I'm Pretty Sure We Are Not Going to Get Any Deficit Reduction

Via Reason, from the man Obama personally appointed to lead the Deficit Commision

"America needs a 21st century economic plan because we now know the market-worshipping, privatizing, de-regulating, dehumanizing American financial plan has failed and should never be revived, worshipping the market again," Stern said in remarks at the annual conference of the liberal activist group Campaign for America's Future in Washington on Monday."It has failed America and everyone that works here," Stern said.

Stern said the changes that Obama and Democrats in Congress have made are nothing short of a "revolution" that will move the American economy from national to international.

"This not our father's or our grandfather's economy," Stern said. "We're as far today from the New Deal as the New Deal was from the Civil War. And we cannot drive into the future looking in the rear view mirror."

He said the progressive movement must build on the past and look to the future as the economy is transformed "from a manufacturing base, to a service, finance, knowledge, green, Internet, and bio-science economy."

"This revolution's going to only take 30 years," Stern said. "No single generation of people have ever witnessed this much change in a single lifetime. [...] And as we've witnessed now in the absence of a simple and realistic way forward, people "“ even us "“ sometimes resist the future or try to turn back the clock to days that are now long gone."

I am not sure I have ever heard anyone sound more like a scabby beauracrat in Atlas Shrugged.  Can you believe this dweeb along with Barrack and the gang who can't shoot straight taking credit for the transformatoin of the economy?  As if these guys have anything to do with the rise of new industries and technologies, except to make their birth and growth more difficult through strangling regulation and taxes.

The last paragraph about progressives and change is an interesting one in the context of this old post of mine, where I discuss how progressives most hate free markets for their constant change and unpredictability. Here is an excerpt:

Beyond just the concept of individual decision-making, progressives are hugely uncomfortable with capitalism.  Ironically, though progressives want to posture as being "dynamic", the fact is that capitalism is in fact too dynamic for them.  Industries rise and fall, jobs are won and lost, recessions give way to booms.  Progressives want comfort and certainty.  They want to lock things down the way they are. They want to know that such and such job will be there tomorrow and next decade, and will always pay at least X amount. ...

Progressive elements in this country have always tried to freeze commerce, to lock this country's economy down in its then-current patterns.  Progressives in the late 19th century were terrified the American economy was shifting from agriculture to industry.  They wanted to stop this, to cement in place patterns where 80-90% of Americans worked on farms.  I, for one, am glad they failed, since for all of the soft glow we have in this country around our description of the family farmer, farming was and can still be a brutal, dawn to dusk endeavor that never really rewards the work people put into it.

This story of progressives trying to stop history has continued to repeat itself through the generations.  In the seventies and eighties, progressives tried to maintain the traditional dominance of heavy industry like steel and automotive, and to prevent the shift of these industries overseas in favor of more service-oriented industries.  Just like the passing of agriculture to industry a century ago inflamed progressives, so too does the current passing of heavy industry to services.

In fact, here is a sure fire test for a progressive.  If given a choice between two worlds:

  1. A capitalist society where the overall levels of wealth and technology continue to increase, though in a pattern that is dynamic, chaotic, generally unpredictable, and whose rewards are unevenly distributed, or"¦
  2. A "progressive" society where everyone is poorer, but income is generally more evenly distributed.  In this society, jobs and pay and industries change only very slowly, and people have good assurances that they will continue to have what they have today, with little downside but also with very little upside.

Progressives will choose #2.  Even if it means everyone is poorer.  Even if it cuts off any future improvements we might gain in technology or wealth or lifespan or whatever.  They want to take what we have today, divide it up more equally, and then live to eternity with just that.   Progressives want #2 today, and they wanted it just as much in 1900 (just think about if they had been successful "” as just one example, if you are over 44, you would have a 50/50 chance of being dead now).

Update: What does the line about shifting form a national to international economy mean?  It must be some kind of progressive code phrase that does not mean what it sounds like, since most progressives and this administration tend to be opposed to free trade and have a strong tendency towards protectionism.  After all, these are the same guys that sympathize with the anti-globalization rioters at various G8 conferences.


  1. Val:

    Yep. They want to divide that pie up into equal slices (with some slices being more equal than others, of course). They never seem to realize that their ideas only make sense if that pie never grows or changes its shape. Of course, things actually work the best for everybody when that pie is doing both. Even for the things and people they allegedly want to help... It really is their own fear of change that drives them... How ironic considering their campaign slogan.

  2. Spruance:

    Markets tend to expose errors and lies. This is why progressives hate them.

  3. Michael:

    I'm inclined to believe that the new international economy will be one of propping up failure.

  4. Andrew:

    Concerning the international comment. I believe that's a reference to a cornerstone of modern leftist thinking as regards the whole 'world government' project. The idea being (in this specific example) that an international approach will prevent other nations or blocs upsetting the carefully planned economy Stern has it mind by any independent action. Now that would be really scary. However, and as we have seen with other new world order iniatives on the environment, nuclear weapons etc., the rest of the world generally won't co-operate.

  5. anon:

    "international economy" = Euro-style crony capitalism/corporate state.

    The elite choose the winners/losers.

  6. Brian:

    By 'international economy' he means one that has the skills and industries that he has imagined are the future... So we need 'green job' training, we need 'living wages', we need 'universal secondary education' and so on...

    It's in the same vein as saying domestic corporations are 'handicapped' because they 'have' to pay employee healthcare costs as opposed to those lucky European companies who get healthcare along with a free lunch.

  7. Fred Z:

    By ‘international economy’ he also means tax rate harmonization so that there are no tax havens left and surprise! all taxes are at the highest rates chosen by any country.

  8. Tim:

    I think "International Economy" is code for some Social Justice concepts.

    This is the same root concept that doesn't allow brownfield redevelopment into heavy industry because it disproportionally affects poor and brown people; opposes free trade because it 'exploits' poor 3rd world countries by not paying them a (1st/developed world) 'living wage'; and opposes equal restrictions on CO2 emissions because it will unfairly burden those developing countries.

    The end result of an international economy is more national economic decisions made more for the benefit of the 3rd (and 4th) world; fewer economic decisions made based on enlightened self-interest; and under no circumstances are decisions not to be made.

  9. Piper:

    "What does the line about shifting form a national to international economy mean?"

    First and most importantly it means no US Constitutional rights should restrain government. Instead of "negative rights" everyone will have the positive rights ("full employment, free housing/ healthcare/ whatever") of International Socialism, however illusory those may be (since only members of the vanguard party ever get to enjoy the goodies). Secondly, it means the US government should just be an administrative branch of world government (which will be run by International Socialists, of course) and, exactly like the EU versus its member countries, elections in the US should have no actual influence on the making of important government decisions. Thirdly, it means stiff taxes on people in "rich" countries to support wealth transfers to people in "developing" countries. (Of course, the fact that countries receiving large transfers never "develop" will be ignored.)

  10. caseyboy:

    What do you think the prez meant when he said, "I want to transform America". He is farther along than you might imagine. His fellow ideological soul mates have been placed in key government positions where they can aggressively push the progressive agenda along a broad front. What do you think all his Czars are about? Not so slowly, but surely they are dismantling the free market economy and consolidating power over media and educational institutions. And don't think for a minute that the elites intend to share equally with us plebs. After all the political class must be kept in a manner befitting their superior contributions to society. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

  11. mesaeconoguy:

    Progressives are economic illiterates.

  12. Val:

    caseyboy is exactly right. Everybody is paying attention to the wrong things.