Friday, March 31, 2006


Free Lunchonomics

This month's bulletin from that epicenter of moral uplift, Hillsdale College, has a long screed by Steve Forbes. The monstrosity of the lies therein deserves a moment of reverent silence. In the real world, as anyone can look up, Reagan cut taxes and deficits rose. Bush I and Clinton raised taxes and deficits declined. Bush II cut taxes and deficits increased. Forbes: "As we've seen time and again, tax cuts do not mean a loss of tax revenue." Forbes lives in an alternate reality, a universe of anti-truth: call it the Antiverse. In the Antiverse, The Great Depression was caused by the Smoot-Hawley tariff and Herbert Hoover's attempt to balance the budget by raising taxes. The collapse of asset value caused by the crash of a wild, speculative stock market and the consequent wave of failures of uninsured banks had nothing to do with it. The main bit of ugly antitruth in this speech is Forbes equation of Communism with New Deal economics. Against this, he poses a unicorn called "Democratic Capitalism." It bears no resemblance to this universe's "democratic capitalism" whose valiant workings we are told by the Administration are responsible for the joy and progress manifest in Iraq. Some of the bigger laughers: 1. "philanthropy and capitalism are two sides of the same coin". In the real world, the wealthy are not markedly more generous than average and are less generous than the poor. Sometimes, as with Ted Turner's gift to the UN, they figure out how to make the US Treasury pay for their "generosity." 2. "Statistics show that the U.S. is ... the most philanthropic nation in human history." Outside of the Antiverse, statistics show that the U.S. is one of the most miserly of nations. 3. "If I were dictator of the world... I would ban trade numbers..." Fortunately that would leave the world prime numbers, whole, numbers, irrational numbers, and fractions, at least until they also displeased Dictator Forbes. 4. "Without individual equality before the law, entrepreneurs cannot challenge already existing businesses." Upstarts displacing established wealth is, of course, what Steve Forbes (who inherited all his wealth) is in favor of. Har har. This speech being delivered at Hillsdale College, morality had to be brought into the whole thing. Making money is virtuous, Forbes tells us, while caring about displaced workers is sinful. You see, it's all a big misunderstanding. "The reason that the great economic debate continues into the 21st century despite the proven superiority of free markets ... is because of the misperceptions that keep democratic capitalism from capturing the moral high ground." "Misperceptions" like keeping tobacco and asbestos on the market long after they were known to cause fatal diseases, driving down wages, denying people health care, breaking the law to prevent union organizing, turning people against one another to keep them from defending their rights, creating a tyranny at home, wrecking the planet's ecology, and starting endless wars abroad. Oh, sorry, Mr. Forbes. I see now that none of this was due to the excessive power of money corrupting the political system. It was all because we allowed liberal bureaucrats to compile trade numbers. They really should call the place Hellsdale College.
Makes me glad that Forbes is a sucky politician. He got his butt kicked to the curb the one time he tried it.
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