[Scott] Walker, the Wisconsin governor, on Saturday praised the Kochs [billionaire supporters of Republicans] for mobilizing other donors and operatives, and emphasized his fights against his state’s public-sector unions, which won him fans in the Koch network. But he also found himself on the defensive when … asked … how he could justify his support for steering $250 million in taxpayer money for a new arena for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks — a policy seemingly anathema to the Kochs’ opposition to government intervention in the free market. Walker explained that each basketball season, the Bucks produce $6.5 billion in economic benefit for his state. [politico.com 8/1/15]
If you want to know what’s wrong with Republicans — there it is, in a nutshell.
If you support socialism, then of course you dislike Republicans for that reason.
However, if you support capitalism — the system of free markets, private property and individual rights — then Scott Walker is not your champion.
Capitalism refers to the social system in which the means of production, including all property, is privately owned. (The only exceptions are military bases and court houses, and any other facilities necessary for a rights-respecting, constitutionally limited government.)
If you really favor capitalism, then you have no business supporting government money going to a football stadium.
Walker’s rationalization for making an exception in the case of a $250 million dollar sports arena? “It’s good for the economy.” In other words: It’s good for the public. At least, the part of the public who enjoys sports and who wishes the coerced money to be used in that way.
But if being good for the economy, or good for the public, is justification for spending government money, then why not spend money on health care? And why not spend money on benefits for members of government unions? And public schools, community colleges, and all the rest? By what economic or moral principle does Walker oppose government money in those cases, while supporting it in another?
Walker, like virtually every conservative Republican, either does not understand, or does not care, what capitalism actually is. Capitalism is a social system based on private ownership. Under capitalism, there would be no government laws coercing private employers to obey union orders; there would be no public schools; and there would certainly be no basis for the government of a state or a city to fund a much more obviously private project such as a sports arena.
Sports is a highly profitable industry for the team members, team owners and other individuals involved. The entire industry is supported by a willing public who gladly pays to watch games live, or indirectly support the industry by watching them on mass media where willing advertisers finance the games. These are the parties who should be paying for sports arenas. The money taken from private citizens to pay for such projects should be returned.
If Walker really cared about free markets, and not simply opposing government unions and other isolated cases of government coercion or monopolization of the economy, then he would never have supported funding a sports arena. He would have done everything possible to stop it, and even if he failed, at least he would be consistent.
From Ronald Reagan up through and including Scott Walker, conservatives have suffered from terrible lapses of consistency. This is why they usually lose elections, and even when they win (as Reagan did), in the long-run we only end up with more socialism than we ever had.
Those of us who favor private property, individual rights and the social system of capitalism must be realistic enough to accept that no such candidate presently exists. I’m not saying it’s always wrong to accept the lesser of two evils. However, let’s not make the mistake of kidding ourselves that these Republican economic conservatives stand for anything principled.
The only way to clean up politics is to get government completely out of the economy. Once politicians no longer have any pull, sway, or tax dollars to “invest” in the parts of the economy where they find the opportunity to gain the most power, then we will have far fewer problems.
Scott Walker should sell himself for what he is: An advocate of government intervention in the economy, only with different priorities than the Democrats he opposes. Walker, like other conservatives, agrees with the Democrats on the most important thing: The “public” good comes before individual rights, private property and capitalism. Any differences they have are secondary, or unimportant.
It’s socialists who rationalize partial or complete takeovers of private funds for what they call the “social good.” Scott Walker does the same thing.
I hate to rain on your parade, those of you who (like me) want to see America become a free market economy, and think someone like Scott Walker will take us there. He won’t.
Be sure to “friend” Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1