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The Case For Doing Nothing

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In Politico today is a very tendentious column about our national government doing nothing, rather than launching an "ill-fated" economic stimulous package to jump-start our economy. The piece is tendentious because it is heavily biased toward several assumptions, not one of which is correct.

Here is one of the explicit statements:
"It's brutal, but it's called capitalism, and it works. The alternative is called socialism, and it doesn't work."

The problem with this statement is not that "disaster capitalism" is not brutal. It certainly is. The problem is twofold: the assertion that capitalism works and the assertion that socialism does not work. If capitalism, unfettered and left to itself worked, we would not be in the fix we are in today. The problem these people have with socialism is the governance part, and they take their example from the "command economies" of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, pointing to their failures, but never pointing to the fact that none of these countries had anything remotely approaching a democracy. Their confusion, the one they are trying to sell, is that socialism is dictatorship, and that is just false. It is disingenuous as well, but it is good demagoguery and effective if not answered.

That is the explicit tendentiousness of the Do Nothing Crowd. The implicit part is housed in the "brutality" they freely admit. The practitioners of Do-Nothingist, Free-market, Libertarian Capitalism are insulated (for now) from the ravages of the brutality. They stand to keep their jobs, homes, college funds, etc., and they don't give a damn about those who will not. But, beyond this, the DoNothing people are isolationist. They completely ignore the fact that the health of the U.S. economy is vital to the world's many smaller economies.

DoNothing people are naïve atomists and know nothing about organic connections among economies. Their espousal of political and economic "brutality" ignores the falling of small governments in small, new democracies. They don't give a damn!

These DoNothing people will lose because they do not understand. They are relying on a fable of 18th c. capitalism, pre-industrial and completely outdated. But, as these DoNothing cultists delay the first aid our economy and the world's economies need—a Marshall Plan for Recovery from the results of Libertarian Free-Marketeer madness—they insure not only their own demise, but the brutal battering of millions of innocent Americans and people across the globe. I can easily deal with their demise, but the rest must be treated humanely.

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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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