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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10877/the-wall-street-journal-defends-the-predator-state/

The Wall Street Journal Defends the Predator State

October 21, 2009 by

The Wall Street Journal defends socialized medicine? The conventional dichotomy between “liberal” and “conservative” newspapers is spurious: all major news organizations support the welfare-warfare state. FULL ARTICLE


J. Murray October 21, 2009 at 6:52 am

I’d like to point out that Thomas Frank is a token left-wing supporter the WSJ brought on to act as if they’re balanced. The majority of the articles in the opinion section of the WSJ are overwhelmingly the opposite of Mr. Frank.

Speedmaster October 21, 2009 at 7:12 am

J. Murray is correct.

Those Who Vote October 21, 2009 at 7:30 am

“Who’s the Predator — the Government or Corporations?”

ANSWER: Those who vote.

Mac October 21, 2009 at 8:25 am

The views of the WSJ may be the opposite of Frank, but the WSJ still supports warfare part of the welfare-warfare equation quite regularly.

John Pinto October 21, 2009 at 8:31 am

The title of the blog entry really should be changed to reflect JM’s comment. Mac is also correct but not relevant to this particular post.

mpolzkill October 21, 2009 at 8:49 am


I find Mac’s point always relevant. Whenever the Dem version of welfare is excoriated, we should always make clear our disdain for the Repub version as well.

Mark October 21, 2009 at 8:53 am

There was a time when spending 40 minutes with the WSJ was an enjoyable part of my daily routine. That time ended something like 10 years ago when the Journal somehow lost its mojo and became another vacuous liberal waste of time.

I heard rumors to the effect that a member of the owning family started getting involved in the day to day affairs of the paper.

At one point I tried the online subscription but objected to paying for something where I had to be distracted by animated advertisements next to the content, and cancelled that.

So, the Journal, like the NY Times, is an august name that has lost whatever made it exceptional in a bygone day. I never read it anymore unless drudge links to an interesting article.

Michael Orlowski(TheOrlonater) October 21, 2009 at 8:58 am

We can also treat all insurance companies equally when it comes to the tax code.

PirateRothbard October 21, 2009 at 9:26 am

I’m dissapointed that Murray seems to be advocating that the federal government force states to tear down boundaries for interstate commerce with regards to health care.

As much as I hate the stupid things that state governments do, the federal government is dangerous and can not be trusted to reform the states. Look at what happened when the feds ended segregation, it morphed into many other things.

Troy October 21, 2009 at 9:56 am

The title and first part of this article damage Murphy’s credibility. It is fine to criticize a particular point of view or even the author for his view, but this painting of one media channel or other with a broad brush is dangerous and small minded (see Obama administration). At least columnists like Frank make an attempt at a logical discussion instead of just spouting unfair rhetoric or snarky cheap shots.

Murphy is right of course and Frank is wrong on health care, but several columnists on the WSJ editorial pages have made points similar to Murphy’s. Ron Paul and Peter Schiff have had columns published on the WSJ pages. They must be part of the welfare/warfare cabal as well.

Christopher October 21, 2009 at 10:15 am

“but the very legitimate fear is that the government will get its foot in the door with a “public option.” Precisely because the bureaucrats running the plan will have no need to turn a profit, they will be able to “afford” to insure anybody, regardless of preexisting conditions, at a price that doesn’t cover expected payouts. When the shortfall occurs, they will simply ask the politicians for another injection of a few billion dollars.”

Many foreign govt’s which have a public plan not only raise taxes but they also trim the re-imbursement for procedures or remove them all together. They will also triage patients using some obscure logic.

This really isn’t much different than the private sector. The private sectors tries to hold down costs in order to remain profitable, the public sector tries to hold down costs in order to prevent shockingly high tax rates.

J. Murray October 21, 2009 at 10:46 am

Don’t misunderstand me on the subject, I’m pointing out a logical fallacy in the article. Attacking the WSJ as a whole due to the opinion article of a single contributing writer (as noted above, Peter Schiff and Ron Paul have also contributed to the Opinion page) is a major error in logical thinking. Mr. Frank is an unabashed statist, the WSJ is an organization that allowed his opinion to be heard, so attack Mr. Frank, not the WSJ as a whole. Somehow linking my original post to being a supporter of a large state organization (despite actually reading Mises.org) is one massive leap of faith.

I’m not a supporter of such nonsense. See my comment on Page 3 of the comments section of Mr. Frank’s article, midway down, mentioning that predatory organizations cannot exist without state protection. The State is by nature predatory and Thomas Frank’s argument is null by that simple point, a non-predatory state simply cannot exist.

Bob Roddis October 21, 2009 at 11:40 am

Mr. Frank is truly a dullard. After seeing him repeatedly on TV claiming that Kansans were nuts because they didn’t vote Democrat “in their own best interest”, I felt the need to purchase his book on the subject for pennies (plus $3.99 shipping) because I couldn’t believe someone could be so dumb and be on TV. Well, he is.

It’s been almost four decades now that I’ve been flummoxed by the inablility of people to wrap their little brains around the idea that corporations do not have SWAT teams. The Feds have them, the states have them, your local tax authority has them, but companies do not.

If one cannot grasp that simple idea, it’s almost useless discussing politics with such a person.

David October 21, 2009 at 11:54 am

I actually picked up a copy of that ridiculous book, The Predator State. Gilbreath opens by showing that FEMA is a failure of the free market. Yes, the FEDERAL agency, FEMA, is a free market failure. I promptly threw the book in the trash.

K Ackermann October 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Only when the public withdraws its consent will the predations come to an end.

So there it is. That is the solution.

How come there are no articles on the solution?

Has anyone thought about how consent is withdrawn?

TokyoTom October 22, 2009 at 2:57 am

Bob, I`ve run a number of posts that similarly point to the lack of free markets in electricity – stemming from state grants of local “public utility” monopoly status – and the mangled incentives that result as being one of the chief roots of enviros` calls for conservation and green power mandates.

My most recent post is here: http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/10/16/beyond-zero-sum-games-liberal-press-is-starting-to-realize-how-state-grants-of-monopolies-to-public-utilities-are-the-chief-obstacle-to-energy-efficiency.aspx

I`m not sure I agree that calling for the federal government (via the commerce clause or antimonopoly enforcement) to pressure the states to end these monopolies is the right conclusion.

gene October 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I like that “right leaning enviro”! it may be you are just using the wrong “left” to gauge yourself!

I think the first thing that is needed is to cut the grid up and the feds certainly have the “right” to do that. At that point, the power could be auctioned just like the thing is wired, right down to the substations and neighborhoods.

The smallest unit of customers [again defined by wiring] could have a representative board. when the rates go up, they simply bid out the service to someone else with a better price. they could decide to bid it out whenever they want, for example, if rates go up 10% or someone may “offer” to provide at a lower rate at any time.

remove all those hidden gov taxes and the billing becomes a simple matter, no matter how often the provider is changed. the gov should make its money at the primary level, where the power is produced, not by nickel and dimeing the consumer.

All the other levels could do the same thing on market terms. When someone is charging too much, someone else can replace them.

what should occur is a growth of small local “utility” companies that cater to providing inexpensive transfer of power from the higher level to the local. they may need several areas to sustain themselves or they may be so good at one, they don’t get replaced. whatever works.

MS October 22, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I agree with J. Murray. As much as I find Thomas Frank’s column to be naive, poorly written and illogical, I am disappointed that Murphy would make such a sweeping generalization about the WSJ and expect it to be read as an intelligent point. I would read with interest an article criticizing Thomas Frank’s argument and I would also read with interest an article criticizing the WSJ as a whole. But to put the two together, as he did here, is careless.

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