle class is growing rapidly.

Capitalism. Nothing can beat it.

Charles Murray: Give Every Citizen $10,000 A Year In Disposable Income

From Sunday’s broadcast of The Revolution with host Steve Hilton on FOX News:

CHARLES MURRAY: Well the simplest case from the conservative point of view is the current system is awful and replacing it all by just giving people money is better, that was Milton Friedman’s argument who made the case a long time ago. That’s part of my reason. But the main reason is, well I’ve got a couple, one is that I think we’re going to see a revolution in the job market in the next 20 or 30 years that are going to require us to define what the meaning of a job is. I’m in a minority on that.

. . .

In my plan, I give $10, 000 a year of disposable income, health care is taken care of otherwise. Okay, on $10,000 a year, you can’t really make much of a decent living. If you get a job you could easily be above the poverty line, but guess what? If you’re a couple that’s $20,000 plus whatever you can get from a low-paying job. And all at once if that low-paying job pays $15,000 a year for each other you, that’s 30 plus 20, that’s 50, and you’re moving toward a middle-class lifestyle.

I’m open to the concept of a Universal Basic Income. The details matter. For my support, I’d need to see most other welfare programs replaced by the equivalent dollar amount from the UBI program. Also, many regulations should be cut back that supposedly buffer employees from job loss as a result of trade or technology, and other regulations.

This approach let’s the market process operate based supply and demand, and removes the distortions that arise from government intervention.

Recalling the Carter-Regean De-regulation and Tax Cutting Era

Phil Gramm and Micheal Solon:

But it wasn’t only the tax cuts, and it wasn’t only Reagan. To his credit, President Carter led the most significant deregulatory effort in the postwar era, reducing the regulatory burden on truckers, railroads, airlines and telecommunications, along with the interest rates paid by financial institutions. Reagan built on this Carter legacy by eliminating price controls on domestic oil and natural gas. These actions enhanced overall economic efficiency and amplified the effects of the 1981 tax cut and the 1986 tax reform.

But then they end with a too-partisan conclusion:

Economic growth faded as President Obama raised taxes and smothered the economy with unprecedented regulatory burdens.

They conveniently ignore President Bush (43) regulatory and spending smothering. It helped to build the deep state and bureaucracy just as the Obama years did, and from which we are struggling to emerge.

 

 

USDA: “We Know What’s Best”

I recently heard the radio advertisement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The tagline is “we know what’s best”.

How creepy. Worse, the supposed experts — NOT — suffer from the fatal conceit as explained by Friedrich A. Hayek. Here’s an appropriate quote from the book:

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

Federal Community Development Block Grants Re-distribute Upwards

A perfect example of how government programs get re-directed to the well-connected. From Politico:

San Francisco will get $19-a-person in community development block grants this year, while Allentown, with twice the poverty and less than half of the median income, will draw a per-capita allotment of $17.53….Community development block grants rely on outdated, 1970s formulas that have increasingly shuttled dollars to wealthy places like Newton, Mass., while other locales in need, such as Compton, Calif., go wanting.

As Chris Edwards notes, it gets worse:

The federal aid system generates no net value—it is simply a roundabout way of funding local activities. Taxpayers in San Francisco mail checks to the IRS to fund the CDBG program. Their money flows through the HUD bureaucracy, and then is dished out to bureaucracies in Harrisburg and Allentown, with some trickling down to local residents and businesses. Meanwhile, taxpayers in Allentown are also mailing checks to the IRS to fund the CDBG program. Their money flows through the HUD bureaucracy, and then is dished out to bureaucracies in Sacramento and San Francisco, with some trickling down to local residents and businesses.

The Finale:

“The federal aid system thrives not because it benefits the American people, but because it benefits governments and lobbyists.”

Here.

Measures of Freedom in the World

After all the hullabaloo from the GOP and Dem political conventions, I thought I’d remind everyone where the U.S. stands on global measures of economic freedom and human freedom.

Politics is toxic and deceptive. Rarely does the truth emerge from political conventions. So what was said at them, well, take with a grain of salt. Let’s look at the facts.

Economic freedom measures the level of voluntary exchange, property rights, regulations, and other indicators.

In 2013, the last year available, the US ranked 16 out of 197 countries and sinking. By contrast, in 2000 the US ranked 2 out of 123 countries, #3 in 2001, 5 or 6 from 2002 through 2008, then 10 in 2009, 12 in 2010, 16 in 2011, and 13 in 2012.

Here is an interactive map of the world.

Human freedom combines economic freedom with measures of social freedom such as freedom to exercise one’s religion, association, assembly, and expression. It measures a total of 76 indicators.

On this measure the US ranks 20 out of 152 in 2012, the latest year data are available.

Here.