Posts Tagged ‘Corporate Welfare’

Spending Cuts and Monsters

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 1.00 pm

Q. Let’s face it: the notion that anyone can be successful in this country is absolutely false. There are millions of Americans who are on food stamps/ other entitlements, and are barely staying afloat. If you want to cut these entitlements, what do you say to these people? I know that their entitlements are being taken from someone else, but that person does not need them as much. The fact that they ‘earned’ their own money doesn’t prove that they don’t deserve to be poor, but the poor people do. — musicalvegan, from tumblr.

Q. I don’t want poor people to be poor, and cutting programs, like food stamps, for the poorest of the poor is nowhere near the top of my list of priority spending cuts.

The way I see it, the government spends a lot of other people’s money which I think it has no business spending on a lot of projects which I don’t think should exist/exist in their current state. And, yes, I want to significantly reduce that spending.

But in the grand scheme of all the spending to be cut, not all spending is equal, and not all spending should be cut with equal speed. That would be impractical, unwise, and — where poverty is concerned — inhumane.

As I’ve quoted in response to similar questions in the past, I like what Ron Paul has said on this question:

While our goal is to reduce the size of the state as quickly as possible, we should always make sure our immediate proposals minimize social disruption and human suffering. Thus, we should not seek to abolish the social safety net overnight because that would harm those who have grown dependent on government-provided welfare. Instead, we would want to give individuals who have come to rely on the state time to prepare for the day when responsibility for providing aide is returned to those organizations best able to administer compassionate and effective help —churches and private charities.

Now, this need for a transition period does not apply to all types of welfare. For example, I would have no problem defunding corporate welfare programs, such as the Export-Import Bank or the TARP bank bailouts, right away. I find it difficult to muster much sympathy for the CEO’s of Lockheed Martin and Goldman Sachs.

When it comes to corporate welfare, I’m all for overnight cuts. Ditto foreign military aid and war spending. Ditto…well, ditto a lot of things.

But when it comes to social programs and entitlements, I’d say that some cuts can be made very quickly, while others must go more slowly and on a clear and strict schedule.

For example, older people who are wealthy on their own do not need to get a cut of my salary in the form of Social Security payments. Those checks can stop immediately. But elderly people who have very little money and rely on a program which they paid into their whole lives on the basis of a promise that it would take care of them? I have no desire to snatch away their income.

In short, there’s a difference between wanting serious spending cuts as quickly as possible and being a monster. I don’t want a bloated government, true — but I also don’t want to throw the neediest people in our country onto the street overnight when there are plenty of other cuts we can make first.

S’wonderful, S’marvelous!

Posted on December 2, 2011 at 12.23 pm

Q. How can you be a minarchist/libertarian and be against corporatism? Corporations did not even exist until our government started acting minarchist in the economic realm. — David, from the internet.

A. Hardly.  As I’ve written in the past, the absolute last thing we have is economic minarchism.  Here is a short and incomplete list of things which exist in our current system which would not exist in a minarchist society:

After the last few years of rampant, bipartisan corporate favoritism we’ve repeatedly seen out of Washington, I find it marvelous indeed that anyone could think that we have economic minarchy.  After all, I assume you realize that, by definition, economic minarchy would look like the government being uninvolved in the economy except for providing a court system for the prosecution of fraud/other bad business practices and criminality, right?

A Couple Quick Questions, Ed. 5

Posted on December 15, 2010 at 2.48 pm

Q. I admittedly know very little about libertarianism. However I find it very attractive. I’ve never associated myself with either of the two predominant parties. While I support a free market, and agree that the government should have no involvement in the economy, I have a huge problem with global empires like Wal-Mart and how destructive to not only the communities in which they’re set, but the world as a whole. As a libertarian, would you defend huge corporations like that? I hope this doesn’t come off as accusatory. I just want to know if Libertarianism is inline with some of my important ideals. — cfinley, from tumblr.

A. My answer depends, I guess, on what exactly you mean when you say you dislike global business empires.  If you mean that you dislike corporatism, in which large businesses and government get in bed together and uh…screw the rest of us over, then libertarianism is very much against that as well.

So for instance, Ron Paul has said, “I probably dislike [the current system] as much as Michael Moore does. But he’s complaining about it being part of capitalism. It has nothing to do with capitalism. This is corporatism, the corporations. I agree with him.”  John Stossel calls it “crony capitalism.”

Whatever the term, corporatism “is a system where businesses are nominally in private hands, but are in fact controlled by the government. In a corporatist state, government officials often act in collusion with their favored business interests to design polices that give those interests a monopoly position, to the detriment of both competitors and consumers.”  It is not the free market and it is not libertarian.

On the other hand, if you mean the simple existence of corporations of that size, then no, I don’t think libertarianism as such can be said to object to them.  Some libertarians might prefer to shop at smaller stores, but it would likely be for other reasons such as personal value scale or other philosophical/religious beliefs.

Basically, the problem doesn’t come from the very existence of these large businesses, but rather comes if they use force, fraud, other criminal activity, or special favors from the government to achieve their ends.