Friday, January 8, 2010

Republican "Ayn Rander" Rep. Paul Ryan and his Flim Flam Pro-Business vs Pro-Markets Psycho-Babble.

Watch out! Rep. Paul Ryan is attempting to redefine his free market positions into a nonsensical reasons to deregulate businesses and downsize government even more than before the great recession. With small and large businesses in control, citizens will have no one to turn to when the wheels fall off the economy again, and safety net providers will all be watching their bottom lines. Thomas Frank wrote what I've been meaning to blog for about a month now, and said it well.

WSJ-Thomas Frank:
Over the last year, the Republican Party … seemed to do little more than repeat catch-phrases you've heard dozens of times before … According to the demented logic of American politics … it might be the Republicans who seize the opportunity to capture public outrage this time around, denouncing concentrated economic power, insisting on holding big business accountable, and promising to settle scores with the nation's erstwhile financial rulers.

Given the GOP's doings over the past 30 years, such a reversal may strike you as implausible, if not downright ridiculous. But it can be done. The first step … is the essay by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) that appeared in Forbes magazine in December. Its title: "Down With Big Business." Ryan … "philosophy of governing" spelled out on his campaign Web site rails against the New Deal, "class envy economics," and a federal "regulatory leviathan."

Mr. Ryan's fund raising … come(s) from people or Political Action Committees associated with insurance, banking and a certain private equity firm that invests in banks and insurance companies. But the tone Mr. Ryan takes in his Forbes article makes him sound like the Jacobin of Janesville.

He savages "crony capitalism," pausing to note the "resentment" it is inspiring. He depicts the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP (he supported) … He complains about lobbying, offers the obligatory denunciation of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, and bemoans the economic disasters befalling small companies while the rescued banks enjoy "record profits."

But the problem … Government, in Mr. Ryan's view, is alternately the tool and the terror of big business, doing one firm's bidding as it crushes another one. The solution is to get government out of the game altogether, and Mr. Ryan fondly recalls the great deregulatory campaigns of the past (leaving out the embarrassing story of how he and his colleagues overturned Glass-Steagall and then watched the banking industry explode in a fireball of freedom).

The way to bring big business down is by deregulating even more. If this sounds twisted and counter-intuitive, that's because it is. This is an argument that might have sounded good in 1979 but for it to make sense today one has to disregard the wreckage all around us courtesy of three decades of regulatory rollback. Still, for a large part of the Republican base all this will no doubt ring true: the problem with big business is big government … the tail-chasing logic behind the "down with big business" rhetoric probably won't make any difference … we may be heading for the greatest burst of fake populism since those TV commercials 10 years ago that showed a mob breaking down the doors of a stock exchange—not because the revolution was on but because they wanted to trade like the pros, which the sponsor promised to let them do.

To be fair, Rep. Ryan gave the following "down the rabbit hole" response (with my notes added), that is only meant to confuse the terms "pro-business" with "pro-markets." Maybe that's why he accuses his own party of being "confused." Ryan's explaination mirrors Humpty Dumpty's in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

National Review: Thomas Frank’s column fails to distinguish the protection of large, established corporations with the promotion of free markets.

My own party neglected the principles it passionately championed in decades past. Republicans became more interested in securing political power as an end, rather than a means of limiting the federal government’s power over our lives. The Republican party has recently confused being pro-business with being pro-market … While Republicans were confused as to the meaning and practice of our principles, having the government double down on the crony capitalism that precipitated this crisis adds dead weight to the economy and expands, not reduces, the risk of future crises.
Nice try "Ayn" Ryan, but what are you basing "expands, not reduces, the risk of future crises" on, current laws that weren't enforced by Republican crony lawmakers and regulators and your free market theories that have proven to be disastrous?

This Humpty Dumpty logic is putting Ryan in the front of the line as some kind of economic genius here to save Republicans. Conservatives might be more confused after hearing Ryan speak, but that won't matter, because Ryan will appear confident and convinced he's right. So…he must be.
Below is a recent Air American interview of Thomas Frank by Ana Marie Cox, lamenting the opportunity lost by Democrats, passing on the populist movement served up to them by the Republican Great Recession.

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