Bryan Caplan  

Where Are the Demagogues When You Need Them?

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Googling "bail-out rich" basically kicks back a bunch of libertarians. Where are the left-wing demagogues denouncing the bail-outs as "welfare for the rich"? Where are the right-wing demagogues denouncing the bail-outs as "foreign aid for the rich"? Whatever demagogues are out there aren't prominent enough to make it onto the first page of google.

P.S. Here's the best demagoguery I could find. What else is out there?


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COMMENTS (15 to date)
Mike Moffatt writes:

I've denounced it.. does that count?

Jeff H. writes:

Matt Yglesias has been decrying welfare for the rich in many of his recent posts:

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2008/09/safety_nets.php

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2008/09/the_real_victims_2.php

stylized.fact writes:

Maybe the liberterians are better at search engine optimization, or they self-organize in a more PageRank-friendly way.

The events of the past week are evocative of the material in Ha-Joon Chang's Bad Samaritans book. As a country the US hasn't yet figured out how to manage consumer and business credit risk, so their government is stepping in to provide a helping hand until the training wheels can be taken off.

I'd like to see more questions asked about national security compromises that might fall out of increased foreign indebtedness, especially at a time when the military is stretched so thin.

I've been talking about it on my blog. I'm not sure it's demagoguery -- though perhaps some of it is (in in the originary use of the term, anyway).

David Kane writes:

I give it a shot here:

http://www.ephblog.com/2008/09/21/contagion/

Key section imagines how Brokaw should have quizzed Paulson.

BROKAW : Secretary Paulson, isn’t it true that the senior 20 or so executives at Goldman Sachs have collectively earned around a billion dollars over the last 5 years of the credit bubble, including tens of millions paid to you?

PAULSON: Well, Tom, I hardly think that the compensation practices of a single firm are relevant to this discussion, but, yes, financial executives are well-paid.

BROKAW: But now we know that the profits that led to that billion dollars in compensation were, in some sense, fraudulent. Goldman Sachs was never really that profitable in, say 2004. That’s why we need to bail them out now. So, given the fact that Goldman now wants a bailout from the government, shouldn’t executives pay back some of that compensation?

PAULSON: Well, I don’t think it is helpful to focus on the past. We need a plan for the future.

BROKAW: Lloyd Blankfein, your hand-picked successor as CEO at Goldman Sachs, made $67 million in 2007. You propose that US taxpayers — teachers, soldiers, fire fighters — bail out Goldman Sachs with billions of dollars and yet you won’t ask your friend Blankfein to contribute a dime of his massive wealth?

PAULSON: …

You can get more results from "bail out" rich.

John T. Kennedy writes:

Conservatives oppose nationalizing health care, yet there is nary a peep to be heard from them when the government takes over Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AGI.

David Kane writes:

John Kennedy,

Do you actually read any conservatives? Start here:

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/09/19/the-mother-of-all-bailouts-the-death-of-fiscal-conservatism/

There are many other conservatives against this bailout.

Hey, John T. Kennedy, I've been against it from the get-go

Ryan writes:

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/index.php

Goldman Sachs is the fourth largest contibuter to political campaigns according to opensecrets.

Looks like they are better at investing than we thought.....

Ivo Staub writes:

The socialists are upset:

"The plan, which is being rushed through Congress for passage this week, is the response of the government and the entire political establishment to what is acknowledged to be the greatest economic crisis since the Wall Street crash of 1929. It calls for an unprecedented transfer of public funds to the major banks and the American financial elite at the expense of the broad mass of the people.
Both the plan itself and the manner in which it is being imposed are deeply undemocratic. Exploiting the breakdown in US and global financial markets, the financial aristocracy, which is responsible for the crisis, is exercising its control over the government, both political parties, and the media to implement policies of the most far-reaching character without any genuine debate or discussion."

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/sep2008/econ-s22.shtml

Rock writes:

You just don't know where to look.

Several critical articles on CounterPunch, not all the authors that publish there are Marxian but the site's editors surely are.

http://www.counterpunch.org/

The editors of The Monthly Review, a socialist magazine, agree "that the state and finance are in bed with each other" but naturally their solution is socialism for the proletariat instead.

http://www.monthlyreview.org/nfte080901.php

Amy Goodman, host of the leftist new show Democracy Now, seems pretty critical of the "Wall Street Socialists"

http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/18860

It makes no sense to me that the socialists are upset -- except that it's a Republican doing the nationalizing and setting up the situation where the federal government is going to own a lot of mortgages of poor people.

David Gagnon writes:

During our last election in Quebec (where I live), a politician famously declared that an electoral campaign as not the time and the place to have a serious debate about important issues.

The guy was hammered by the media.

Well, seeing the debate in the US about the "bailout plan", I think that he was right.

With the electoral climate in the US, it's impossible to debate the cause and the best solution to resolve the situation. I fear that the solution might be worse than the problem in the long term.

Quote from an IBD editorial:

"There's a political root cause to this mess that we ignore at our peril. If we blame the wrong culprits, we'll learn the wrong lessons."

Clare Gallagher writes:

This "mess" started way back when the liberals decided that ALL people needed to have a piece of the American Dream, (IE Home) We will get them into a house with NOTHING DOWN, cheap interest that will go up, to get them going. Antennas went up and out "money mongers) found a new market that has been going for a number of years. Has a "lobbiest-taking money) representive done anything? NO. Our gutless repres are scared to lose a vote! Jerks!!!! All of this "critis" could have been avoided if our "repres" would have the guts to say "NO No NO!

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