Libertarian populism: Bail-outs and safety nets

Posted: August 12, 2013 in economy
Tags: , ,

THE topic of the summer in the conservative reform movement is libertarian populism: the effort, which my colleague touched on last week, to reinvigorate the GOP as the party of economic populism by recasting the Democrats as the party of entrenched interests and crony capitalism. Rand Paul hewed to this line in an interview Thursday with Bloomberg’s Josh Green, and Ross Douthat tweeted that what Mr Paul said in the interview represented “libertarian populism’s weaknesses in a nutshell”. I was actually pretty taken by Mr Paul’s vocatives, the way he signaled an intended audience of libertarians and anarchists on both right and left: “The origins of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement really had some commonality, and that commonality was that government shouldn’t bail out Big Business. It has been a part of the early message of the Tea Party, but the Republican Party hasn’t captured that message. The average guy who’s working class is not real excited about paying taxes and sending it out to bail out a guy who makes $100m a year.”This is a nice rhetorical gesture. The problem comes when you try to imagine what policies could act on this anti-elitist economic sentiment and also be, first, non-disastrous for the American economy, and second, ideologically acceptable to Rand Paul. By echoing Occupy Wall Street’s slogans (“AIG got bailed out, what about me?”), …

via Economic Crisis


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