Friday, September 12, 2008

E-mail To Sean Hannity Re the Economy

Dear Mr. Hannity--I listen to your TV program as well as your radio broadcast and enjoy them both. I agree with you most of the time. I enjoyed your exchange with Robert Kuttner but want to take issue with a point with which I disagree--your support for President Bush's economic policies. I think that your position is a mistake from both "conservatives principles" and tactical viewpoints.

I disagree with Mr. Kuttner on many things but agree with him on this point. The Bush administration has permitted the Greenspan and Bernanke Fed to behave like a hyper-Democratic government agency. This was true antecedent to 2000, since the days of President Reagan and Chair Greenspan, and it has not gone away.

If you are a conservative then you probably believe in less government. Artificial stimulation of misdirected (or as von Mises put it malinvested) economic activity is one of the most wasteful and inefficient forms of government intervention. This has been the policy that the Republicans have pursued since the 1980s (and indeed, in the 1970s under President Nixon) and it is antithetical to conservatism if you are adhering to the small government, Jacksonian variant. Of course, it is also possible to be a big government Whig economic conservative, along the lines of Rockefeller and GW Bush, but that viewpoint has come to be viewed as a form of liberalism or left-wing Republicanism rather than the conservatism of Barry Goldwater, Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek.

In any case, if you are an advocate of big government monetary expansion, support for big business, government intervention in the economy and Keynesian economics, which are the policies of George W. Bush, you should say so. I don't think that all Republicans or conservatives agree with you. I find this especially troubling because Fox has limited its exposure of conservatives to the Whig-American Enterprise Institute-Progressive conservatism, which is not what many of your viewers believe, and I think there is a sleight of hand going on. You should clarify your position on this issue.

I would hope that you reject big government, and therefore the monetary policies of the past 25 years. I do not believe that government should intervene on behalf of the rich, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, or Lehman Brothers. Nor do I believe in welfare. Many of the Fox pundits believe in welfare for the rich, and this is a serious weakness in your presentation.

In addition, I do not think the cause of John McCain and Sarah Palin is helped by association with the Whig-AEI-Progressive approach to the economy. Americans are by many measures worse off. The average hourly wage has been declining since 1971, when President Nixon took us off the gold standard. It is tragic if you allow the Democrats to steal this issue because of short-sighted fixation on big money donations from the board members of AEI. In the long run there is going to be backlash against the feudal, inflationary economy of post-1968 Republicanism, and if the Republicans don't start re-thinking their position on hard money they ultimately will be thrown out of office.

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