Bryan Caplan  

Maybe Liberaltarianism Has a Prayer After All

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Ezra Klein sounds like my clone when arguing with the Secretary of Agriculture.  Highlight:
EK: You keep saying that rural Americans are good and decent people, that they work hard and participate in their communities. But no one is questioning that. The issue is that people who live in cities are also good people. People who live in exurbs work hard and mow their lawns. So what does the character of rural America have to do with subsidies for rural America?
Even better, Ezra is dogged:
EK: Let me go back to this question of character. You said again that this is a value system that's important to support, that this conversation begins with the fact that these people are good and hardworking. But I come from a suburb. The people I knew had good values. My mother and father are good and hardworking people. But they don't get subsidized because they're good and hardworking people.
P.S. If you're wondering how the Agriculture Secretary can make such ridiculous arguments, remember: He's no more ridiculous on farm subsidies than the public he represents.


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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Brian writes:

Excellent job, Ezra. Now if only these were the first and last questions to every presidential candidate stumping for the Iowa Caucus.

John Thacker writes:

Good for Ezra. But it will have a prayer when Democrats actually respond to Republican trivial spending cuts with proposed cuts on spending and subsidies for the rich, instead of defending ALL spending and only wanting higher taxes.

Richard A. writes:

If Republicans really believed in market economics, they would support eliminating these screwy ag subsidies. Instead, they're big defenders. What hypocrites!

Whatever the number of immigrants we allow in this country, they should be free to sell their labor to the highest bidder. Agribusiness has been granted the right to import foreign workers as indentured labor under the H-2A visa. Because this labor is captive, it is nothing more than a subsidy to agribusiness. Despite the tough talk by Republicans on immigration, they are actually worse than the Democrats on this issue.

John Thacker writes:
If Republicans really believed in market economics, they would support eliminating these screwy ag subsidies. Instead, they're big defenders. What hypocrites!

True, but the Democrats are even bigger defenders of ag subsidies. Just take a look at the voting on the most recent farm bill. (Even more so when you adjust for where they come from; a farm state Democrat is worse than a farm state Republican, and the same for urban states.)

It's extremely obvious that Republicans don't "really" believe in market economics. However, I've yet to see where Democrats are better on it.

Joe Marier writes:

I'm less than impressed with the last quote.

But I come from a suburb. The people I knew had good values. My mother and father are good and hardworking people. But they don't get subsidized because they're good and hardworking people.

Three words: Mortgage interest deduction.

Guy in the Veal Calf Office writes:

I'd like to hear Ezra use the same line of attack when the President and his ilk talk about the "working people". The vast majority of people who pay the highest tax rates are hard working people (its wage or owner-operated business income). In point of fact, they work harder than most of the government workers they support.

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