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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:37 AM

“Free-Market” Outcomes Are Not Fair—and Not Free

“Since 1980, the U.S. government has reduced its intervention in the U.S. economy, which has become much more of a free market. Conservatives applaud this development because they think that free-market outcomes reward talent and hard work; progressives object to the income inequality of free-market outcomes and want to use government tax and transfer policy to reduce inequality.”

Most people, whether conservative or progressive, would probably agree with this statement. This framing of the issue, however, plays into a right-wing story in which conservatives are the defenders of (free) market outcomes, including the success of the rich who have made it “on their own”; meanwhile, the “dependent poor” look to the government for handouts. This has been a basic element of the right-wing playbook for a long time. Then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney was drawing on this narrative when he complained about the 47% of the U.S. population “who are dependent upon government ... who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them.”

This view has two main themes: 1) Because the U.S. free-market economy rewards talent and hard work, the middle class should emulate the wealthy for their success, not vilify them; and 2) those who have been failures in the market want the government to take care of them by redistributing income from those who have been successful. We can see these themes play out on all sorts of political issues. They form, for example, the basis for the attacks on the Affordable Health Care Act (or “Obamacare”). Middle-class Americans, in the conservative view, are being taxed—forced to pay—to provide health insurance for those “unsuccessful” elements of the population who have not earned it themselves.

The conservative argument assumes that the outcomes we observe are the result of a free-market economy. However, the right-wing objective has not been to create a free market; it has been to rig government policy and the market so as to redistribute income towards large corporations and the wealthy.


http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/01/22-2

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Reply “Free-Market” Outcomes Are Not Fair—and Not Free (Original post)
Redfairen Jan 2013 OP
bemildred Jan 2013 #1

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:14 AM

1. Money is no fair measure of human worth, and it never has been.

If anything the correlation between money and worth is negative, the more money you have, the bigger an asshole you tend to be from worrying about it all the time.

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