A new pinnacle of chutzpah?

At The Money Illusion, it is written – apparently in all seriousness:

But the long run trend around the world has been strongly liberaltarian, and will almost certainly remain so for the foreseeable future. Just the other day Denmark decided to cut unemployment benefit eligibility from 4 years to 2 years. Think about what that means. Two French researchers (Algan and Cahuc) found that Danes had the most liberal/civic-minded attitudes on Earth. They argued that Denmark was the country most suited to have social insurance programs, because the non-deserving would be less likely to abuse the programs in Denmark than in any other country. Yet even in ultra-honest Denmark it was found that a large number of workers mysteriously found jobs immediately after their unemployment benefits ran out. So they are cutting back. Denmark already has the freest markets in the world, and now they are shrinking their welfare state. No wonder the Danes are so happy, despite dreary weather.

Is this a new height of chutzpah?

During this same time, unemployment insurance in the US has been extended to basically forever! What makes this particularly ironic is that these benefits were extended by the Democratic majority in the US government, which is in place largely because of libertarian compromises with liberalism during the last election cycle.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, that virtually any system of government will work in Denmark, or Sweden, or Minnesota. The same is not going to be true in DC, for example. This fact is deeply un-liberal.

(HT: Aretae)

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4 Responses to A new pinnacle of chutzpah?

  1. aretae says:

    Did you see the rest of Sumner’s list. Denmark bailing on unemployment benefits is HUGE, and the most recent…but the economic list are all massive paradigm shifts towards free marketeering.

    • Foseti says:

      I disagree. They are not shifts toward free markets. They are shifts towards managed markets. No one is giving up on the idea of the state managing the economy. At best, libertarians are helping liberals to impede freedom in marginally less destructive ways. At worst none of these positions are actually being advanced by liberals. Opposition to extensions of unemployment benefits in the US is not coming from liberals – it’s coming from conservatives. It’s possible places like Denmark are turning against unemployment benefits only because liberals have allowed so many minorities into the country that people don’t want to subsidize unemployed Muslims.

      If you really believe that the state is getting smaller, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

  2. aretae says:

    The claim is about the idea flow. Conservatives in the 60s/70s (like Nixon) thought that price controls could help. In the ’10s, only knuckle-dragging, mouth breathing socialists who’ve never heard of an economics class can think that.

    I am not claiming that the government is getting smaller. Clearly it hasn’t. I’m claiming, along with Sumner, that if you look at economic theory now vs. then, the gap is enormous. Obama’s strongly liberal ex-CEA chair is famous primarily for her papers about how tax decreases are the path out of recessions. This was hard to accept from a conservative when Reagan pushed this way in ’80. Now it’s a standard, respectable position from a hard-left academic economist.

    • Foseti says:

      Except of course for the fact that the President will increase taxes during the current recession.

      But seriously, I’m confused then. If government isn’t getting smaller – and is getting bigger – what is there to be excited about? Will liberals simply feel guilty while they expand government? Will they have to come up with new justifications for doing the same things (e.g. we no longer set price controls, we just tax and subsidize things until they cost what we want them to cost)? Are these victories?

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