Tom Woods vs. Thom Hartmann

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I came across an interesting article from libertarian Tom Woods. Woods, in my opinion, pretty much demolishes Mr. Hartmann's economic analysis.

http://www.mail-archive.com/politicalforum@googlegroups.com/msg32799.html

Here's is Mr. Hartmann's original article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thom-hartmann/the-real-criminals-are-ne_b_177996.html

It would be nice if Mr. Hartmann would debate Mr. Woods on air.

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FrankChodorov
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Comments

Thom's not shy about debating his ideological opponents on his program if you actually listen to his show, Frank. That is one of the reasons why IMHO his show is one of the best in the country.

Having said that, it looks like Woods has some legitimate complaints about Thom's article, and I would like to hear them debate it as well.

Nonetheless, I honestly don't know how the Mises fanboys expect their golden free-market paradise to come about when the party that alleges to be the party of the free market (Republicans) are absolutely atrocious when it comes to following through on these principles (see The Conservative Nanny State by Dean Baker).

ptron
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Quote ptron:

Nonetheless, I honestly don't know how the Mises fanboys expect their golden free-market paradise to come about when the party that alleges to be the party of the free market (Republicans) are absolutely atrocious when it comes to following through on these principles (see The Conservative Nanny State by Dean Baker).

It is ironic. The party that has been the party of Big Government since its inception is the party who members and supporters claim to support the free market, limited gov't, the Constitution, etc. And the Democratic Party, which was a hard money small "l" libertarian Party in the 19th Century is now a fascist party.

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FrankChodorov
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"Tom Woods"? Please....

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norske
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Quote norske:

"Tom Woods"? Please....

What does this mean?

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FrankChodorov
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Quote ptron:

Thom's not shy about debating his ideological opponents on his program if you actually listen to his show, Frank. That is one of the reasons why IMHO his show is one of the best in the country.

Having said that, it looks like Woods has some legitimate complaints about Thom's article, and I would like to hear them debate it as well.

Maybe someone with a little more influence than me can get Mr. Hartmann to debate Tom Woods.

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FrankChodorov
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"Tom Woods"? Please...." Norske

"What does this mean?" Frank

I'm sorry, I just don't know anyone who takes anything that Mr. Woods has to say or write seriously. The man has issues. I should have remained silent though.

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norske
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Taking one quote from the article:

"Hartmann gives no indication that he understands any of this. To the contrary, he seems to think (in addition to the egalitarian rationales he’d surely give for the seizure of some people’s property) the lack of government wealth redistribution yields the boom-bust business cycle! If wealth disparities caused the boom-bust cycle, we’d experience economic depressions everywhere in the world, constantly."

=========

Note that in countries where wealth disparities are the least, the boom/bust cycles are pretty mild.

Note that in nations where wealth disparities are the greatest...there are no booms. They are in a constant state of depression. Mexico is probably the closest country to utilize as an example of that. 50% of Mexico's wealth is in the hands of 38 families. Rich country...destitute population.

We seem to be on the way towards imitating that outcome.

Haiti might be another close to home example of extremes in wealth disparities. It's the most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere.

A successful economy is nothing more than the production and distribution of required goods. We've solved the production part, and have never solved the distribution part.

We use money to distribute goods. As Friedman noted, "The money supply at any given time is finite. For one to have more, another has to have less." There is no way under our system to distribute goods to those having too little.The U.S. produces $188,000 annually in goods and services for each family of four. Tens of millions go hungry. daily..

The monastery maintains a foreign aid program to the U.S. It attempts to feed the hungry that are evidently the victims of a nation unable to feed itself. Perhaps the U.S. was struck by a plague of locusts.

A monastery has no production/distribution problems. What is produced, gets distributed. No homeless with vacant housing available. No hungry when there is ample food production. It's an egalitarian society...same as the first long-lived democracy in what is now the Continental United States, the Iroquois Confederation.

The U.S. will do well if it lasts for as many centuries as they did..

.Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Every now and then I think a modern conservative economist might have something significant to say, but not this time. There is nothing here that even challenges the general ideologies unless you include the laughable claim that the rich have provided the know how that has made it "possible" for the working peon to have the pleasure of working for these select genuises. Technology and it's application has always been a collaborative effort mostly supplied through public education. Yes industry adapts that knowledge to apllications of various sorts. But there is no monumental leap occuring here that most of the population could have accomplished given the resources.Of course this theory provides that ownership is somehow synonymus with invention and efficeincy, and these qulaities can be simply bought as well. If we had an actual meritocracy then all this buisness about the brightest and the best showing the rest of us the way might be a thought,, but given the worthiness of the elites at the moment this is no more than insult upon insult

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mattnapa
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This is an interesting and informative article that I remembered from 5 years past following Woods publication of Politically Incorrect Guide to American History

http://hnn.us/articles/10007.html

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norske
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Norske -- Very interesting review you cited above! This guy sounds like a crank dressed up in a fancy suit.

Thanks for posting it!

yours,

Caleb

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Caleb
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Quote Caleb:

Norske -- Very interesting review you cited above! This guy sounds like a crank dressed up in a fancy suit.

Thanks for posting it!

yours,

Caleb

Did you read the book that was being reviewed? Or are you going to listen to the review by a person who disagrees with Woods' politics?

Even if Woods were a white supremacist, would that mean his economic views are automatically wrong? If a racist said 2 + 2 = 4, would you say he's wrong because of his reprehensible racial views? You should judge people on the merits of their arguments, not on who they are. How many conservatives are pro-war just because many socialists are anti-war and they conclude that to be anti-war means that one has to be a socialist.

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FrankChodorov
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Frank, I think you've earned your commission. You can get out of the woods now. If his income is down, it's because the bottom is falling out of the garbage-masquerading-as-product market.

My Dad was a teenager when he and his family got involuntarily relocated during WWII. I don't rely on a third party to know the truth of it.

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Rodger97321
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Quote Rodger97321:

Frank, I think you've earned your commission. You can get out of the woods now. If his income is down, it's because the bottom is falling out of the garbage-masquerading-as-product market.

My Dad was a teenager when he and his family got involuntarily relocated during WWII. I don't rely on a third party to know the truth of it.

You do realize that libertarians of today, including Woods, have denounced the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Malkin is a necon,not a libertarian.

FDR interned Americans. Then Attorney General of Ca, Republican Earl Warren helped.

Have you read the book? What specifically do you object to that Woods has written or said?

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FrankChodorov
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Mattnapa wrote: "Every now and then I think a modern conservative economist might have something significant to say, but not this time"

poly replies:

I think what you'll find are a lot of ideologues operating under the cloak of economics.

The economist Batra calls them prostitutes. Paul Craig Roberts is a little more kind. He merely refers to them as having "sold their souls for filthy lucre".

I found this link posted by forum member Progress Now really, really interesting. There are other ways of doing things. They require structural change and the tossing aside of failed structures.

http://fora.tv/2010/09/30/Why_the_Economic_Crisis_Deepens__The_New_School

Americans say they want change..., and not really. That would require a change in the structures themselves if they want a changed outcome. They are unwilling to go there.

A nation spiraling into decline isn't a pretty thing to watch.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

.

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

A few things about the Woods article -

1. Much of the S& L losses were from FRAUD - not simply because people were pulling their money out of the S&L's..... FRAUD was the main reason the S&L's lost money - and the BUSH family was right there deeply involved - bailing out family members..... Hello Neil! No word on FRAUD from Woods!

There is no proof that because S&L's were regulated and offered low rate but extremely safe investment opportunities that this would have caused them to go bankrupt - If this was the case no one would ever buy T-Bills. It was the deregulation and the allowance of the subsequent FRAUD that caused that - to say they were already bankrupt is ridiculus....

2,. If cutting taxes RAISED revenue so much and worked so well how come the federal DEBT tripled under reagan? THOSE debt Dollars were a form of LOOTING the American People by the wealthy - a confiscatory form of theft from the lower and middle classes to the upper class -

3. SO what if the rich pay 60% of the taxes when they own well over that in wealth! and those tax rates are full of loopholes where the actual amount of taxes paid are MUCH lower than the stated rate - no mention on that from WOODS. The CANARD is when these righwing economics always talk of the top 5% - forget the Top 5%- that's around a 100,000 income - THAT is not the income levels that Woods nad Hartmann are arguing over - theyare really arguing over the top 1% or 1/2 of 1% - whenever you see the "Top 5%" know it's a rightwing myth coming!

4. Woods states that an increase in Labor productivity is followed by increases in income for the lower classes - this is just FALSE - show me where that happens? It sure hasn't happened in the REAL WORLD! Wages are based on the supply and demand of LABOR - that is how labor markets work - not some BELIEF that lowering the taxes on the rich will lead to the rich giving the poor more! THAT is pure speculation - just as ALL of Woods ideas are - they are based in Philosophy and not in the real world -

I have yet to see how the Great Depression was extended by the CCC and WPA hiring people who were STARVING TO DEATH! According to Woods Bank's defrauding the average American wasn't confiscatory but the increase in the TOP tax rate in the richest 1% was wealth "violently expropriated" from the People - so know that in Woods mind only the RICHEST are the Citizens - the rest of us don't count.......

Unless of course he's arguing we should have let all those people simply DIE and then the supply of labor would have dropped leading to an increase in wages! THAT is what the fighters of FDR are really arguing should have happened.....

AND at any one point wealth is FIXED - so the more the rich have the less everyone else has!

I do agree that the Fed Reserve is a crooked cartel - but it's in place to help the RICH at the rest of the populations expense by manipulating currency and Liquidity.

So all in all Woods is completely WRONG if we use Emperical FACTS and not Philosophical Arguments that have never been PROVEN as the basis of study.....

AND those EMPIRICAL FACTS are the % of Income and Wealth that the Richest and Poorest gather as a result of Econoomic Activity -

If an economic system gives ALL the gains from increases Economic Activity to one segment of the Society - then it is on it's face CORRUPT -

Which is what we have now - basically ALL the gains from the last 30 years of Wealth have gone to the TOP 1% while the rest of the nation stagnates - ie - grows less than inflation.........

Can we imagine how much the RICH would whine and cry if their income nad wealth stayed stagnant for the next 30 years and the Lowest 98% instead gathered ALL THE GAINS from economic activity?

WOODS is WRONG.....

AND I'll say it again - the wealthy use more of the Commons and pay a lower tax rate than the rest of us - in addition to the Armned Forces acting as a Protector of Corporate Foreign Activity that enriches the rich but not the rest of us -

Which makes the top 1% WELFARE QUEENS and FREELOADERS!

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mtdon
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Great post above!

I don't believe we should have billionaires in our society. That much money in the hands of the few perverts the system. The rich can easily hire others to continue to increase their wealth, to expand their influence, etc. There is no check on this tendency to continue to amass wealth. Having people with a huge amount of money they can spend anyway they want is incredibly dangerous, like giving nukes to kids.

Example -- the Koch brothers and the Americans for Prosperity group that they funded. They also brag they funded the Teaparty. Here in Oregon, Peter DeFazio faced a true nut candidate who was given money by a hedge fund manager from NYC who wanted to preserve the rules that made him rich and which are helping to destroy the country. The Walton Family is trying to overturn he inheritance tax completely.

The Koch brothers almost destroyed the environmental safeguards in California but were defeated in part because of Arnold's impassioned plea. Similarly they care not a whit about Global Warming (Global Weather Change) and the dangers this brings about, or the acidification of the oceans, etc. They are interested in their own bottom line AND THAT'S IT!

A libertarian paradise has never existed and will never exist. Unfettered greed (and in a libertarian society no effective actual, real-time boundaries and regulations exist to constrain greedy behaviors) will allow people to take advantage of others, especially those out of their sight.

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Caleb
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Libertarians attend to assume that everyone left to their own greed will create the greatest common good..

The current meltdown is a direct result of that. Current libertarians have about as much in common with early libertarian thinkers as Stalin had with socialism. None.

Benjamin Tucker;

He argued, "strikes, whenever and wherever inaugurated, deserve encouragement from all the friends of labour. . . They show that people are beginning to know their rights, and knowing, dare to maintain them." [18] and furthermore, "as an awakening agent, as an agitating force, the beneficent influence of a strike is immeasurable. . . with our present economic system almost every strike is just. For what is justice in production and distribution? That labour, which creates all, shall have all.

In his words, "interest is theft, Rent Robbery, and Profit Only Another Name for Plunder."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Tucker

That ought to give current day libertarians some pause for thought.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Quote polycarp2:

Libertarians attend to assume that everyone left to their own greed will create the greatest common good..

The current meltdown is a direct result of that. Current libertarians have about as much in common with early libertarian thinkers as Stalin had with socialism. None.

I think you've stood everthing on its head and mischaracterized libertarians as well. The current meltdown is entirely the result of government intervention, not people being left alone, i.e. the free market. Modern libertarians are almost in entire agreement with mid to late 19th century libertarians thinkers such as Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker. Stalin is the complete opposite of libertarianism.

Quote polycarp2:

Benjamin Tucker;

He argued, "strikes, whenever and wherever inaugurated, deserve encouragement from all the friends of labour. . . They show that people are beginning to know their rights, and knowing, dare to maintain them." [18] and furthermore, "as an awakening agent, as an agitating force, the beneficent influence of a strike is immeasurable. . . with our present economic system almost every strike is just. For what is justice in production and distribution? That labour, which creates all, shall have all.

In his words, "interest is theft, Rent Robbery, and Profit Only Another Name for Plunder."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Tucker

That ought to give current day libertarians some pause for thought.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

"As I see it, the early American free-market anarchists -- I'm thinking of Benjamin Tucker and the people around his magazine, Liberty -- erred when they attributed profit, rent, and interest per se to the State, rather than argue that the amount of profit, rent, and interest collected is magnified through government privilege and monopoly.

But I'd rather have a thinker go too far in attributing evil to the State than not far enough. After all, Tucker et al. did not call on government to abolish profit, rent, and interest. They merely predicted their disappearance when the market is freed. "

http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/search/label/Benjamin%20Tucker

http://www.lysanderspooner.org

"But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another,
this much is certain--
that it has either authorized such a government as we have had,
or has been powerless to prevent it.
In either case, it is unfit to exist. "
- Lysander Spooner

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FrankChodorov
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Quote polycarp2:

...

The current meltdown is a direct result of that. Current libertarians have about as much in common with early libertarian thinkers as Stalin had with socialism. None.

Polycarp,

Just so I know that we're talking about the same people, could you name 5 to 10 current libertarians?

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FrankChodorov
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As Tucker noted:

For what is justice in production and distribution? That labour, which creates all, shall have all.

In his words, "interest is theft, Rent Robbery, and Profit Only Another Name for Plunder."

:=========

I didn't note anything about goverment reaping profits or interest.

Libertarians? Start with Ron Paul and trickle down to the plethora of them that have appreared on this board.

You're correct. Stalin wasn't a libertarian any more than current libertarians are. AND, he had as much in common with socialism as current libertarians do with Tucker.

The most libertarian societies I know of were some of the Native American ones. . As Tucker noted, labor should reap the full product of their labor...without a profut extraction. Native Americans did that. Economic as well as social freedoms way, way greater than ours or those proposed by libertarians..

I note this from your link:

".....one class of men are dependent for their living upon the sale of their labor, while another class of men are relieved of the necessity of labor by being legally privileged to sell something that is not labor, and that, but for the privilege, would be enjoyed by all gratuitously. And to such a state of things I am as much opposed as any one. But the minute you remove privilege, the class that now enjoy it will be forced to sell their labor, and then, when there will be nothing but labor with which to buy labor, the distinction between wage-payers and wage-receivers will be wiped out, and every man will be a laborer exchanging with fellow-laborers. Not to abolish wages, but to make every man dependent upon wages and to secure to every man his whole wages is the aim of Anarchistic Socialism. What Anarchistic Socialism aims to abolish is usury. It does not want to deprive labor of its reward; it wants to deprive capital of its reward"

Bye bye corporate America. Welcome back to the 1700's where the majority owned their own means of livelhood. Independent shop keepers, craftsmen and farmers each exchanging the wages (the full fruits of their labor) with another..

I could actually go for that.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"But the minute you remove privilege, the class that now enjoy it will be forced to sell their labor, and then, when there will be nothing but labor with which to buy labor, the distinction between wage-payers and wage-receivers will be wiped out, and every man will be a laborer exchanging with fellow-laborers."

As tiring of discussing issues with libertarians as I have become, I never quite tire of listening to the apologetics of class. Damn conscience gets in the way every time, I could have been a contender.

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The Free Market CANNOT exist without government - without Governement there is no "Market" only anarchy.....

and with the truly Free Market or even Anarchy where there is no government intervention, the 1st thing the most powerful will do is set up barriers to entry in order to increase their own power...- and if the government wasn't in place to accomplish that then the most powerful within the Free Market would create government to increase their own power.....

There can be no Free Markets without government intervention - or the equilevent whether you call it 'government" or not -

there is always an 'ordering' to society....... so there can never be a truly 'free market".......

the truly free market would be the guy with the biggest gun kicking down your door to take whatever they wanted..... leading to government to either help or hinder that action......

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mtdon
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Yes and no. Indian Nations had free markets. You could trade anything without government intervention...except labor. Selling labor to another was considered a form of slavery. Forbidden by most.

Since the means of livelihood were owned by no one and open to everyone, selling labor wasn't a necessity.

What was held in common was held in common and inviolable. What was private was private and inviolable. Government had little to do with markets. Cultural norms supported them.

Different social/cultural norms with pretty weak elected governing bodies compared to our own or even to Europeans of the day...

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

.

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Native Americans lived under a sort of "government" - they had tribal councils and Chiefs etc.....

If not followed many were forced into "exile" - so I'd argue that there was a governing influence......

you may be right about the 'free' quality of their operating markets.....

I'd argue that their social more's defined the freedom of their markets.....

but you are right Polycarpe that they existed on a much freer level than todays cartel controlled markets do.......

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mtdon
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