Disaster Capitalism, and the Rise of the Machination

"Shock Doc" Milton Friedman

Last week in “Fair Laissez-Faire”, Michael wrote about Laissez-faire economics and the rise of crony capitalism. This week I’m following up with what has become known as crony capitalism’s extreme cousin, ‘disaster capitalism’. The majority of this article is influenced by The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, a book I recently read by Naomi Klein. On rare occasions, a book will echo my thoughts completely. Despite my colleagues admonishment of whipping up conspiracy theory, this was one of those occasions.

Disaster capitalism is the offspring of the Friedman economic school of thought which has its roots at the University of Chicago. Milton Friedman was a Nobel Prize winning economist and statistician who founded and led the Chicago School of Economics. He was an economic adviser to Barry Goldwater and President Ronald Reagan and is generally considered the father of laissez-faire capitalism. Friedman rejected most Keynesian policies, and predicted they would cause stagflation (high inflation combined with limited growth). Though, ironically, he helped institute the Keynesian policy of payroll tax withholding during WWII.

Friedman was an advocate of complete deregulation of the market, so when you hear politicians cry for less government, that’s who they are echoing. Friedman initially did not have many opportunities to test unfettered free market capitalism. The Great Depression left the nation staggering from economic meltdown blamed on market manipulation in the early part of the 20th century. People were subsequently highly suspicious of corporate motives.

The depression did not signal the end of capitalism, but it was, as John Maynard Keynes forecast a few years earlier, “the end of laissez-faire”—the end of letting the market self-regulate.

Friedman dreamed of de-patterning societies and returning them to a state of pure capitalism, cleansed of all interruptions—government regulations, trade barriers, and entrenched interests. The core of the sacred Chicago teachings was that the economic forces of supply, demand, inflation, and unemployment were like forces of nature, fixed and unchanging.

Pinochet and his military

It wasn’t until the seventies that Friedman would get to try out his theories during the political upheaval of Chile and Indonesia. Chile, in particular, provided a ‘blank slate’ on which Friedman could test his hypotheses. After Augusto Pinochet staged a bloody and swift coup ousting and killing President Salvador Allende and ending decades of peaceful democratic rule, Friedman recruited several Chileans into the Chicago School of Economics and indoctrinated them with the idea of deregulation of government intervention.

Did it work? In short, no.

In 1974, inflation reached 375 percent—the highest rate in the world and almost twice the top level under Allende. The cost of basics such as bread went through the roof. At the same time, Chileans were being thrown out of work because Pinochet’s experiment with “free trade” was flooding the the country with cheap imports. Local businesses were closing, unable to compete, unemployment hit record levels and hunger became rampant. The Chicago School’s first laboratory was a debacle.

It did not help matters that Augusto Pinochet was a brutal dictator who ran a terror campaign where people routinely ‘disappeared’. If you rocked the boat at all, chances were good that a Ford Falcon (symbolic because the Government used this model of car and people came to fear the sight of one) could show up and escort you from your house, never to be seen or heard from again. It’s likely your body was dumped at sea after your stomach was cut open to keep you from floating.

Chile was a harbinger of things to come, however.

Chile under Chicago School rule was offering a glimpse of the future of the global economy, a pattern that would repeat again and again, from Russia to South Africa to Argentina: an urban bubble of frenetic speculation and dubious accounting fueling superprofits and frantic consumerism, ringed by the ghostly factories and rotting infrastructure of a development past; roughly half the population excluded from any of the economy altogether; out-of-control corruption and cronyism; decimation of nationally owned small and medium-sized businesses; a huge transfer of wealth from the public to private hands, followed by a huge transfer of private debts into public hands.

Sound familiar?

Disaster capitalism is nothing more than ideological cover for capital accumulation by multi-national corporations.

The whole idea is to “shock” the economy and reduce it to a blank slate and while everyone is still reeling from the shock, pour unlimited, unregulated capitalism onto it. Friedman (with the help of the CIA) would go on to try this out on other countries. He even advocated dismantling the public school system in lieu of privatized voucher system after Hurricane Katrina ‘cleaned out all the undesirables’ (read: poor black people).

Conservatives have learned from the shock doctrine. George W. Bush used it rather effectively after 9/11 when the nation was reeling in grief and disbelief to declare war on Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 but made sound financial sense if you had a company that profited off of such conflicts. In a move that historians will be pondering for decades, Bush invaded Iraq in an attempt to nation build while we were sleeping. This worked out well for Blackwater, Halliburton, and Bechtel…not so much for the Iraqi people nor the American people who were handed the bill.

What’s more, conservatives have learned that if you don’t have a disaster, you can just make one up. Case in point: the gubernatorial coups started by Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and being tentatively abandoned by other Republican governors that were apparently supposed to be the tsunami wave after the initial Wisconsin quake. The nation experiences a near economic disaster, Walker gives away millions in corporate tax breaks and then tells the citizens that the economy is on the verge of collapse and that they have to make sacrifices to save it. It’s an emergency. Then use the emergency to dismantle the last vestige of protections (unions) and fundraising for the people’s political party.

What with the looming government shutdown it certainly feels as though the Republicans are actively campaigning for a financial disaster. It almost feels as though they want the government to collapse in a last ditch effort to collectively disable the Democratic party and fill in their own agenda. That fits with the template for disaster capitalism. Break everything down and fill the void with your policy. The meme that Republicans have the market cornered on fiscal policy went out the window when they lobbied for and coerced the tax break extension for the wealthy. Just as Walker is learning that looting the coffers has consequences, so may the Republicans if the Government shuts down next week. And Walker may indeed be recalled next year.

Disaster capitalism does achieve results—if you’re a corporation. For the rest of us, it usually means things are about to get a lot worse. When politicians make decisions based on corporate wishes, when rulings of our highest court grant corporations more rights than its citizens, we know that the revolution cannot be far behind.

Conservative writer David Frum recently lamented that, “Republicans originally thought that Fox [News] worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.” He was mostly right, but I would take it one step further. Republicans originally thought their party worked for them, now they’re discovering their party works for the corporations. Fox is merely the PR department.

What began under Reagan thirty years ago—that “government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem”—at the time when Milton Friedman was his economic adviser, has finally culminated into a corporatocracy well versed in using disaster capitalism to impose its will on a distracted populace. Friedman and Reagan were both wrong. Laissez-faire capitalism presumes a market of unending resources and never expanding consumers; both of which are illusions. It also fosters an ever increasing unsustainable inequity of class division so evident in the last thirty years of income disparity.

Middle class Americans who self-identify as Republicans have more in common with Democrats than they realize; they just don’t know it yet.


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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36 Responses to Disaster Capitalism, and the Rise of the Machination

  1. Mule Rider says:

    What total revisionist history regarding Friedman and Chile!

    C’mon, dude, you’re better than this spin/propaganda…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_Chile

  2. Mr. Universe says:

    The myth of the Chilean Miracle

    The facts behind the “Chilean Miracle” remain a matter of intense debate. Pinochet held power for 17 years and during that time he changed political direction several times. The county’s period of steady growth that is held up as proof of it’s miraculous success did not begin until the mid-eighties – a full decade after the Chicago Boys implemented shock therapy and well after Pinochet was forced to make a radical course correction. That’s becase in 1982, Chile’s economy crashed: its debt exploded, it faced hyperinflation once again and unemployment hit 30% – 10 times higher than under Allende.

    The situation was so unstable that Pinochet was forced to do exactly what Allende had done: he nationalized many of Chile’s companies (that had prospered under Friedman and the Chicago School’s experiment).

    The only thing that protected Chile from complete economic collapse in the early eighties was that Pinochet had never privatized Coldeco, the state copper mine…that generated 85% of Chile’s export revenue.

    Chile was one of many CIA backed failures in Latin America and the only ‘miracle’ that was available was to a wealthy few and a despicable despot who ruled through terror.

  3. Mr. Universe says:

    @Mule

    I figured this would get your attention. And I haven’t even gotten to Friedman’s mentor Hayek and the Austrian School of thought; the Tea Party of the economic world.

    I’d be happy to hear a counter argument. You know where to find me.

  4. Mule Rider says:

    “And I haven’t even gotten to Friedman’s mentor Hayek and the Austrian School of thought; the Tea Party of the economic world.”

    No, this is an incorrect statement. The Austrian School is not analagous to the Tea Party in the “economic world.”

  5. shortchain says:

    MR,

    “The Austrian School is not analagous to the Tea Party in the “economic world.”

    — why not? (Everything is analogous to everything else in some sense. Or was that homologous? Donuts to teacups, and all.)

    Not being snarky this time. I’d be interested in hearing your argument.

  6. Mule Rider says:

    “I’d be interested in hearing your argument.”

    I guess I’d be interested to how you or Mr. U believe they are analagous before spending time on a rebuttal that they are not. Lay out some cogent points of their similarities and we’ll see.

    It’s purely observational that I don’t see any similarities…..so I don’t really know how to “argue” it.

    One is an upstart political movement that was supposedly founded on a wave of backlash to government spending and bailouts that has also supposedly morphed into a rebranding of a branch of the Republican Party to appeal to and energize the right-wing base to more vociferously stand up for conservative causes.

    And the other is merely a school of economic thought that employs primarily libertarian principles and has been criticized by both Krugmanites….err, Keynesians….and Friedmanites alike.

    Don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner because it’s so obvious, but the comparison should be to the Libertarian Party and not the Tea Party. And they’re not one and the same.

  7. the comparison should be to the Libertarian Party and not the Tea Party. And they’re not one and the same.

    And yet at least a few self-described Libertarians believe themselves to be the core of the Tea Party…

  8. Chris Rich says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRmre8ggkcY is Victor Jara singing his hit. Those jolly junta goons chopped his hands off in the Soccer Stadium before shredding him with machine guns.

    Look it up.

  9. Chris Rich says:

    Free Market utopias are a lot like authoritarian commie utopias, lots of dead people to show for the implementation of ridiculous bullshit that fattens a few.

  10. Mr. Universe says:

    @Chris Rich

    Yes, they shot Jara 44 times just to make sure he was dead. Then to add insult, they burned all his master recordings. Talk about cultural genocide.

  11. Mule Rider says:

    “And yet at least a few self-described Libertarians believe themselves to be the core of the Tea Party…”

    People call themselves lots of things….I know some pretty conservative folks who consider themselves Democrats and some pretty liberal folks who consider themselves Republicans….and I know some people who seem to articulate much more liberal answers to life’s daily questions yet consider themselves a conservative and I know some people who articulate conservative positions yet self-identify as a liberal.

    None of this, however, explains how the Tea Party is analagous to the Austrian School of Economic thought, which, in my opinion, was a comparison made to descredit Austrians because of the growing contempt/unease with the Tea Party as a major political force in this country.

    Linking the two, even merely as an analogy, is disingenuous at best.

  12. shortchain says:

    MR,

    Consider the following quote from wikipedia:

    From the middle of the 20th century onwards, it has been considered outside the mainstream, with notable criticisms related to the School leveled by economists such as Bryan Caplan, Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel laureates Paul Samuelson, Milton Friedman, and Paul Krugman. Followers of the Austrian School are now most frequently associated with libertarian political perspectives that emanate from such bodies as the Ludwig von Mises Institute and George Mason University in the US.

    they argue for an extremely limited role for government and the smallest possible amount of government intervention in the economy.

    Then:

    The Tea Party is an American populist political movement, which is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009. It endorses reduced government spending, opposition to taxation in varying degrees, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit, and adherence to an originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution.

    Linking the two does not seem disingenuous on the basis of those quotes. Especially since the noted tea-partiers I’ve brushed against have always been devotees of Austrian economics theories.

  13. Mr. Universe says:

    I merely meant to imply that the Austrian School of thought appears to be at the extreme end of the economic spectrum much like the Tea Party is at the extreme end of the political spectrum but I can go with Shortchain’s analogy.

  14. Mule Rider says:

    “I merely meant to imply that the Austrian School of thought appears to be at the extreme end of the economic spectrum much like the Tea Party is at the extreme end of the political spectrum but I can go with Shortchain’s analogy.”

    I would dispute the notion that the Austrian School is at the “extreme end” of anything. They oppose the statist policies that liberals often cling to with regard to economic freedom, and they oppose the incestual coporatist government atmosphere often preferred by right-wingers which tends to eschew responsibility and create situations of moral hazard that usually winds up benefitting a very select few while leaving the rest of us with the bill.

  15. Mule Rider says:

    Rather than use Wikipedia quotes and digesting their interpretation of the Austrian School, this might be a situation where you actually go and learn something about the people you’re trying to deride and spend a little time at http://www.mises.org reading the articles posted there or check out one of my personal favorites, http://krugman-in-wonderland.blogspot.com/, which has a very bright author and community of followers who are constantly eviscerating Krugman’s daily trash.

  16. Mr. Universe says:

    I happen to be a fan of Krugman but I’ll look into it.

  17. Chris Rich says:

    Wow Mr U, another Jara Fan. I didn’t know about the master destruction. Jeeze no sense of humor with the Junta Goons.

    Here’s another for you.

    He was their Bob Dylan and then some.

  18. shortchain says:

    MR,

    I wasn’t deriding anybody. I was merely pointing out, by quoting wikipedia, that it isn’t outrageous to link Austrian economics and the tea party.

    As for spending time learning a debatable and out-of-the-mainstream economics theory, life is short — and I have things I’d like to learn or brush up on that have been proven useful, like modern quantum theory.

    I’d rather get the condensed version, which is why I asked — and so far, everything anyone has actually told me about Austrian economics isn’t convincing. I’ve heard a lot of claims about “Evisceration” — yet Krugman retains his credibility in the economics profession, so far as I know.

  19. shortchain says:

    Chris,

    Oh, the Pinochet folks had a keen sense of humor. In the late 70’s, on a little hill between the presidential palace and the Bibilotheque Nationale, there was a boulder with a gas flame coming out of it, and an inscription whose translation is “Augusto Pinoche lit this eternal flame of freedom” and giving the date as shortly after the murder of Allende.

    It was guarded by soldiers in uniform armed with uzi’s.

  20. Chris Rich says:

    Oh how cute.

    It’s funny, the money grubbing tub thump argument seems to be..”if only we weren’t hamstrung by these worthless goody two shoes, why our economy would rocket and all of us who would be Creosus.”

    It has a mechanistic allure, you know, grease the wheels, lose the friction and this sucker will fly. Engineers love that stuff.

    But check this
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/04/dont_mess_with_taxes.

    Their argument seems to be that our intricate system with all its sissy attempts to introduce fairness is what allows such accumulations as we have. Essentially, if you are poor you tend to stay that way although around 20 percent in the US in that box do get some upward mobility going.

    Being poor in places without all this, say, in Zambia, means you are really toast.

    I do love the childlike faith in free markets much as I love childhood recollections of the tooth fairy, waiting for Santa Claus and wondering if the Easter Bunny would leave chocolate eggs or spongy little peeps.

    But really.

  21. Chris Rich says:

    The Libertarian argument is pretty utopian too. Let all dogs run free, (as long as they don’t bite our kid). The bellowing right gives us libertarian fantasies while the shrill left waxes hopeful for Anarchy to a degree where the two ends must meet and become one another.

    And the vast mushy middle wonders when these yappers will finally STFU and fix that broken bridge.

  22. Mule Rider says:

    “I wasn’t deriding anybody. I was merely pointing out, by quoting wikipedia, that it isn’t outrageous to link Austrian economics and the tea party.”

    And I’m saying that if you really know the people and ideas behind the two, you’d see they were much farther apart than the way some weasel-worded Wikipedia phrashing frames it.

    “As for spending time learning a debatable and out-of-the-mainstream economics theory, life is short — and I have things I’d like to learn or brush up on that have been proven useful, like modern quantum theory.”

    If you’re not willing to delve into the subject matter to understand deeper the point of view of its adherents, then I don’t find your blithe dismissal of its principles and ideals as being “debatable” and “out-of-the-mainstream” very credible. It’s amazing the hypocrisy of you and your ilk when you criticize some “creationist” for being a little skeptical of science and “holding on to the stories of Genesis” because they may have to look into some pretty meaty subject matter and actually use their brains to understand some advanced concepts yet you dismiss an entire school of economic thought that you’re not willing to learn more about.

    “I’d rather get the condensed version, which is why I asked — and so far, everything anyone has actually told me about Austrian economics isn’t convincing.”

    Well, that may be more of an indictment on you and your understanding than the subject matter. But don’t feel too bad….not all of us were meant to “get it” per se….and that goes for any number of things besides economics.

    “I’ve heard a lot of claims about “Evisceration” — yet Krugman retains his credibility in the economics profession, so far as I know.”

    Krugman is a laughingstock outside of the neo-Keynesian crowd and brainwashed lapdogs that visit his site each day to eat up whatever strawman, revisionist history, spin, or outright lie he has to offer. Don’t let the fact that he’s at Princeton or writes for the New York Times fool you into thinking he’s got a credibility “bonus” over most other economists. It (the NYT gig anyway), if anything, just shows he’s a pompous ass who is all too willing to share his misinformed and incorrect opinions with the rest of society.

  23. Mule Rider says:

    “The Libertarian argument is pretty utopian too. Let all dogs run free, (as long as they don’t bite our kid).”

    Nice strawman. Care to take a stab at an actual cogent thought, however?

    “And the vast mushy middle wonders when these yappers will finally STFU and fix that broken bridge.”

    Speaking of STFU, why don’t you try that until you have a reasonable understanding of libertarian economic principles so you can make an intelligent rebuttal without resorting to a half-cocked analogy that really doesn’t tell us much of anything.

  24. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    Since you dodged out on the thread last week on laissez faire, the subject on which you love to expound upon, how’s about you simply give us a counter argument OF YOU OWN on the Friedman experiment in Chile.

    Seems you only used “some weasel-worded Wikipedia phrashing frames it.” citation.

    Wear the shoes you made for shortchain and Mr. U. Instead of continuing the hash over the Austrians vs Keynesian issue that we ALREADY know your stance, tackle a real world issue.

    Compare Chile 1973-1984 vs Chile after 1984. Point to the pluses and minuses during each period.

    IOW, stop telling us about your dog, we see him. Let us see how well that dog hunts.

    Rest of all y’all, I got 2-1 he can’t/won’t!

  25. Chris Rich says:

    And this rational inattention thing probably accounts for my indifference to crackpot economics. I figure we had a long run of Greenspan, a most staunch defender and avid shill for all things free market and it blew up in his face like a gag cigar.

    Now the sorry old basset face slithers away leaving a trail of slobbered mea culpas in his wake like some stuff the slugs used to leave on my Vashon Island patio when I poisoned them with plates of cheap beer.

    If Greenspan couldn’t get this free market contraption to fly who could? Poor old guy probably should have stayed in the horn section of that Swing band.

  26. shortchain says:

    MR,

    We can’t be knowledgeable in all things. We have to delegate some authority in those things we don’t have time to investigate or master ourselves. I’ll stop reposing trust in Krugman when he stops being right in general or when somebody can point me to somebody who is provably more accurate. So far, nobody has. I’ll point out that one of the people who supposedly “eviscerated” Krugman on a regular basis was Donald Luskin, whose op-ed in the Washington Post claiming the US economy was headed for great times on the very day that it tanked not only proved the author an idiot, but was a hilarious example of economic incompetence. (He’s another follower of the Austrian school, by the way.)

    I guess I’m an instance of “rational inattention”.

  27. Mule Rider says:

    Max,

    I won’t indulge you on any further request until you either explain my “wrong-headed opinion” and “not having a leg to stand on” from the other day in my accurate and factual description of the office of President and his role in the Executive Branch or apologize. In fact, I’m still waiting…

    “I’ll stop reposing trust in Krugman when he stops being right in general or when somebody can point me to somebody who is provably more accurate. So far, nobody has.”

    Are you serious? The man warned of the impending dangers of us going into a deflationary spiral, said we (the government) didn’t spend nearly enough money to prevent it, and laughed at/mocked the Inflationistas the entire time, yet who is looking more and more right with each passing day over the past six months?

    “I’ll point out that one of the people who supposedly “eviscerated” Krugman on a regular basis was Donald Luskin,”

    Who?

    “whose op-ed in the Washington Post claiming the US economy was headed for great times on the very day that it tanked not only proved the author an idiot, but was a hilarious example of economic incompetence. (He’s another follower of the Austrian school, by the way.)”

    Citation? Sorry, I looked up his bio and didn’t see any link between him and the Austrian School so you’re either misinformed or lying. I really hope it’s the former. Even if there is some overlap or link between the two, he’s certainly not one of the leading intellectuals of the Austrian School. But nice strawman, though.

  28. shortchain says:

    MR,

    We’ve been over this before: Krugman warned that deflation was a danger. He didn’t predict deflation.

    And he also warned that the “stimulus” would not be enough to pull us out of recession to a point necessary to correct the unemployment problem.

    He was absolutely right.

    As for Luskin, who said he was a “leading intellectual”? I’m sorry, but I think I was careful not to imply that. He is — or, rather, was — a leading critic of Krugman, as even a very cursory web search should have told you. For the story, see here.

    I’m not an expert (far from it, as I’ve been consistently stating) on economics, so he may not be a follower of the Austrian school — but he is absolutely and unquestionably a critic of Krugman. Oh, and by the way, he has also graced the opinion page of the WSJ, one of the reasons I hold that organ to be of dubious quality.

  29. Chris Rich says:

    Whee. It is quite a data day. I found this free market endorsement over at Baseline Scenario.

  30. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    I KNEW you couldn’t do it , Mule!

    Either you’ve not got the FACTS on your side , or you don’t have the ABILITY!

    You aren’t indulging me. It’s YOU that can’t EVER seem to get you ole dog to actually HUNT! You KEEP telling us how good he is, but you NEVER let him out of the back of your pickup!

    Sad.

  31. Mule Rider says:

    “We’ve been over this before: Krugman warned that deflation was a danger. He didn’t predict deflation.”

    Do you suddenly have a reading comprehension problem? Here’s my original text:

    The man warned of the impending dangers of us going into a deflationary spiral….

    Did I say he predicted deflation? No, quite clearly, as the text reads, I acknowledge that he was warning of the dangers of deflation. But his columns reflected a thought process that deflation was the most likely course and that inflation was highly unlikely; however, the trend in recent months has been towards the inflationary situation that Austrians have warned about; ergo, Krugman looks like he got this one wrong and only someone ignoring a substantial amount of evidence would defend his stance of late.

    “As for Luskin, who said he was a “leading intellectual”?”

    You didn’t. I did. And it was to make a point that just because some random moron calls himself an “Austrian” adherent and then spouts a bunch of predictions, you can’t judge/critique the entire school of thought based on that person’s wrongheadedness. If you want to critique someone, filter through the material at mises.org and attempt a takedown, not some airhead opining in the WaPost.

    “He is — or, rather, was — a leading critic of Krugman, as even a very cursory web search should have told you.”

    And leading critic of Krugman doesn’t equate to adherent to the Austrian school. I’m pretty sure I was careful not to imply that. I was only on here defending Austrians, not all people who critique Krugman. Certainly there are a few who take shots at him who ultimately don’t know what they’re talking about, but their idiocy doesn’t discredit the ones who do.

    Your problem is that you seem to be conflating many of the right-wing, supply-siders of the Bernanke, Greenspan, et al crowd, and while I may not have made it this clear above, I hold about as much disdain for them and their train of thought as the neo-Keynesians.

    “Either you’ve not got the FACTS on your side , or you don’t have the ABILITY!”

    I had the FACTS on my side when I pointed out the President is our Chief Executive representing one-third of our government. You seemed to think that was a wrong-headed opinion that left me without a leg to stand out, and I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why that’s the case.

    So far, nothing, not even an apology, and that is what is sad.

  32. shortchain says:

    MR,

    You say “But his columns reflected a thought process that deflation was the most likely course and that inflation was highly unlikely”

    Look, that’s just baloney. I’ve read his columns for years. Sure, he said for a couple of years now that inflation was not much of a danger.

    So now there’s a potential for significant inflation (although a lot of the price in food rise may be due spiking energy prices due to certain unforeseen business in the middle east combined with bad weather.)

    If your Austrian school economists have been predicting inflation for the last 2.5 years, then, no, they are not “right”. Anybody can predict something that is periodic (which inflation is) and then claim success when it inevitably occurs.

    So when did your Austrians predict the inflation? And when did they predict it would take effect? Let’s hear how prescient they were.

  33. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    OK, Mule, I’ll indulge you (again, even though you never reciprocate).

    “I had the FACTS on my side when I pointed out the President is our Chief Executive representing one-third of our government. You seemed to think that was a wrong-headed opinion that left me without a leg to stand out, and I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why that’s the case.”

    True, you are correct is stating that the Prez represents 1/3 of the government. Sorry, in the issue at hand, it is as meaningless as saying the sun is out at high noon. It’s only a truism.

    I pointed out the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. In it the role of the President was defined statutorily. He has the responsibility to make his budget request by the first Monday in February of the year preceding the upcoming fiscal year. It also created the CBO. It also created budget deadlines that Congress repeatedly ignores.

    Once the Presidential Budget Request is submitted (Obama did that for FY2011 in February last year, and has done so for FY2012 already), the rest of the burden, by statute is on CONGRESS’s back!

    So, 14 months ago the President DID HIS JOB by the appropriate statute. Your attempts are tantamount to closing the barn door after the elephants and donkeys are already out! There you are. As you requested.

    But this thread is NOT on that issue, but about Chile and Friedman. Mr U asked you to provide a counter to his post. As did I. As did shortchain.

    I manned up. Will you? Impress us.

    You love TALKING about that dog of yours, but he’s reminding ME of the Hee-Haw star, Beauregard the wonder dog. Just a sleepy ole hound.

  34. Mule Rider says:

    “I manned up. Will you? Impress us.”

    No you didn’t. And your incoherent blabbering that took the initial point and counterpoint on a wild tangent shows just how destructive sophistry is to “reasonable discourse.” In your last post, you’re arguing and making points about things that have almost nothing to do with the original tit-for-tat that I had with Mr. U.

    He asked a simple question of why the President would have a response to a poll question all to himself about a possible gov’t shutdown, and I said maybe it had something to do with the President representing 1/3rd of the government; even MW followed up in agreement in pointing out that because the President will ultimately have to sign what Congress passes, it’s a pretty good idea for him to be involved in the process. Anyway, my very limited comments were nothing but factual assessments of the Presidency and the Executive Branch, yet you barged in, made some denigrating statements, and then proceeded to accuse me of sharing a “wrong-headed opinion” without a “leg to stand on.”

    I simply asked you to point out what I said that was a wrong-headed opinion and you’ve ignored and now deflected by mentioning the CBICA of 1974 as well as make some other inane points – this is where the sophistry comes in – that really don’t have anything to do with the initial exchange between me and Mr. U.

    But you’ve turned the entire thing into one big pissing match all because you couldn’t stand to pass up an opportunity to call me out when you were the one literally without a leg to stand on….and now I’m calling you out about that.

    So, please, from now on, either engage me directly and honestly about things I’ve said and don’t accuse me of unfurling “wrong-headed opinions” when I haven’t done so, or else keep your mouth shut and don’t address me at all.

  35. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ Mule,

    One more opportunity for you to give us a primer on Friedman and Chile, once more you passed.

    True to form, sir. True to form.

    And until you finally DO enter into reasoned discourse and stop playing your little trollish games, be assured, sir, that I will ALWAYS call you out and will ALWAYS make a point of your (predictable) failure to do so.

    Good day to you.

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