would you buy an economic theory from this man?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.

[the Wall Street Journal]

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  • nounverb911

    Sounds like the script to "Mad Max 4".

  • BaldarTFlagass

    I'm much more interested in the pubic economy.

    • SmutBoffin

      Well, that part that doesn't involve vaginas, anyway. They're revolting.

      • I thought the cocks were revolting.

        • BoatOfVelociraptors

          Only in Texas.

    • BoatOfVelociraptors


    • ph7

      My research reveals that's an economy of high demand and low supply.

    • Fairtackle

      The parting on the left is now a parting on the right.

      • HogeyeGrex

        Sounds more like a parting in the middle.

  • SmutBoffin

    My apologies to to anyone here who loves the "dismal science", but shit's just made up, yo.

    • And you think those of us who love the dismal don't realize that?

      Hell, I figured out the first chapter of Samuelson.

      • doloras

        I quit in my last year of my economics degree when I asked my prof "So, you're saying all this only exists if people believe in it?" and when she reluctantly applied in the affirmative, I decided to go and do theology or something where they admit that from the outset.

  • sbj1964

    I'll be in the bunker.Don't bother knocking.

    • nounverb911

      Knock, knock.

      • sbj1964

        Dave's not home man.

      • EatsBabyDingos

        True Story: Fraternity brother, "Dave" woken up by 2 sheriffs on a Saturday, and told to go get "Joe," who had bounced a check, out of bed. Dave comes back, and tells the sheriffs that Joe said to say he was sleeping, and could they come back later. No, they kindly replied, and Dave left again. When he returned, I swear to the FSM and Space Ghost he said "Joe told me to tell you he's not here."

  • Not_So_Much

    I thought the only two economies were the 'Dancing Horse/Car Elevator' economy and one (mine) that is based on 'Uncooked Ramen Noodles'?

    • BaldarTFlagass

      Uncooked? You should just mix it with some hot engine coolant that you extract from your neighbor's car when he gets home from work in the evening.

      • va_real

        Uncooked? Why didn't you get your manservant to prepare your noodles properly?

        • Sometimes you just gotta choose between paying the butler or paying the water bill.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Guess which one is winning?

    • Boojum

      What about hobo beans!!!?? EVERYTHING I'VE GOT IS IN HOBO BEANS!!!!

  • noodlesalad

    The thing that drives me crazy about all this is that the fucking "market forces" guys have been eating the lunch of public goods like schools, infrastructure, and social services. And as soon as a few people start to ask questions about the debasement of things that really shouldn't be subjected to price tags, let alone the lowest-common-denomenator syndrome of the finance world, the "public economy" is suddenly portrayed as this cash-hungry beast that will eat its own young and all our precious small businesses for just a few more tax dollars, when the evidence points overwhelmingly to the very opposite conclusion.

    Oops, what I meant to say was Obama taxes 'Mericuh rabble rabble rabble.

    • Boojum

      It is called eating the seed corn. And it is stupid.

  • elfgoldsackring

    Stupid public sector with their 'morals' on how to spend revenue. Everyone knows bribes and whores is how you win business!

    • va_real

      It's CALLED incentivizing!

  • nounverb911

    Aren't the two economies just Us vs Them?

    • noodlesalad

      For these guys it's me vs. world

  • BaldarTFlagass

    "President Obama is telling the private economy it must subordinate itself to the public economy’s moral efficacy."

    Well, we know that the private economy is holding all the aces when it comes to moral efficacy.

    • sati_demise

      Yea, they estimate about 5 trillion bucks of aces right now. First time in history these fuckers have hoarded such a load.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        That's just the fraction they haven't offshored yet.

  • This is the kind of theory that Paul Krugman could debunk while he takes a shit.

    • BaldarTFlagass

      Or Bizarro World Krugman?

    • Boojum

      He won the Dumbel Prize in Suckenomics.

      Edit: The other guy, not Krugman, who I idolize like he invented Vaseline.

    • Nothingisamiss


    • Typodong3

      The theory would floating in the bowl after Krugman is done.

    • kittensdontlie

      The GOP was fighting for a Greater Depression these last four years as the private economy was stumbling along and state and local governments shed public sector jobs, they blocked public works projects, so they might have NoBama No More.

  • BoatOfVelociraptors

    What is this? The "I miss slavery" act of 2012?

    "You let them darkies vote 45 years ago, and look at where it's gotten us!"


    • emmelemm

      I believe that's the "between the lines" reading, yes.

    • HogeyeGrex

      Yeah, the continuing "Butthurt Level At Plaid!!!!" over the n*CLANG*s being allowed to vote is just fucking amazing. Didn't "dog whistle" used to mean inaudible? These fuckers just don't care anymore. I console myself that it can only be total desperation that they are pulling out all the stops this early.

      We're gonna need a fucking Ark to navigate the flop sweat by November.

  • Even if it wasn't a steaming pile of horseshit, we still don't want to see your privates in our public. Hmmph.

    • RadioBowels


  • TribecaMike

    Unfortunately, quantum physicists have proven that Timothy Geithner is U.S. Treasurer in every parallel universe.

    • sati_demise


    • Ah, the theory of multiversal gravitational convergence, or DERP Sucks.

    • va_real

      Q-bits, 4-bits, 6-bits, a dollar…

      • BoatOfVelociraptors

        What's in the box!?!?

        • va_real

          Damned cat found some yarn- it's all entangled now.

  • Baconzgood

    When my ex-father in law bitched about "the gubment taking" his money. Where I pointed out that "his" money had printed on Federal Reserve Note.

  • 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.

    The Great Depression? The New Deal? Ever hear of it? It probably saved our country. It certainly enabled us to ramp up the war machine after the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor


  • mavenmaven

    …There are two economies at war, the public, the private, and the industrial, NO, THREE economies at war…

    • MosesInvests

      Cardinal Fang! Bring out the comfy chair!

  • pdiddycornchips

    If there's really a war between public and private economies, Tim Geithner is a double agent.

  • el_donaldo

    Look, after the 2008 crash, Daniel Henninger blamed it on Jews and secularists who made people feel bad about saying "Merry Christmas" and therefore Wall Street lost its ethics. The WSJ has elsewhere largely placed the blame for the economic collapse on the African-American community, for buying homes.

    This theory means they're improving.

    • el_donaldo

      BTW, I'm pretty sure that Henninger has received a Pulitzer for his commentary. Yeah. We're fucked.

    • el_donaldo

      Not snark, for final BTW. He factually and actually did blame the collapse on Jews and secularists.

      • Boojum

        "Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions."

        Yes, as a native Southerner, I can confirm that any mention of Northerners in the context of money and Christmas hating is, indeed, a reference to Jews.

  • Morel efficacy = yummy.

  • Barrelhse

    Elementary, my dear Blab.

  • elgin_pelican

    Here's how it works. I have a job, right? Get paid? I spend my paycheck on ammo and tithing. Now, if it was a check from the government, I'd give it to my daughter to get an abortion. It's not rocket surgery, libtards!

    • ChernobylSoup

      This might be my favorite comment ever.

  • FakaktaSouth

    "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."

    Yes, because the private sector was doing a bang up job of not being racist and affording the proper civil rights to our citizens, and sick poor people enjoyed the illnesses that they died from, because at least there were no pesky government aid programs anywhere to help them pay for it. Why did the public sector think there was anything to be done? The free market had that nonsense exactly where it wanted it.

    • Naked Bunny with a Whip

      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.

      Why should they believe different now, just because Republicans have gone off the deep end of paranoid stupidity?

  • sati_demise

    Oh jeez, doesn't he know that the public economy is paid out to the private economy?

    How the hell does Halliburton get paid anyway, motherfucker?

    • Naked Bunny with a Whip

      Even the DMV where I live has to pay rent on its slot in a strip mall. That's money in the pockets of the private economy.

  • gullywompr

    This proves that the private economy is morally weak.

  • pinkocommi

    I disagree. There are three economies: the public economy, the private economy and – the one most of us are in – the economy of hobo beans.

    • Caelan Aegana

      The economy of hobo beans only works so long as you don't lacerate your hand on the can and need stitches and a tetanus shot.

      Then we'll move on to the economy of dry dog food. If, you know, you survived the gangrene.

    • Boojum

      Oh thank God. I thought my hobo bean futures were worthless and had been overtaken by dry Ramen noodles.

      • Callyson

        Oh, they're both long term investments at the rate we're going. Especially if the fucking Reeps find a way to hold on to Congress, or a worse result happens that I simply cannot force myself to type…

  • 2 words to consider.

    Murdock. Publication.

    Do with it what you will.

    • Boojum

      What I most wonder, in this New Gilded Age of robber banksters who buy up elections: Why has there been such a dearth of surveyors, carefully aiming their votes at these Kochs and Adelsons from a safe distance of about 1000 yards? I mean, are we liberals truly so devoid of initiative?

    • Callyson

      My dog won't even take a shit on a Murdoch publication.

      Not that I would try to make him do so of course–I'm not an animal abuser, for God's sake…

  • Goonemeritus

    He’s forgetting the third economy, the so called underground economy. The underground economy is what we will all use to trade hobo beans for homemade wine and cardboard box rent after corporations get done with us.

    • IonaTrailer

      Unless you live in Humboldt and grow the pots.

    • Nothingisamiss

      You know a place I can trade my hobo beans for wine? What is this magical place?!

      • Goonemeritus

        I live in one of the more productive wine regions in NY and I have my own vines so I make between 15 and 20 gallons of wine and port per year. I’m not saying it’s great but I have bought worse and it does contain alcohol. When we are forced to form a Wonkette collective I will gladly share.

        • emmelemm

          15-20 gallons of wine won't go far with the Wonkette crowd.

          But your offer to share is lovely, and highly socialistic of you.

    • emmelemm

      Terlet wine?

  • ph7

    Daniel Henninger is an economist in the same way Sarah Palin is a political analyst.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    That photo up top should be the picture in the dictionary next to the definition for "derp."

  • UnholyMoses

    It's not every day that someone admits to being fascist.

    So Henninger does have that going for him.

  • SayItWithWookies

    I'd like Mr. Henninger to point out how many times in the Constitution it says that the economy should be private whenever possible. And then compare that to how many times it says in the Constitution that government exists to help US citizens get by. One of those figures would be zero, and the other would be at least three depending on how you interpret various phrases.

    • MissTaken

      General Welfare sounds all socialist-y

      • RadioBowels

        And Obama is just gutting the Military-Industrial-Socialist Complex.

      • Boojum

        General Socialist C. Welfare, reporting as ordered!

      • And what's this about "securing the blessings of liberty"? Secured? Like in a prison? Liberty must be free! Get your government hands off my liberty!

  • anniegetyerfun

    I got yer private economy right… here.

    • Boojum

      And I have a free market that was just made for your private economy.

    • BoatOfVelociraptors

      Is yer stock up or down?

  • fartknocker

    Daniel Dildo Henninger apparently forgot that when he fills his Mercedes with gasoline which he pays for from his private economy, he pays a tax so he can have a safe road from Wall Street to the Hamptons which was built by the public economy. Condescending goat fucker.

  • Harry Truman wanted a one-armed economist (no more "On the other hand…"). I'd prefer one of the headless variety (as a result of votes, of course).

  • SorosBot

    A complete inability to understand how the economy works seems to be a prerequisite to work at the Wall Street Journal, like on Wall Street itself.

  • BoatOfVelociraptors

    Well, you have to admit, The stimulus project where top marginal rates went over 90 percent, Conservation measures went into place, bugs bunny was selling war bonds and jobs weren't outsourced, and then we made college cheap and landed on the moon a few years later… I forget. It was one of those pansy ass wars that only lasted 4 years or so.

  • Eve8Apples

    Yeah, its always Wall Street vs. Washington until one of them needs some cash. Then they crawl into bed together and have sloppy make-up sex like the kids on Jersey Shore.

    • emmelemm


  • BaldarTFlagass

    I stand in awe of this guy's towering logic.

  • MissTaken

    So what about companies that get government tax breaks and incentives? Are they in the Private Economy or the Public Economy? Or do they make that silly hybrid economy called THE FUCKING ECONOMY WE ACTUALLY HAVE??

    • SorosBot

      I love it when you get righteously angry.

    • Boojum

      That's the Hybrid Eclectic Economy.

  • and THEN the U.S. will no longer be the Greatest Country on Earth

    There have been a lot of Greatest Countries of Earth some of them don't exist and others aren't so great anymore: Roman Empire, British Empire, The Third Reich, Ottoman Empire, etc.

    Good thing that Amerikkka is the REAL Greatest Country on Earth and will last forever.

    • MosesInvests

      Eintausand yahre, anyway.

    • Boojum

      And the banksters are sacking Rome, pillaging and looting as fast as their soft little paws and tubby little bellies can move.

    • viennawoods13

      Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
      The lone and level sands stretch far away.

      Coming soon to a country near you!

    • tessiee

      Lisa Simpson: I know you're happy now, but it's not gonna last forever.
      Homer Simpson: Everything lasts forever, Lisa.

  • pdiddycornchips

    The WSJ doesn't hate the public economy when it's handing out subsidies and tax breaks.
    They just hate spending on anyone but themselves and their friends. If the government quit subsidizing mining companies, ranchers, farmers and energy companies, not to mention the criminals who run our banks, we could balance the budget next week.

  • Shadowmuffin

    Maybe the public economy will cut off the head of the private economy and lighting will come down out of the sky. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!1111

    • tessiee

      That is why Da Bulls can never play against Da Bears.

  • Mittens Howell, III

    2 economies: 1% vs 99%

  • SorosBot

    Hey idiot, we did have an almost purely private economy back in the 1920s; look at history, the result of that was Greatly Depressing, and it took public government spending to fix it.

  • Mittens Howell, III

    Two economies, one cup.

    • emmelemm

      And a whole lotta shit.

  • Woodshedding

    I have a dilemma. I learned that people insisting on the Truth are anti-patriots; now I also know that people who act morally eat their young and stuff. This makes me think, "Goodness, I've been LIED to about these words!"

    But doesn't that then make me a conspiracy theorist? Which is what's worrisome, because the third thing I've learned is that people who actually believe two or more people EVER plan to engage in harmful activity is a freakin' nutjob. Advice please, should I commit myself while I still can?

  • Baconzgood


    • MissTaken


      • SEMPRINI!

        Sorry…I panicked…

        • Boojum


    • BigSkullF*ckingDog


    • emmelemm


  • Blunderthing

    Yeah, I actually read this in the print edition today (it's a gift subscription) and had a good chuckle while I parsed it: "The godless communistics of Medicare and such, created by Lyndon Johnson and Satan are holding back the Ayn Randian saviors of Ekko-NoMics Plus, which will only kill you if you haven't been lucky enough to have been born privileged or achieved it through serious ass-kissing and boot-licking. And by the way my hooves need a new coat of excrement. Hop to it."

  • Mittens Howell, III

    C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-V-E-S Go Into The Economy To Rupture Intestines.

    • Blueb4sinrise

      GO MH!!! GO!!!

    • Callyson

      They certainly make my intestines ill. Among other things.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Hearing an economist lecture about morals gives me the shivers — almost as much as hearing a religious figure do the same.

  • ChiRon8

    Yeah, well, I don't want every place I buy things at to be like the DMV either.

    • Boojum

      Been to the DMV lately? Fast, efficient, and friendly. Now, call your cable company.

      • Callyson

        Or your health care insurer–if you are lucky enough to have health care coverage that is…

  • Generation[redacted]

    Shouldn't this guy be in jail for phone hacking?

  • OneYieldRegular

    Terrific. Next he's going to tell us his father was a mill worker.

    • ph7

      Rolling steel for the Navy and the Golden Gate, of course.

  • Callyson

    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… Lyndon Johnson passed the building blocks of the Great Society, notably Medicare and Medicaid

    Um, the erosion of private sector unions happened *after* the Great Society, not before. These fuckers can't even get basic history right, much less economics…

  • Billmatic

    LOL I love how this column is based in horrible history that doesn't even acknowledge the Military Industrial Complex, but blames the Great Society. Why skip it? Democrats started that too.

  • chascates

    Let's start by privatizing the military and see how that works. I know we employ hundreds of thousands of contractors, private military forces, and so on but let's really just turn the Pentagon and the Defense Department into a business. If it makes a profit it can expand or pay a dividend. If it doesn't then it's not sustainable and deserves to go bankrupt.

  • More class war. Instead of an economy with a public sector and a private sector (among other things) with debate over who does what better, the Wall Street Urinal sees a fight to the death between the sectors of the economy.

  • Every president from Daddy Thousand Points of Light to Barry "Office Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership" Soetoro has labored under some level of delusion that the "nurturers of useful virtue" were going to step in and pick up the slack created by government's jettisoning of social programs … without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

    Hardyharhar. These nurturers are much more likely to be funding Jesus Camps, providing seed money for Marriott to build hotels for the Olympics, or finding people like One L and Marcus to stop-gap-parent the Children of Meth. Even Catholics, who claim to embrace the poor from Anacostia to Africa, will only drop a farthing on those who reject homosexuality, family planning, divorce, and overlook the Pope's Prada. Faith-based initiatives merely allow the "faiths" to take a dip of the gubmint cash before distributing it unjustly. What a delivery system!

    The plan ain't workin'. Even governments cannot distribute "charity" without prejudice, but the Feds do a better job than the states or "initiatives" ever could. Until the public finally gets the message that the handouts laid on this tool's "private economy" dwarf any charity offered to U.S. citizens by the "public economy," we will, indeed, have two economies and Gawd help you if you're in the wrong one.

  • BarackMyWorld

    More powerful arguments devoid of facts to be parroted tomorrow by those stalwarts of intellectual consistency on AM radio. And yet somehow, despite the intellectual superiority of their ideas, isn't it odd the conservatives chief spokespeople, occupying the pinnacle of early 20th century technology, are a bunch of college drop outs?

  • tessiee

    So, if I'm to understand Mr. Henninger and his Wall Street colleagues correctly, what they're actually saying is:
    "Look, will you all just SHUT UP and give us all your Social Security money so we can gamble and lose with that, too?"

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    Now that Mitt (and Rupert) have figured out how the economy of Kobol works, it might be time for them to go run the place.

  • mosjef

    If we put aside for a moment the big red nose, the bicycle horn and seltzer bottle, the question remains, how do they get so many of you in such a little car?

  • DahBoner

    What's the difference between the Public Economy and the Private Economy?

    One word: "Profit".

    Private Economy = Public Economy + Profit.

    Take away the profit, and we just have the Public Economy, boo hoo hoo.

  • Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Yeah, Obamacare is a disaster for the private insurance industry, what with giving it a whole lot more money than it was receiving before.

  • BZ1

    isn't that "private" economy socking away trillions in undeclared assets in hidden accounts all over the world, just askin'??

  • ttommyunger

    I learned a long time ago that an Economist's predictions and opinions depend mostly on one thing: where his fucking paycheck is coming from. This assclown obviously is an unpaid volunteer.

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