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Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:24 PM

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

from Dollars & Sense:

“Free-Market” Outcomes Are Not Fair—and Not Free
BY MARTY WOLFSON | November/December 2012

“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. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2012/1112wolfson.html

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Reply “Free-Market” Outcomes Are Not Fair—and Not Free (Original post)
marmar Jan 2013 OP
Vinnie From Indy Jan 2013 #1
kairos12 Jan 2013 #2

Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:35 PM

1. Absolutely correct! This is a major falsehood pushed in much of our media

at the behest of the 1%'ers. It is simply undeniable that in America in the last decade that the 1%'ers have rigged the game. They have been able to "socialize" their losses and "privatize" their gains.

There are other Mt. Everest sized flaws in the idea that the US has a free market, capitalist based economy. One need only look at the cost we pay for high speed Internet, cable TV, pharmaceuticals and a host of other products to see them.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:18 PM

2. Even the great demigod of the free marketeers Adam Smith...

recognized that without any truly fair regulation the dead hand of the market would choke itself on greed.

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