Sometimes I think people on the hard economic right live on a different planet.
The full post title at Cato is Are Short-Sighted Politicians (and Greedy Voters) Undermining Democracy?
The Cato article links to another article by Kevin Hasset (the guy who wrote DOW 36,000!) titled “Does Economic Success Require Democracy?” – His conclusion: “Sadly, no. In fact, the politically unfree countries are enjoying more economic growth than the politically free ones.”
Cato describes Hasset’s analysis as follows:
he wonders whether democratic regimes sow the seeds of their own destruction (or at least create for themselves a competitive disadvantage) by enabling people to seize unearned wealth through the political process
Hasset himself states it thusly:
But being unfree may be an economic advantage. Dictatorships are not hamstrung by the preferences of voters for, say, a pervasive welfare state.
So economic growth is more important than freedom. Growth is more important than democracy. Is that where the hard economic right is coming from?
For years I’ve been looking for a way to describe what I fear about the Bush/Rove/Cheney/Delay crew without falling afoul of Godwin’s law. I don’t simply think of them as fascists - I consider that simplistic and partially inaccurate. But these economics articles are giving me a clue.
What the Banana Republicans want is a state that creates wealth, and if the rights of the citizens have to be curtailed by authoritarian mechanisms in order for that to happen, that’s too bad. I think I get it now.
There is of course a major logical hole in that hard-right analysis, which is this: the median does not equal the mean. When you look only at raw growth numbers, you are looking at the mean, which includes the vast growth that occurs in the top tiers of the wealthy in most of the expansions they are talking about. I wonder what all these charts would look like if they were adjusted to look at median growth for the majority of the population. Or how would these charts look if you took the top 1% out of the picture and looked at the remaining 99%?
I’m not slamming the top 1% and I don’t envy them. My point is that “growth” which doesn’t help 99% of the population is growth I don’t care much about.
A better analysis would look at how wealthy the vast majority of persons in the society are, not just the mean average numbers. As the old saying goes, if Bill Gates walks into a bar with 99 other patrons, he raises the mean net worth of eveveryone into the bar to $400,000,000. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything to the 99 guys who’s personal net worth is more like $40,000.
Anyway, I just love that post title. I think I shall frame it.