Yesterday the MSNBC all-stars — Rachel Maddow, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donnell — dropped into the White House’s West Wing to share their brilliant tax ideas with the President.
Let’s hope that Mr. Obama listened to nothing said by Ms. Tedious or Rev. Al, who if he gets any smaller will be appearing in Pixar movies.
But Larry O’Donnell, despite his nightly liberal rantings, could teach the Prez (and his liberal choirmates) a thing or two about the free enterprise system and why killing what’s left of it with higher taxes and more dumb regulations is a bad thing to do.
In 2005 I asked O’Donnell, the executive producer of “West Wing” and a screenwriter, about all the fine free-market rhetoric he was putting into the mouth of Alan Alda’s conservative Republican character.
I asked him if he really believed all that Milton Friedman stuff:
“Yes. I believe (the late supply-side economist) Jude Winniski’s arguments about how high tax rates damage the economies of poor African countries. But what I would not want to suggest about it is, if we fixed the tax rates, everything is going to be OK. The other huge problem that Africa has is American agriculture subsidies, which are a disastrous policy, I believe, on every level, in terms of what it does to poverty internationally, in terms of what it does to our misallocation of resources here. I wouldn’t know that if I hadn’t majored in economics in college. I just wouldn’t.”
He said not to worry — there was no inner libertarian trying to get out:
“No, no, no. I’m a European socialist, believe me – I’m far to the left. But I understand. I’m a kind of practical socialist. I know we failed. A lot of our ideas have failed, so I’m not with them anymore. I’m willing to take from a grab-bag of stuff that works….
“Unfortunately, I think respect for the market seems to be something that I have not seen anyone derive outside education. I haven’t seen people gravitate toward a natural respect for the market. And it doesn’t have rhetoric to go with it. I think the rhetoric Vinick (Alda’s character) used about it was about the best I’ve heard….
“Where Vinick was talking about the market most clearly was in the energy discussion, when they talk about government support for alternative forms of energy. And Vinick starts with, ‘I don’t think politicians are going to be very good at picking energy sources.’ And then he says ‘The government didn’t shift us from using shale oil to using the oil discovered under the ground.’ ”
The whole interview is here but don’t tell O’Donnell’s bosses at MSNBC what he really thinks about Nike sweatshops and oil companies, or he might have to try to get a job at Fox.