Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Robert B. Reich and the problem of The Zero Economy: It's the stupidity, stupid!

Keeping right in line with our recent theme of leftists using words for decorations and visual impact, rather than for any actual meaning they might have, Robert B. Reich-shuh (H/T Rush) has written an article entitled “The Zero Economy”, and brought to our perusement amusement by our goad friend Lance. It's jam packed with loony leftie lingo, and is going to require a few posts to dig through, but it'll be worth it - certainly more worthwhile than the article it self is.

While I’ve got to say that I kind of like the title, obviously fitting for the present administration, the problem is that all the words below it are simply ridiculous. Reich, you should keep in mind, is looking at the economy from his perspective of being one of those experts who are continually surprised by ‘unexpected’ economic numbers, week after week after week, you know:

Experts were surprised at unexpectedly low jobs numbers”, “Experts were surprised by slower than expected economic growth”, “Experts were surprised this week by a sharp decline in the dollar”, “Experts were surprised this week by another Wall Street Crash”, etc

What for many of the rest of us is worth no more notice than a nod and muttered ‘duh’, for Reich & Co. they are matters of startling puzzlement, and so it isn’t too surprising that Reich’s diagnoses of the problem is one that only a proregressive leftist could give: Things aren’t bad because of proregressive policies, things are bad because proregressive policies haven’t been forced upon enough of us, enough.

He starts off surprisingly well enough, summarizing the dire nature of the situation in ways that the Obamanauts must find highly uncomfortable; noting that jobs growth in this economy is,

“In reality, worse than zero. We need 125,000 a month merely to keep up with population growth. So the hole continues to deepen.

Since this Depression began at the end of 2007, America’s potential labor force – working-age people who want jobs – has grown by over 7 million. But since then the number of Americans with jobs has shrunk by more than 300,000.”
But then, without skipping a beat, without even a twitch of self-reflection, he hopes for more of the same,
“...If this doesn’t prompt President Obama to unveil a bold jobs plan next Thursday, I don’t know what will.”
It’s good to see him acknowledge the reality that the economy is failing, but with that last sentence he exposes himself as being in denial of the fact that his preferred economic ideas, leftist through and through, which have dominated the economy for the last century, might have anything to do with the problem.

Fundamental to these leftist jobs killing ideas, is their denial that a businessmens concerns about market uncertainties (such as: "what do I really know about this situation? What can and should I do about it? Could I be punished for it?") could affect the decisions he makes concerning production, and that the real issue facing us, is that there is not enough consuming (of what?) going on. He says that:

“The problem is on the demand side. Consumers (whose spending is 70 percent of the economy) can’t boost the economy on their own. They’re still too burdened by debt, especially on homes that are worth less than their mortgages. Their jobs are disappearing, their pay is dropping, their medical bills are soaring.

And businesses won’t hire without more sales.

So we’re in a vicious cycle.

Republicans continue to claim businesses aren’t hiring because they’re uncertain about regulatory costs. Or they can’t find the skilled workers they need.

Baloney.... "
This line alone is just bizarre, “Consumers (whose spending is 70 percent of the economy) can’t boost the economy on their own....”. Seriously, think about that. It is the very root of leftist, Keynesian, economic philosophy, that consuming is what makes an economy work, and that spending is the magic elixir which enables the economic engine to run.

Spending what?

The answer they give to that question is what is forever threatening to unravel the mind boggling stupidity of leftist economic thought. Their answer is:

Now, at first glance that may not seem so bizarre, I mean... how else are you going to make a purchase, bring a goat to the counter? But actually, bringing a goat to the counter would be a far more rational thing to do than what the leftist means when he mouths the word ‘money’. If you’ve been paying attention to the theme of the last few posts, that’s the key. That the word you hear a leftist say, isn’t likely to mean what you thought they meant when they said it – the meaning is much more likely to be found in the meaning they meant to ignore.

The Keynesian does not think of money as having or conveying value, or even of representing value, but as a mechanism, so vast and complex, as to be able to successfully fool people into believing in an effect that has never actually been caused. Ben Bernanke's cure-all, quantitative easing (which means printing, or digitizing money) is thought to be a good idea, not because anything of value is created through the ‘printing’, but because churning out billions of new ‘dollars’ into the economy will juggle enough bad checks in high enough quantities, passing through enough hands quickly enough, so that the economy will suddenly appear to ‘function’.

And they don’t see a problem with this. Primarily, because, as leftists, they are far more concerned with appearances  than with reality itself, and there’s a reason for that - leftist philosophy tells them that appearances are all we can ever really know, that nothing can really be known to be true, and that people wouldn’t respond to it if they did, because they don’t believe people really make choices, let alone reasoned ones. The leftist believes that our actions are determined by our reactions to how things appear to be, not to something as unknowable as the truth and our concern for it and for what is right and wrong.

When Reich, Krugman and the rest speak of ‘stimulus’, they aren't looking at it as a way to provide a solution to what is wrong with the economy - that sort of thought never enters their mind - they only intend to nudge the mechanism into action once again. They literally mean it as a means of stimulating economic activity, as in 'Stimulus & Response', just as Pavlov’s dogs salivation was determined by the ringing of a bell. They are practicing economic determinism upon us, which is a reflection of their rejection of the concept of free will - they believe that human actions are caused by reactions to their environment, rather than from their own inner desire to pursue happiness, and therefore experts need to be set in charge of arranging the form and content of the peoples environment so as to make it a happy place for one and all.

This is ‘true’ of leftist thought in economics, it is true of leftist thought in education, it is true of leftist thought in politics, because leftist thought, in its fundamentals, is opposed to liberty - without free will, there is no liberty. It is founded upon the idea that you are incapable of making a choice, it believes that reason is not a tool for discovering what is true, but for tricking or forcing people to comply with you, and it believes that expert legislators should practice that and more, in order to ‘force them to be free’, as Rousseau put it.

It is anti- life, it is anti- liberty, it is anti-happiness and it is in full control of all the seats of ‘Experts’ in this nation. Is that a lot to put upon 'the dismal science' of economics? Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources, which have alternative uses - the meaning of 'Use' in that sentence varies hugely, depending on whether you think that people are and should be free to make their own choices about what to use and how much of it, or that they must be nudged into action by those who know better what we should be allowed to use because it's best for us to use.

But reality always has the last laugh, and if you're paying attention you can hear it chuckling as we bumble along - one of those chuckles can be heard whenever a market bubble pops - that’s a sign that the reality of those original bad checks, in one form or another, are beginning to be discovered, and Keynes, Marx, and all the rest are being refuted yet again.

Read Descartes, read Rousseau, read Hume, read Kant, read Hegel... because Marx certainly did, and so did Keynes. And because too many of us haven’t, or worse - we stand today completely unarmed before their descendants.

Unfortunately, rather than looking into the truth of the matter, economists like Robert B. Reich react to them with calls for more of the same.

And so I say again, the problem with leftist thought is the stupidity, stupid!

Don’t chuckle, they’re deadly serious. And if you think I’m overstating the case... hang on with me for a few posts and see what you think then.


Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this Van. The sad thing is that all of this economics talk makes me feel pretty dim. The only thing that I feel pretty sure of is that as far as I am concerned it hurts America when companies take their business overseas.

I know they are free to do that./ I just think the loss of those jobs is just one of the reasons we are in the mess we are in right now.

Van Harvey said...

Lance said “The only thing that I feel pretty sure of is that as far as I am concerned it hurts America when companies take their business overseas.”

And so I’m sure you’re against the head of President Obama’s ‘Committee on Jobs!’, Jeffery Immelt of GE... who is packing up and sending two factories from the U.S., to China, yes? What do you think about his Justice Dept which is harassing Gibson Guitar, raiding their factories in SWAT gear, threatening to make it impossible to do business, while suggesting that they ‘send their manufacturing jobs to Madagascar’? Links to both in this post.

The fact is that companies choosing to do business overseas, isn’t itself a problem, if legit, and will benefit the American worker through expanding their own wealth (more availability of products and less price).


But if they are going because they are being forced out of America by massive regulations and to a much lesser extent, taxes (total up the combined costs of regulations from OSHA, EPA, FTC, SEC, NLRB, Sarbanes-Oxley... not just in the measures they require, but the cost of documenting and complying with the paperwork – Sarbanes-Oxley alone kept a team of 8 very well paid programmers such as myself, at a medium sized company, at work for 8 months on just a portion of compliance – and no, it didn’t create jobs, actual projects (which required more people than us)which would have benefited their business, and would have offered more options to their customers, were cancelled, to assign us to this pestilent drain on the economy) – the cost of regulations Dwarf the cost of taxes – and it is IMPOSSIBLE for businesses to keep their manufacturing operations, in America.

“I just think the loss of those jobs is just one of the reasons we are in the mess we are in right now.” You’re dead-on right on that count.

“The sad thing is that all of this economics talk makes me feel pretty dim.”

;-) I’ve got a couple more posts coming on this, one that’ll break economics down so that anyone, even an economist, could understand it.

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