It is very confusing to keep up with conservative economic talking points philosophy, because one minute they’re all “deficits don’t matter!” and then a couple years later they turn around and decide that deficits will ruin the U.S. economy, unless the deficit came from tax cuts for the wealthy job creators, in which case they actually don’t matter anymore and might even be GOOD for the economy maybe! And even though conservatives used to yammer on about competition and the free market, Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal has broken it to us that competition is bad too! But only if it’s between the “public economy” and the “private economy,” which we are pretty sure is a completely made up distinction that means absolutely nothing. Anyway, the history of the “public economy” has something to do with Medicare, JFK, and the Voting Rights Act, and if Barack Obama wins in 2012 then the public economy will win and THEN the U.S. will no longer be the Greatest Country on Earth.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
For a long time, the United States had one economy. Now we have two economies that compete for America’s wealth: A private economy and a public economy. The 2012 election will decide which will be subordinate to the other. One economy will lead. The other will follow…
There was one big event [after the erosion of private sector unions] that convinced Democrats that their public economy was equal to or better than the private economy. It has to do with the Democratic Party’s moral identity. After JFK’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson passed the building blocks of the Great Society, notably Medicare and Medicaid. But most importantly came the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The legislative events of that period (no matter that they passed with bipartisan votes) convinced the Democratic Party once and for all of government’s moral efficacy. Public spending, conclusively, was now a public good…
Today the private and public economies are in head-to-head competition for the nation’s wealth—with the private economy calling that wealth capital or income, and the public economy calling it tax revenue and making moral claims for spending tax revenue… President Obama is telling the private economy it must subordinate itself to the public economy’s moral efficacy. The passage in 2010 of the Affordable Care Act, with no Republican support, was justified as a 1960s-type act of moral necessity. The private economy, in his view, can’t compete on that basis. …Those are the two poles in an historic battle over who runs the American economy.
Hear that? The “private economy” and the “public economy” are in an epic competition and ONLY ONE CAN WIN. Like yesterday, for example, we watched a firefighter try to spend a hundred dollar bill at the local mom and pop shop but see, after the cashier looked at it reallll careful-like and saw that this hundred dollar bill had come from the “public economy” he was like “hey pal, PUBLIC SECTOR MONEY is no good in this store because it will subordinate all the private sector money that a Job Creator might spend in here later so, good day sir.” Except that didn’t actually happen, and wouldn’t ever actually happen, because money is money. Contrary to Daniel Henninger’s wild fantasies, there are not two separate, mutually exclusive spheres of economy activity wherein public sector employees and agencies ONLY receive and disburse between and among themselves and tell private sector employers and businesses to suck it. And given a choice between the private and public sectors running the economy (a division that is, as explained, absent much if any relationship to reality) would you want to put a bunch of unelected rich oligarchs in charge, who have no real accountability and no incentive outside of maximizing short term profit for shareholders? Because Daniel Henninger does. And finally, is the private sector really so delicate that it can’t compete with these losers? Daniel Henninger says yes.Related