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Tags: freedom conservatism | national conservatism
OPINION

We Can Achieve 'Freedom Conservatism'

learn, study and inspect conservatism pictured as a magnifying glass enlarging word conservatism
(Michalsuszycki/Dreamstime.com)

Ralph Benko By Wednesday, 02 August 2023 09:52 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Michael Schaffer in Politico Magazine notes the political brawl breaking out over here in the right's Mos Eisley Cantina.

Wearing a black hat, "National Conservatism," trending anti-tech, anti-immigration, anti-free trade, kicks open the swinging door.

It encounters two bad dudes in white hats: Avik Roy and John Hood. Who? Welcome "Freedom Conservatism." Getting the rightful conservative posse back together? Sign me up!

The brawl begins.

"National Conservatism" trolls long have been tarring us proto-Freedom Conservatives as "market fundamentalists" (term popularized by George Soros!) and "Zombie Reaganists." Smile when you say that, podner!

A rustler named Donald Trump precipitated this schism. Whether the Nationalists are Trump loyalists or merely fellow travelers, their attacks on globalization and generous immigration and embrace of "industrial policy" are quintessential Trumpism.

Politico: "On the wonky right, it's a battle over manifestos — and the GOP's future.

"At any other moment in the past half-century. .. last week's publication of Freedom Conservatism: A Statement of Principles would have seemed downright obvious. But in the topsy-turvy Trump-era conservative world, it was the stuff of an elaborate manifesto that prompted a noisy insider-class argument.

"The document came from an A-list group of conservative writers, scholars and activists who declared that 'political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom,' 'the free enterprise system is the foundation of prosperity,' and 'the skyrocketing federal debt ... is an existential threat.' ... 

"But last week's publication of Freedom Conservatism: A Statement of Principles … made a splash precisely because so many old Republican shibboleths have moved from being stump-speech cliches to being subjects of actual disagreement among conservatives."

I, as lead co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto: The End of Class Warfare, Toward Universal Affluence," know a little something about capitalism. And manifestos.

Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, said: "'The Capitalist Manifesto' is a classic. Ralph Benko and Bill Collier have provided the definitive refutation of socialism, which they shrewdly annihilate as merely a modern form of feudalism, and show how it is capitalism, not communism, that improves the welfare of workers and of our natural environment. A brief, powerful, book for the ages."

Yet ignored. I failed in my own valiant effort to raise a posse.

Then I co-founded, and served as chair, of the 204,644-follower Capitalist League. Among influencers, however, my effort failed to ignite the faithful.

From my own Voodoo Economics to Zombie Reaganism, and so on, there are many flavors of free marketeers. Unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains!

I, founder of the Prosperity Caucus, am one of the few surviving O.G. "Supply-Siders." We were widely ridiculed for calling to stabilize the dollar (preferably through the gold standard) and cutting marginal income tax rates across the board.

Against massive ridicule, we did it. Inflation disappeared for two generations. We cut nosebleed top income tax rates to, at bottom, 28%.

Supply-siders Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton fomented sustained 4%-range real growth. Since then?

Pretty punk. George W. Bush, 2.25%; Obama, 1.59%; Trump, 1.03%. To be fair, President Trump, pre-COVID, clocked in at 2.3%, 2.9%, and 2.3%, nothing to brag about (although braggarts will brag).

Adoption of our Voodoo prescription, doubled, over time, U.S. real per capita GDP from $30,000 to nearly $60,000. Nominal U.S. GDP grew from $2.7T to $26T. The Dow rose from around 814 to 35,459 last Friday.

Voodoo? Supply-side's grandmaster, Robert Mundell, won the Nobel Prize in Economics. The Honorable Jack Kemp and Dr. Arthur Laffer received the presidential medal of freedom from, respectively, Obama and Trump.

The Capitalist Manifesto calls for ten policies most true conservatives mostly approve:

Capping the top marginal income tax rate at 28%; no reduction of income tax deductions and credits except to further reduce tax rates; index assets to inflation in calculating capital gains; cap the top rate of gift, estate, or inheritance taxes at 10%, with a $10 million exemption; generously fund research and development as the foundation of the nation's prosperity, skilled jobs and material quality of life.

Define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold legally convertible thereunto; prohibit further federal debt except upon approval by two-thirds of the states; prohibit civil asset forfeiture, keep criminal and civil fines proportional to the party's ability to pay and the severity of the infraction; no regulation affecting more than $100M in economic activity until enacted by Congress and signed by the president; forbidding wage and price controls.

Others will have much to add. The real fulcrum of a free-market e pluribus unum? Ordoliberalism, "free markets operating within a strong social, political and moral framework."

Next? As the WWII bomber pilots used to say, "If you're not catching flak you're not over the target." Roy and Hood are catching flack.

What's the target? Hey GOP!

Embrace free markets within a strong social, political and moral framework.

Call it Freedom Conservatism.

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $94T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.

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RalphBenko
From my own Voodoo Economics to Zombie Reaganism, and so on, there are many flavors of free marketeers. Unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains!
freedom conservatism, national conservatism
873
2023-52-02
Wednesday, 02 August 2023 09:52 AM
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