Monday, July 14, 2008

Free-market economics are a fickle mistress.

Wait... should that be "is a fickle mistress"? Or is "economics" a collective noun?


I'm always a little bit bemused when the shit from economic crises, e.g. the US mortgage/housing clusterfuck of recent months, hits fans from coast to coast. Nevermind that the neoliberals, who have essentially been guiding the US economy through the past three or four decades, always clamour for "lower taxes" and "less government interference in business" and "cutting red tape," created this latest fiasco themselves by getting all cozy with Bush & Co. and practically held their hands as they've drastically changed economic policies aplenty.

It feels like the right thing to say, doesn't it? "Hey government, get the hell outta my face and let me make the investments I want to, and don't tell us what we can and can't do." Follows nicely from a nifty US Revolutionary War motto:

This may have been prudent in the 1770s in the fight against the Redcoats, but when it came to the willy-nilly trading of hazily-defined second-hand, high-risk mortgage debt on the open markets, it would've been nice to have a few safeguards, wouldn't it? Might've prevented this lil' ol' meltdown we've been seeing.

Just sayin'.

...oh, and that reminds me: Remember when the likes of pre-Prime Minister Steve Harper, showing his true colours as the head of the National Citizens' Coalition in the late-'90s, called for the Canada Pension Plan to be privatized? Yup, put all the money in the stock markets, because businesses totally know what they're doing, and they do an infinitely-superior job, all the time, and let's just trust them always!

Funny how nobody in Canada is talking about privatizing the CPP these days, though.

Anyway, the point is, the neoliberals are all for the guns-a-blazin', free-wheelin', libertarian-in' approach to the economy when times are good. But when times are bad, all we hear from them is a meek, "Um, guys, tax cuts? Tax cuts would save the economy." Meanwhile, interviewee after interviewee who's just been pitched out of their house seems to say the same thing: "Hey, the government should have some sort of protection so that things like this don't happen."

The thing is that we used to, before the neoliberals got their hands on our governments.

1 comment:

Renee said...

Meanwhile, interviewee after interviewee who's just been pitched out of their house seems to say the same thing

What?? You can't listen to them, they're poor. They totally do not count. Only people with at least one blue chip are qualified to have those sorts of opinions. Please.