Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Man Behind the Curtain Is...Barack Obama

My blog "The Man Behind the Curtain Is...Barack Obama" appears on the Republican Liberty Caucus Blog.

>We all remember the scene in the movie version of Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls the curtain aside and the Wizard turns out to be none other than the snake oil salesman from Kansas. In William Leach’s wonderful history of consumerism, Land of Desire*, Leach points out that Baum was one of the earliest store window designers for Wannamaker’s Department Store in Philadelphia and that Baum’s American fairy tale was an allegory for the concept of consumerism. The snake oil salesman was the Wizard of consumerism who could grant everyone their dreams.

Within a few decades of Baum’s publication of Wonderful Wizard of Oz American politics took a particular turn. A snake oil of illusory democracy and equality were sold to the American public by a series of Wizards who managed to transfer increasing quantities of wealth to Wall Street and the banking industry while, at the same time, convincing Americans that they were doing so in the interest of the poor and middle class.

Americans have traveled the Yellow Brick Road for more than seventy years while the snake oil has done its work. During that time, both conservatives and “liberals” have played their part. The conservatives, keying off the social Darwinism of the late 19th century, have claimed that “liberals” are soft on the poor and do not recognize the importance of incentives. They pretend to libertarian views on government, but when push comes to shove conservatives advocate a key role for big government in the form of Soviet-style central planning by the barbaric relic known as the Federal Reserve Bank. The “liberals” say that the conservatives are greedy and indifferent to income inequality. Both sides agree that big government is needed and neither questions the Federal Reserve Bank’s existence.

The faux debate has left open an opportunity for the RLC: a benign libertarianism where freedom works in favor of the poor; government serves to oppress them; and freedom (as opposed to border fences or wealth transfers) provides the opportunity for achievement. This is the authentic American dream that both conservatives like Sean Hannity and “liberals” like Paul Krugman have deserted.

The use of illusion is fundamental to Keynesian economics and its argument for Soviet-style planning by Fed economists. On page 8 of his General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money Keynes writes:

Read the whole thing here.

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