Bryan Caplan  

My Kind of Democrat

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From the NYT:

Representative George Miller, the California Democrat who is chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, said, “Trade may not be the reason, or the number one reason, they’re losing their jobs, but they [the American people] think it is.”
Miller probably realizes that his remark is palatable to the educated readers of the NYT. But would he say the same to the face of the American people in a televised debate? I think not. You don't rise as far as Miller has without a keenly developed sense of political survival.

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COMMENTS (8 to date)
David Thomson writes:

“…the educated readers of the NYT”

First of all, isn’t this an oxymoron? Anyone who takes the editorial pages of the NY times seriously is likely to be something of a protectionist.

The neo-liberals have been effectively marginalized. The crazies are now in charge of the Democratic Party. Republicans can often be hypocritical and silly---but they are the only game in town. The Democrats remain politically viable mostly because of the stupidity of its hard-core voters.

DCPI writes:

This is the same George Miller who is mulling over requiring all 401(k) accounts to be invested in index funds to save people from excessive fees.

Andy writes:

David Thomson: this was in a news article about the increased popularity of economic populism in the Democratic party, not an editorial.

DCPI: he is considering the rule because lots of research shows that people have the bias (not discussed in Bryan's book, I believe, but goes along with all the other inefficient biases that he discusses) that they can beat the market. If the government is going to give people a tax break for investing, doesn't it make sense to try to keep that money destined for retirement spending and not for excessive mutual fund fees?

DCPI writes:

Andy: If the funds still belong the to the 401(k) account holder, why do we want Congress and Miller determining how it can be invested?

There is also a genuine debate over active v. passive investing, don't know if I want Miller to be the one settling it once and for all.

The point of my pointing this out is that Miller has little understanding of the 401(k) system, money management and investing, yet has the hubris to believe that he is capable of making the right decision for some 65 million account holders. This is reflective of his world view and gut instinct to turn to paternalism.

David Robinson writes:

Miller also sponsored the "Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007," and is a major advocate of labor reform. So I wouldn't necessarily consider him your kind of Democrat.

David Thomson writes:

"David Thomson: this was in a news article about the increased popularity of economic populism in the Democratic party, not an editorial."

And what is your point? The reality is that the Democratic Party is marginalizing its more libertarian members. Guys like Robert Rubin are on the outside looking in. They are to donate money---and then keep their mouth shut. The labor unions run the show. Neither Hillary or Obama dare telling them to go to hell.

Dezakin writes:

Just like Bill Clinton decided it was better to put his chips in with the unions and forget NAFTA? Or was it more like when George Bush decided trade was more important than protectionism of outdated steel plants. Come on, there is a lot of generalizations here that are made because of political posturings.


What are your thoughts on Randy Barnett's recent WSJ piece?

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