The Failure of Core Conservative Principles
31 January 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Conservatives, from the most pure to Libertarians, rever free trade, free markets, open societies, voluntary cooperation and small government as the path to a happy social order, but their agenda is flawed, seriously flawed. They ignore economic and social reality.
Economists have shown us that free trade is the optimal policy for a country only if all its trading partners, over whom we have no control except by agreement, also practice free trade. An example if country X decides to subsidize an industry engaged in exporting so the industry can reduce its export price by 50%, then Country Y, importing and manufacturing that industry's good will have those manufacturers injured by lost sales and business, unless a 100% equalizing import tariff is imposed. Tree trade is not the optimal trade policy unless all practice it is the point. That does not happen as much as we would like. The WTO arbitrates disputes all the time.
Similarly, economists have shown that free markets, unregulated by government, not infrequently fail and crash. Wall Street's mortgaging packaging business and the housing market, just did that, once they were freed of regulation which hampered their profits and innovation, as earlier they told it. Indeed, the smoothest running and most efficient markets, complete with market makers, are our stock exchanges which are the most heavily and well regulated markets there are.
As economists explain, free markets are also riddled with externality problems, too, where some producers gain their profits by imposing part of their own costs on others or the environment, The phrase is privatize the profits and socialize the costs or losses. It is common place and is a broad principal. Conservatives get it wrong here, too.
An open society is presumably one that doesn't not unreasonable and unfairly discriminate and affords all an equal opportunity. Government, which conservatives don't like, of course has to be the moderator and make the law here and enforce it. The truth is a laissez faire social order is a mess, fraught with discrimination and very unequal opportunity among and between different and diverse groups. An open society, so defined, is a myth, especially without government.
This brings us to voluntary cooperation and small government as the means of getting social concerns taken care of. The problem is voluntary cooperation, without government doesn't work. Bush's thousand point of light is just not up to the task. Voluntary cooperation invariably fails with much fighting over how much to do and for whom. Coordination is lacking and when it does formally arise fraud and pilfering become problems. Voluntary cooperation outside of well regulated markets has no great history.
Note the fuss is for "small" government, not "good" government with size being largely irrelevant. This is a very telling point revealing conservatives' bias and greed. I say greed because smaller government is cheaper, takes fewer tax dollars and taxpayers, especially the rich, don't have to pay as much in taxes. The call for smaller government is a sham. It should be a call for better government but rarely do we hear that from conservatives..
The conservative agenda is a failure and a sham which too much ignores social and economic reality in America. It is only so much self serving rhetoric.