As I got to know the free-market, supply-side crowd, the hard money, low-tax, Wall Street Journal deregulate-and-privatize team, I came rather to like them. I never thought they were right. Far from it: on matters of economic policy they were in my view mostly nuts. But I did think — and do think — that they held their views in good faith. They were, by and large, willing to argue the merits of their ideas.Now that's high quality polemic. I haven't read The Predator State, which this is based on, but it sounds bracing.
....The judicial coup of December 2000 that installed Bush and Cheney brought back some of Reagan's men and his most extreme policies — tax cuts for the wealthy, big increases in military spending, aggressive deregulation. But it didn't bring back the ideas. Instead, it became clear that Bush and Cheney had no real ideas, no larger public justification. They cut taxes to enrich their supporters. For the same reason, they outsourced to Blackwater and Halliburton and pursued military pipe dreams like Missile Defense. They were willing to have the government spend like a drunken sailor in 2003/4 to boost the economy before the election. They placed lobbyists in charge of the regulators, representing, in every case, the most extreme anti-regulation perspective. (Not so long ago, Bush's financial regulators showed up at a press conference with a chainsaw.) Under Bush and Cheney, oil and gas, drug companies and defense contractors, insurers and usurers control the government of the United States, and it does what they want. This is the predator state.
THE PREDATOR STATE....Jamie Galbraith writes today about the difference between Reagan conservatism and Bush conservatism: