Free Markets, Free People

Former SEIU boss: We should emulate Chinese economic model

You can wade through all the trash he throws up there as a preface to his central point, but I’ll save you the trouble.  Writing in the WSJ, Andy Stern says:

The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model—so successful in the 20th century—is being thrown onto the trash heap of history in the 21st century. In an era when countries need to become economic teams, Team USA’s results—a jobless decade, 30 years of flat median wages, a trade deficit, a shrinking middle class and phenomenal gains in wealth but only for the top 1%—are pathetic.

This should motivate leaders to rethink, rather than double down on an empirically failing free-market extremism. As painful and humbling as it may be, America needs to do what a once-dominant business or sports team would do when the tide turns: study the ingredients of its competitors’ success.

No poisoning the well there, huh?  The “conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only" model?  Really?  Where? 

And why was it “so successful in the 20th century” and why is it having problems now?  Well that’s a fairly easy question to answer.   What happened increasingly in the 20th century that is at an all time high now?

Answer?  Government.  It has increased dramatically in both size and intrusiveness.  We don’t have a “free-market” system anymore.  Haven’t for quite some time.   It’s a convenient shibboleth used by opponents of free markets such as Stern.  We have a government that has, in the century cited, turned it into crony capitalism.  Any resemblance here in the 21st century to a “free market” model is purely coincidental.  And we now have a debt drag imposed by out of control government spending that has finally topped our total yearly GDP.

As usual, with those who think China has figured out how to build the socialist dream, they never figure in the damage done to the model that was “so successful in the 20th century” because doing so kills their entire premise.   Government is their vehicle to both wealth and social justice.   They have no concept of how markets work so are gullible enough to still believe that central planning, properly done, can work.  And they take the fact that China has risen economically as proof of their premise.

What they don’t do is look behind the curtain.   Stern talks about his trip there, “a trip organized by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Center for American Progress—with high-ranking Chinese government officials, both past and present.”

Yes indeed, very likely to see the underside of the economy is a show tour aren’t you?

A caller to Rush Limbaugh who spends a lot of time in China lays out the reality there:

CALLER: Because once you get outside of the main cities, there are still people plowing fields behind cows and oxen, still hand harvesting corn, grains, rice. I mean, it’s still very much a Third World economy once you get outside of the main cities.

RUSH: With a First World military.

CALLER: Yeah, that’s true.

RUSH: That’s where much of their spending goes. Their infrastructure is built on the cheap, too. Doesn’t take much wind to bring down some of their so-called powerful infrastructure. But, you’re right, and this is what President Bush was telling me, that the big challenge is keeping those peasants behind the oxen. Don’t [let] them into the city. The cities can’t handle them. The cities are teeming with people already. But it’s always been the case that there is this romance — the left has romance — with the romantic attachments to all these tyrannical communist regimes, and now they’re looking at China and you’ve got this Andy Stern guy and other people telling us, "This is what we need to be. We need to emulate the ChiComs. The ChiComs are doing it right."

This is simply the usual nonsense wrapped up in a little different packaging.  It is the leftist dream – a strong central government planning the economy in which it ensures social justice as its highest priority (btw, China is an environmental disaster area, but you won’t hear that from the likes of Stern).  And that doesn’t mean market capitalism, even if the Andy Sterns of the world want you to believe that.  

While he avoids the obvious problem of government intrusion and its disastrous effect on the economy, he does touch on the political problem we still endure.   We have politicians who prefer being Santa Claus to the Grinch and whose whole political horizon never goes beyond the next election.

But the central problem we have isn’t needing a new economic model.  Instead we need to go back to the old one before it was corrupted and distorted by government.   Instead of more government, as Andy Stern wishes, we need precisely the opposite – much less government.

If we want to regain our economic footing and dominance, what government needs to do is get the hell out of the way, get spending under control and pay down the debt (which should become its primary focus over the coming decades) to eliminate the debt drag it has created.

Other than that, it’s job is to be the night watchman, not Santa Claus.  Our problem isn’t economic models.  Our problem is exactly what Stern wants more of.

Obviously economics wasn’t his strong subject in whatever schooling he received and history was apparently completely skipped.  How else to explain the utter nonsense he pushes in his article?


Twitter: @McQandO

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7 Responses to Former SEIU boss: We should emulate Chinese economic model

  • Pretty funny. We need more, not less, free market “extremisim” in the United States. The government has screwed up so many markets and their price structures that the economy is paralyzed. As for Andy Stern, he’s a gangster socialist verging toward the fascist model (Team USA?!?). He’s one of Obama’s lieutenants as well. And that reminds me, vis a vis the fascist model, of New York Times business/economy writer David Leonhardt comparing Obama’s economic methods *favorably* to those of Hitler back in ’09. So these people are repackaging the most vile sicknesses of the 20th century and the bottom line is always the power. Recall my imagined final words from Jeremiah Wright to Obama as they parted ways in early ’08: “Just get the power, Barack.” And indeed he, and Andy Stern, did get the power. And look what a marvelous job they’ve done with it. In fact, their friends who got paid off with that “Stimulus” heist, they’ll tell you what a marvelous job it was.

  • In case you’re not aware, Andy Stern and Barack Obama have been joined at the hip for some time now. Changing America into a totalitarian regime like China is precisely what Stern wants. The fact that he has come right out and said so should be frightening to everyone.
    –Small Dead Animals


    More intriguingly, SEIU is a huge supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which, taken at its word, is most concerned with income inequality and the back-room corruption that comes from “crony capitalism.” And Stern touts China as the model for how to fix things? China has 115 billionaires and at least 115 million people living on a dollar a day or less. Nearly all of those billionaires got rich gaming a corrupt political system.
    –Jonah Goldberg

    We can see the models of East German-style economic planning all around the world.

    We can see the havoc the Obamic imposition of those models is wreaking here.

    And we can see models…including our own amazing history of prosperity…showing beyond all doubt that markets work to raise the standard of living and NARROW the gap between rich and poor.

    Yet the totalitarian urge in the Collective persists. It is a form of madness.

  • Hey, the head of union thugs thinks we should aspire to emulate repressive authoritarian regime? WHODA THUNK IT?

  • We haven’t had anything like a free market since around 1840. But the Chinese model DOES work. In a backward agricultural economy which is beginning to industrialize.

    What happens is that the low paying industrial jobs are still so much better off than working on the farms that the population is kept satisfied while the government inflates their currency and reduces their ability to purchase products from abroad.

    But after a while it all catches up and the people demand higher wages, lower prices, and other things. And eventually you have to stabilize your currency.

    If an advanced economy tried to use the Chinese model we would see prices skyrocketing like in the late 1970’s.

  • So what is the Chinese model?

    Let’s see. In the early 1980’s they allowed capitalism.

    That’s it. That’s the model.

    All of those bullet trains and skyscrapers weren’t built under the communist system, but under the capitalist system, which pays the rent for such public works.,

    People who imagine its the state run part of China that makes the money and produces the growth are kidding themselves. Its the private sector that spawns everything else. All because they allowed people to make money. Somehow I don’t think that lesson is what the lefties want to hear.

  • p.s. China bans unions!