Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Breitbart now Promoting Left-Wing Economics

I’ve noticed this increasingly this year, especially more and more Breitbart articles hostile to free trade, such as, say, this.

And now we have this fascinating article in Breitbart from James P. Pinkerton:
James P. Pinkerton, “Part II: A Manifesto for the 60 Percent: The Center-Right Populist-Nationalist Coalition,”, 14 September 2016.
This is essentially a call for Keynesian economics, served up in ways attractive to conservatives, and it is a very good thing indeed to see Keynesian thought growing amongst conservatives.

I get a (favourable!) mention towards the end too.

All of this is of course is the result of Trump.

It should be perfectly clear now that, on economics, Trump is the most left-wing Republican presidential candidate since (probably) Richard Nixon.

Trump is:
(1) hostile to free trade and current free trade agreements (and at one point he was even quoting a left heterodox policy institute on free trade, making Dean Baker decidedly unconformable).

(2) calling for protectionism and some kind of industrial policy,

(3) calling for huge tax cuts with huge government spending on infrastructure and the military, which will impart massive Keynesian stimulus to the United States via huge deficits, and

(4) crucially, calling for an immigration policy that will create strong labour market protectionism for US workers.
People on the left have difficulty understanding (4), because labour market protectionism doesn’t just consistent of (a) minimum wages and (b) labour market regulations and trade unions.

In fact, the single biggest policy that protects labour markets, as Ha-Joon Chang has argued here, is immigration policy.

Also, when Trump says things like this:

...we’re dealing with someone who may well tear up the current neoliberal consensus and possibly even the neoliberal international institutions like the WTO.

Why people on the left are not – at the very least – welcoming this as a splendid development, even if they don’t want to vote for Trump, is a mystery to me.

Further Reading
“Will Trumponomics be Reaganomics Mark II?,” February 26, 2016.

“I Told You Trumponomics will be Reaganomics Mark II,” August 3, 2016.

“Trump the Keynesian causes Libertarian Heads to Explode,” August 1, 2016.

“Trump: ‘World Trade Organization is a Disaster,’” August 1, 2016.

“Why are some Democrats Supporting Trump?,” August 25, 2016.

“Trump quotes Left-Wing Economic Policy Institute on Free Trade,” July 2, 2016.

“Trump the MMT Convert,” May 9, 2016.

“Trump the Right-Wing Keynesian on Infrastructure,” May 8, 2016.

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  1. Because Trump does not commit enough to raising taxes.

    As if raising taxes is all there is to a progressive economic policy.

    1. This is the key issue. The left as constituted are obsessed with taxation - even though it is probably the worst tool for freeing up resources for the public good there is in the box.

      Why bother taxing the rich? It just gets their back up and does nothing to alter their power relationships, or disrupt their control networks.

      What you do is remove their state rewards for wealth - tradeable interest bearing government instruments and interest bearing bank accounts.

    2. Even during the financial crisis, they wanted to raise taxes. They were correct that an economic stimulus was needed to get people working again. But they were totally mistaken to think they needed to raise more taxes to pay for it - if anything it could even disrupt the impact of the stimulus.

      Their obsession with raising taxes has little to do even with economic concerns of the time, but more to do with their ideas of social justice.

    3. you are right taxation by itself is less important than the regulation of the financial sector or good industrial policy or full employment policies.

      but nevertheless its also not an issue which is completely irelevant as well.


      There is quite the obsession with taxation indeed.

    5. I'd say it's the right who are obsessed with never raising taxes on anyone. Even things like capital gains loopholes where a hedge fund manager essentially pays less tax than a school teacher. Or a huge multinational effectively pays no corporate tax. The problem with the right is that they won't recognize the insane tax breaks and loopholes that go to the 0.1%.

    6. I'd say people on the left aren't welcoming it because this rejection of the neoliberal consensus is tied up with the persona of Donald Trump. I feel like if people could just vote to reject the neoliberal status quo, kinda like how the Brexit vote wasn't tied to any one person, then maybe it would have more popularity. Besides, it's a bit of a stretch too to think that Trump really has the political capital, desire, or alliances to really make good on these pretty sweeping plans.

    7. what do u think of this guy's thesis?

      especially his discussion of capital gains tax

    8. also this fable:

  2. I don't think protectionism is really a left wing policy. It can go both ways. It's more about economic nationalism than anything. I'd also point out that deals like TTIP aren't really about free trade at all. Here's a quote from a paper in favour of TTIP:

    "ISDS clauses do not preclude the right of governments to adopt laws and regulations, but simply require them to reward companies harmed by changes in legislation or regulation that impacted their investments made in accordance with these governments"

    This sounds more like like bailouts of companies to me. Protecting companies that can't deal with changes in political economy. It has a lot to do with large US firms muscling in.

    Genuine free trade, as in reducing tariffs, I actually support, but NAFTA and so on seem to be more about economic imperialism, for lack of a better word (not wanting to come across as an "anti American Regressive leftist" here.)

  3. Alt Left stuff here:

  4. Well most left wingers seem to agree with C. Dillow. His articles are a good read for the left wing position:

    "you might object that politicians have a duty to their voters, not to the world. This is too glib: can people really legitimately incur duties to harm others? Should we, for example, respect a hired killer's duty to carry out his employers' orders?"

    "Whereas we British have “legitimate concerns” that politicians must address, foreigners are a problem to be managed. Chris Bertram say this is racist. I’d add that it looks like feudalism: the highborn (those of us born into rich countries) have a right to preserve and increase our wealth, whereas the lowborn must be kept in poverty by the use of force."

    "My point is, though, that the threats to free trade and the prosperity it brings don’t come merely from silly people believing silly things. They are more profound than that."

    Because there is never tradeoffs between resilience and efficiency :-)

    "Truth relativism"

    "How should economists engage with a man who knows nothing about economics? Matthew Bishop says we should treat him as a “worthy interlocutor in a way that values his opinion”. I’d caveat this.

    We should make two distinctions here. One is between the man who genuinely wants to learn more, and the one who is loudly spouting nonsense for political reasons."

    Says a very wealthy man.

    1. there is way better ways to give people in third world countries social mobility than flooding first world nations with masses of immigrants.

      thats where the arguement should end.

  5. It certainly is a bit interesting that so many on the Left are worried about Trump more than any Republican before him. But why? Paul Ryan's economic ideology is by the most dangerous that has ever came about, and Mitt Romney was more than willing to pander to the far right's economic supply-side wing.

    It may very well be that it's because of the Regressive Left's drumming up on fear due to his questionable racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc. statements. Unfortunately this may have more stock in modern day America than about calming the fears of him by saying "well, at least his economic policies look to be good for all of us!"

    But here's the problem, we're not sure if we can really trust him to do any of this. He did pick Mike Pence as his VP, a down-the-line supply-side conservative. And he has promoted tax cuts, most of which go to the Rich and are unstimulative. And he changes his positions all of the time. So perhaps there's no celebration because there's little trust and there's contradictions on his economic policy.

  6. Trump is more left than Hillary economically. That is why there is no point riding with regressive left like Varoufakis, Coppola etc, and fight Trump etc. Trump's and Bernie's plans had a lot in common. Trump will end ideological TINA. Democrats embrace It.

  7. How is tax cuts and protectionism a left wing policy? Those are standard conservative issues. Trade doesn't fit easily on the left-right divide (both sides have supporters of protectionism) and it's crazy to think that massive tax cuts and huge increases in military spending is a victory for the left.

  8. i object to characterizing anti neoliberal and libertarian politics as left wing at the level of political philosophy.

    The real right's concern with economics is primarily that 'muh economy' is not considered the constant while people are the variable.

    Of course in the narrow American political context, it is accurate to say Trump is left of Hillary.