Free Enterprise is Good

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute in Studio 2 (Arthur Brooks)

Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and author of The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise, talks about the presidential campaign and his new book that says free enterprise can be defended on moral grounds.


Arthur Brooks

Comments [118]

jubert howard

We will not "become Greece", whatever happens, for a very simple reason. The United States issues its own currency, and can, technically, pay any of its debts at any time. The only limit on its ability is the degree of inflation such a payment *may* incur.

Greece cannot pay its debts at any time because Greece don't issue its own currency anymore. It uses the Euro. The only way it can pay its debts is through taxation, or by appeal to the treasury of the EU.

May. 08 2012 09:09 PM
tom LI

Expertise? The many brokers, bankers, etc, etc involved with Credit Default Swaps were hardly experts, as even those who actually are had a difficult time grasping the whole system...! Mortgage brokers selling "sweetheart deals" to low income people, etc were not and rarely are experts...rather they are hacks, grifters and scam artists.!!

May. 08 2012 06:40 PM
Calls'em from Fairfax, Va.

Good job Brian - you had your one conservative of the year on. Now for the rest of the year, we can hear leftists flogging their failed policies and low selling books. At fund raising time we can hear about fair and balanced reporting and the "context" that WNYC abandoned with the 2008 election.

Don't do that again until next year. Don't want to allow the people to know the truth or the socialists and Democrats will be out of work in politics, education and the media. Besides, as both fascists and communists would agree - they can't handle the truth, anyway.

May. 08 2012 06:35 PM
tom LI

self respecting Conservative...sounds like when someone says he/sh isnt a TRUE xtian. Same game, taking away anothers Belief/POV becaase it makes you uncomfortable...

May. 08 2012 06:24 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Clueless "religious fanatics" of the Church of Progressive Social Justice-
Podcast this segment now!

It's only "fair" that you hear the other side.
Thank you, Brian.

May. 08 2012 01:16 PM

My comment was about the _hypocrisy_ of slamming K St. lobbyists, when basically all high-power lobbyists work from the exact same tiny neighborhood--Lobbyist-town. I can think of a few heavy-lobbying orgs outside of it--ABA & AARP, for example. But they're not really lobbyists-for-hire, whose nabe is K St. and environs--yes, very close to the White House. Why and how it got that way, I don't know; I would think their center would be over by Congress.

But it is what it is; DC is small, but not that small.

So to clarify, for those of challenged capacity: it is the _hypocrisy_ that rankles, like saying BMW X6 drivers are over-aggressive jerks, when you yourself drive a BMW X5.

(At least this was a concrete criticism, as opposed to all the other pointless RW responses, which offer nothing by mud-slinging, as usual.)

May. 08 2012 12:42 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Bravo Zuzi.

Yes, there is another side out there listening.

May. 08 2012 12:32 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Ooops, I meant Arthur Brooks....but bravo to David as well.

May we all be a thorn in the side of lefty ignorance and moral posturing.

May. 08 2012 12:30 PM

Brian, Thank you for a great show. Many times I have to hold my nose when paying my membership fee because of all the Libby nonsense I hear on NPR. Episodes like this give me something to show my rational friends why I continue to be a WNYC member.

May. 08 2012 12:25 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Bravo, David Brooks.

The illiterate adolescents here can't tolerate another point of view.
Over 100 comments of mindless self-righteousness.

May. 08 2012 12:23 PM

Mr. CheesleWhiz ~

Left or right, you're always our absolute favorite idiot.



May. 08 2012 12:14 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

oooooh.......somebody looked on Google maps and saw that AEI was just 3 blocks (!!!) from K Street!

OMG !!!! That proves something profound!

(It's a small town, far away from K Street is the White House? Actually, not far.)

LOL....what idiots.

May. 08 2012 12:09 PM

It's extremely hard to find an issue where the AEI comes down against its funders' interests.

That's because AEI and its ilk aren't "think tanks," they don't "think," they advocate. The companies can't release this junk on their own, it'd be too obvious what's going on. They need a third party. Advertising works best when you don't realize it's advertising. Thus, AEI, CATO, etc. They're high-end PR firms, hired to develop and disseminate the arguments that benefit their funders, and a government of the people, for the people and by the people be damned. Yes, traitors.

So, Brian, let's call AEI what it is-- a plain ordinary PR agency-- and quit helping it advance its cynical game. For Brooks to slam "K Street" when AEI is EXACTLY 3 blocks north of the heart of K St., is ludicrous.

Readers can check out AEI's links to big business' right-wing subgroups, ie, its funding of the recently disgraced ALEC.

May. 08 2012 11:59 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

The comments from the usual left wing idiots here are hilarious.

May. 08 2012 11:53 AM
Gerald Fnord from Palos Verdes,Ca.

The "Free Market" is a technology for valuing things and actions, and (in the end) people. It is not the only such---people and actions and things are assigned values by cultures, by faiths, moral and ethical systems, and even (it seems) by some in-built primate routines that (for example) have an hard time being convinced that a relative 'should' starve just because they're inept at working.

The "Free Market" is superior in many ways to many of these---for example, under many circumstances it is far superior to the racism and sexism in all cultures because a potential source of labourers and customers is best not ignored...which isn't to say that the Market has ever failed to reward racism when it means (for example) that a despised class' labour can be got more cheaply.

Be that as it may: the point is that the Market is an human technology, we invented it, and like all such it has domains of greater and lesser usefulness. And as such, to claim that it works better than all alternatives under all circumstances in all ways (or nearly---the A.E.P. aren't in favour of privatising national defence) is to be ridiculous...and to take the suitability of people to any particular technology as morally normative is unspeakable, one might as well decide who lives and who dies on the basis of who's better at fixing racing bicycles or debugging code.

And, in the end, any technology should be judged on how well it performs at meeting human needs. The engine in may be a masterpiece of design and production, but it is probably not suitable for driving a tractor, is not all that useful in itself, and definitely should not be worshipped.

May. 08 2012 11:48 AM
Robert from NYC

The 'Big Lie' of Brooks and his ideas/followers is that it is a pure Orwelian twist of the truth. Total dissinformation.
Capitalism is in fact a form of feudalism, where the vast majority of people in a Capitatalist society are nothing but 'serf's of big business.
'Freedom', 'Free-Markets', 'Free-Enterprize', 'Free-Trade' --are total Orwellian terms and simply mean that some priviledged people with ill-gotten and or inherited ill-gotten wealth, are going to control every aspect of the life and happiness (or lack of) of the vast majority of the struggling rest of the population; the wage slaves.
Thus they are the only ones in a Capitalist society who are actually free. Every one else are just their serfs
By constantly parroting these catch phrases, and by attempting to 'own' the concept of 'Freedom', the Right Wing in a never ending blitzkrieg, lays claim and controls the message, in order to hide the actual subjugation of the population at large, by the filthy rich.
This how the few control the rest, and make them docile in accepting their serfdom.

Real freedom can only exist only on a level playing field where the government elected by the people (and not money) controls access to all the resources of society.
Everything else, as it is now, is serfdom.

May. 08 2012 11:07 AM

The poor, under privileged child of... UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS?!?!?!?

I call a BIG OL' Bull SH*T!!!

May. 08 2012 11:06 AM

The alternative to Statism is corporatism. Who should society's sovereign be? The state, which is answerable to the people at least in theory? (to the extend it isn't is due in large part to corporate incursions, is it not?) or private corporations and oligarchs not at all answerable to the people? Your guest's free enterprise is the freedom of the people to have their earnings and their increasing indebtedness dictated to them by power monopolized by a few and answerable to no one. There is no income mobility and very little in the way of life choices availble for a populace the majority of which is floundering desperately at subsistence.

Education is a red herring. Educating people to compete for higher paying tech jobs won't change the state of the economy for the better. Getting that better-paying tech job doesn't eliminate the low-paying job that you've vacated for it and that may well have to be taken by whomever you've beaten out for the better job. Meanwhile the pay of that better job has probably been reduced, since increasing the pool of qualified applicants through education will have increased the employer's bargaining power, and public indebtedness will have increased, given the inevitable expensive of the education to qualify for that job in the first place.

America's economic growth has been monopolized by the top over the last 3 decades with the result that it's lost its ballast. The working class has become a debtor class and until the last 3 decades of income redistribution is addressed I don't see the trend reversing. This is the real road to serfdom.

May. 08 2012 11:02 AM
Ever hopeful

I do think that it is a human responsibility to try and lift everyone from poverty. However, corporations should not be able to exploit people in poverty by offering them hard, often dangerous jobs w/ minimal wages. There are people so desperate that that take those jobs. There are people FORCED to take those jobs. All so that some people can live like kings.

At some point someone has to say stop. Corporations don't police themselves. The people that run them have no incentive to do so. The government has to step in.

May. 08 2012 10:59 AM
CL from NYC

And if he is merely trotting out the fact that "the rich pay most of the taxes" argument (i.e., the majority of the tax revenue comes from those with the highest incomes), then let's acknowledge that such a position is ethically evasive, at best. It is the percentage of income that matters in the prevailing backlash against the "1%." A 35% tax bill for someone earning $100K is a hell of a bigger burden than a 35% bill for someone earning $100MM (not to mention the questions about the various means of legally reducing that rate and the lower rate on capital gains, the major source of income for many wealthy Americans).

May. 08 2012 10:57 AM



May. 08 2012 10:56 AM

Arts funding? Arts is a way out of poverty and builds skill sets and confidence for success. As a musician what does Mr. Brooks think about America's pittance towards our Art Making and Arts programs.

May. 08 2012 10:54 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Nice one Nick - that's no coincidence.

May. 08 2012 10:52 AM

What is it about the name "Brooks"???

May. 08 2012 10:51 AM
Vlad Lojko from Central, NJ

Brooks made a comment that irked me.

He claims that the top 5% pays 59% of the taxes. And yet, their effective Federal income taxes is around 15%. That means, if we let the capital gains tax go back to what it was, closer to 30%, they will be paying 120% of what we currently collect in taxes.... Which sounds right to me... The extra 20% would start paying off our debt... Finally.. And it would be fair.

May. 08 2012 10:50 AM
mercedes from westchester ny

Please, th eissue is greed. When someone with a great deal of power is able to make a great deal of money, he/she does and does not reqrd the people who got him/her there. Many have no ethics. I am a nurse and have a "magic number"-> enough money for me to pay my bills and be reasonably happy with my life. Those making money in a Free Enterprise" system without some regulation do not regulate themselves. Both the Tea party and conservatives are willing to regulate my life->birth control,religion in our gvernment, same-sex marriage etc, but unwilling to regulate those who not only make money, but keep us "enslaved" in a system that makes them a great deal of money. They are no more worthy than the rest of us when it comes to "meriting rewards". The place that needs standards and ethics is in our capitialist system. Unbridled, unfettered capitalism is not ethical and it does not temper itself for the good of all.

May. 08 2012 10:49 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

SuzanneNYC, right ON.
There has to be a better method of debate. Maybe slowing it down and really examining point by point? Otherwise the (shady) fast talker will always get over.

May. 08 2012 10:49 AM


definitely, less regulation.

May. 08 2012 10:49 AM
Gary Ferrini from Shenandoah Valley

Why doesn't Brian ask him if he'd rather pay 10% tax on 50,000 dollars or 40% on 10,000,000 dollars because that's what explains the increasing percentage the wealthy pay of the taxes.
It's absurd to ignore it's directly related to the ever increasing percentage of the wealth and influence they have in keeping the game "free." Gag me.

Further, in his hosannas to freedom and China, does he seriously believe that the economic dynamism of China is even nominally related to freedom? Try telling that to anyone living in China who maintains an opposing view to his or her government.

Freedom, the word, is an easy sell for anyone, because it sounds so good and is aligned with American ethos and self identification. However, in practice, it's obvious that unregulated activity tends to lead to excess in ways which inhibit the lives of the many. Every time. Only the wealthy and the naive can be so credulous as to believe otherwise. It's a great idea but it doesn't play out the way it's sold

May. 08 2012 10:48 AM
james from manhattan

At what point do the "Founders" start getting less credit for the creation of our democracy and consitution (which has been amended mutiple times to adapt to societal needs as they arise), than the credit of our ongoing goverments in the last 236 years since the revolution. We are the longest sustained democracy of our kind in history and it has been a very difficult process to maintain it. Let's stop deifying the founding fathers and start giving ourselves a little credit.

May. 08 2012 10:48 AM

Ask why EVERY downtown center across AmeriKa® is COMPLETELY BOARDED-UP!!

Go WallMart®!!

May. 08 2012 10:47 AM
ethan from bk

"the arithmetic is a little hairy". that about sums your guest up. i think it's hilarious that someone who's been singing the praises unfettered capitalism and questioning the "morality" of being poor has yet to enter a profession that actually produces any tangible benefit to society. classical music, beautiful as it may be, hardly belongs to the hardworking free enterprise production utopia he seems to describe. meanwhile, economists failed even to foresee the largest, most disastrous economic crash in the past eighty years. ruh-roh!

May. 08 2012 10:47 AM
kbear from Maplewood, NJ

Mr. Brooks talks out of both sides of his mouth when he says that the rise of well-being in China is benefitting the poor in this country. In fact, the rising boats in China are being lifted on the backs of the poor in the US-the wealthy here are benefitting from the lower costs to their corporations while low-income earners have no jobs, and the jobs they DO have are being paid at lower rates and at the cost of a demand for greater productivity, ie: more hours worked for less pay.

May. 08 2012 10:46 AM
Vanessa Merton from Hastings-on-Hudson NY

Finally, Brian, you are acting like a BBC host -- demonstrating that you are well-prepared, well-informed, and willing to vigorously engage. Too often in the past you have been unduly deferential, treating wildly counterfactual assertions as valid "he said, she said" opinion or ignoring them altogether. What a refreshing difference it makes for you to engage! Although you just let him get away with a frank falsehood: you were right about Dodd-Frank, that was exactly the way the shareholder statement was made, and hello, the result was a reduction pay from $8 million to $6 million. That's capitalism working?? Please. But anyway it's great to hear you be a bit more willing to confront.

May. 08 2012 10:45 AM
chase from nyc

got it buudy,
lets give tax breaks to the people that pay your bills

let business get a free ride on enviorment, the garbage they produce and anything else they want (slave labor?)

May. 08 2012 10:45 AM

Ask him why Manhattan has turned into a Big Box™ amusement park!

More Olive Gardens!!!

More below-living wage jobs!!


May. 08 2012 10:45 AM
Nick from UWS

This whole discussion is missing the single most important un-discussed characteristic of the American economy, which is: the vast majority of Americans are financially illiterate, have no idea how money works, are credit-addicted, make lousy and delusional financial choices, and can't even balance a checkbook, much less keep their finances in order.

Without rigorous and thorough financial education, Americans are hopelessly screwed.

May. 08 2012 10:45 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Gosh Brian,
It's crazy that when you ask "why do we have such income inequality" you only get the bogus answers.

The simple real reason is that people with great wealth have incomes that increase by %'s and continually double over time (i.e. accumulate exponentially). The incomes of everyone else, i.e. people working for a salary, have been basically constant for 40 years.

If we can't learn from the facts... what the heck are we doing here????????

May. 08 2012 10:45 AM
mick from Manhattan

Every time Brian makes a specific argument or asks a specific question this guy answers with an unsubstantiated generality. This is a debater's trick that attempts to win arguments based on sophistic rhetoric. Come on, there is a real crisis and his ideology is making it worse.

May. 08 2012 10:45 AM
Phil from Brooklyn

All of the guest's arguments are based on the axiom "government is always the problem." If you don't accept that "government is always the problem," all the logic is just a lot of talking.

May. 08 2012 10:44 AM
CL from NYC

I might have misheard or misunderstood this guy's comment about the history of the highest marginal tax rate in the US, but if he is maintaining that the highest rate is keeping pace with soaring incomes (i.e., that the highest earners are paying more now than they used to pay), then he is either misinformed or a liar. See this chart for the facts:

May. 08 2012 10:44 AM

This is why debates between conservatives (fantasists) and progressives (realists) are so futile. One side cites their facts and the other side cites theirs and they just keep talking past each other. This guy can explain away anything without any proof whatsoever.

May. 08 2012 10:43 AM
bill from nyc

Why don't you ask him why 62% of all jobs now are low paying jobs, why don't you ask him about how the average person can not afford an average priced home according to traditional underwriting guidelines. Bottom 20% of income Ha, more like bottom 80% now.

May. 08 2012 10:43 AM
Zach in Brooklyn from Brooklyn.

Mr Brooks likes socialist make work programs as long as they are administrated by the dept of defense.

May. 08 2012 10:43 AM

This schmuck doesn't even realize how little shareholder control still exists. He's coming up with 1950s "solutions" without the same regulatory environment.

May. 08 2012 10:41 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Mr Brooks says he understands the poor because he grew up in a poor neighborhood in Seattle. He reminds me of Steve Martin in The Jerk. "I was born a poor black child". The fact is his parents were both college professors. This guy is too slick by half.

May. 08 2012 10:41 AM
John A.

The book I want to buy is Brian's notesheet today. Prepped!

May. 08 2012 10:40 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

Brooks claims that income mobility is the proper measure of equality. What's his take on America's rank among advanced economies in income mobility?

May. 08 2012 10:40 AM

in america's heyday marginal tax rates were over 90% and our economy was unstoppable. our president was Eisenhower, A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT. someone please explain why the republicans believe lower taxes on the rich spurs our economy.

May. 08 2012 10:40 AM

If people made more money they would pay more taxes, it is a specious argument to say that the bottom half pay no taxes.

May. 08 2012 10:40 AM

...french horn.

Say no more!

May. 08 2012 10:40 AM

This guy can talk the talk, but he just gives cover for the extremists on his side.

Can you ask the man if he has ever told this truth to his own side? Right a book for them; not us.

Maybe if he got them on the right track first, we might have some desire to believe him. But right now, No Way.

May. 08 2012 10:40 AM


What do you call the 400 most wealthy in this country holding more wealth than all the rest of us put together?!?!?

We are and have been enslaved FOR A LONG TIME!!

May. 08 2012 10:39 AM
The Truth from Becky

Special deals for who? Not for everybody if so, I am still waiting on my special deal!

May. 08 2012 10:38 AM

it always surprises me when middle class people support the elimination or reduction of social programs. spiting your own face.

May. 08 2012 10:38 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The guest is finally making some sense.

May. 08 2012 10:37 AM

In terms of welfare reform -- because of Clinton's welfare reforms more people relied on food stamps during this present recession/depression to survive. Now they're trying to cut back on food stamps so heaven knows what will happen the next time the economy tanks. Ask why this push for freedom always results in harming women and children. Remember we have more children growing up in poverty than most other industrialized countries. Also what about women's freedom to control their own bodies and health care?

May. 08 2012 10:37 AM

what about military spending? we spend more than all countries combined.. what about the waste and fraud in the military complex?

May. 08 2012 10:37 AM

Last post should read "Kremlinomics."

May. 08 2012 10:37 AM
Marcus from NYC

I wish Chris Hedges was interviewing this guy.

May. 08 2012 10:37 AM

Brian, please ask your guest about Betram Gross's book, "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America".

May. 08 2012 10:37 AM

@Bassett where did the money come from...from something successful that now doesn't have the capital they need to grow and hire. Borrowed money that increases debt. Or money creation by the Fed that destroys the dollar.

May. 08 2012 10:36 AM

If he believes in "free enterprise," how does he explain Reaganomics which = Soviet-style "supply-side" Kremlinocs?????

May. 08 2012 10:36 AM
dr dave from LES

If Exon Mobile accepted 400 billion profits a quarter instead of 800 billion, gas at the pump would be 2.00 a gallon. Not almost 5.00.

Economy problem would be solved. Money back in pockets of all working people and industries who use / need fuel.

All Americans would have more buying power the next morning.

But, Exxon Mobile probably chooses to maximun shareholder value....over the well being of the USA. Partly because they can locate in any nation at any time. Free enterprise?

May. 08 2012 10:35 AM
Dan from Sunset Park

So he thinks the government is too big a share of GDP? Cut the pentagon.

May. 08 2012 10:35 AM

Every dollar that goes to people in need goes directly back into the economy. How can that be bad for the economy.

May. 08 2012 10:34 AM

Charles Murray, and Losing Ground, has been pretty well discredited. This is the problem with these ideologues, they pick and choose their inputs.

May. 08 2012 10:34 AM

capitlaism is bad?

May. 08 2012 10:34 AM
CL from NYC

Sophistry. And the typical fetishizing of "the market."

BTW, this guy's dismissal of Locke's influence on Jefferson is ignorant. Those interested in this matter should eschew this guy and read the inestimably more respectable Gary Wills.

May. 08 2012 10:33 AM
Zoya Kocur from Inwood, Manhattan

Giving people a chance to work their way to success is based on everyone having a level playing field to begin with, which is government's job to create.

May. 08 2012 10:33 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

(This guy is going out of his way to blow up Brian as a one-percenter.)

May. 08 2012 10:32 AM
Adam Holland from Bay Ridge

It seems unlikely that Jefferson plucked “the pursuit of happiness” from the prose of a Tory like Dr. Johnson. Jefferson’s intellectual heroes were Newton, Bacon, and Locke, and it was actually in Locke that he must have found the phrase. It appears not in the Two Treatises on Government but in the 1690 essay Concerning Human Understanding. There, in a long and thorny passage, Locke wrote:

The necessity of pursuing happiness [is] the foundation of liberty. As therefore the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness; so the care of ourselves, that we mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is the necessary foundation of our liberty. The stronger ties we have to an unalterable pursuit of happiness in general, which is our greatest good, and which, as such, our desires always follow, the more are we free from any necessary determination of our will to any particular action, and from a necessary compliance with our desire, set upon any particular, and then appearing preferable good, till we have duly examined whether it has a tendency to, or be inconsistent with, our real happiness: and therefore, till we are as much informed upon this inquiry as the weight of the matter, and the nature of the case demands, we are, by the necessity of preferring and pursuing true happiness as our greatest good, obliged to suspend the satisfaction of our desires in particular cases.

May. 08 2012 10:32 AM

If unfettered makets work so F*n great why are we in the pile of eKonomic™ sh*t that we currently find ourselves??!?!?

Bankers need MORE freedom, everyone knows that!!!

This idiot talks faster than his capacity for intelligence.

Stick to the french horn!

May. 08 2012 10:32 AM

How was it ruining their lives?? Can you give facts instead of anecdotal stories from your past?!

May. 08 2012 10:31 AM
John from Fanwood

Please ask your guest why conservative Republicans are fixated on taking rights away from the populations. Voting rihgts come to mind and there are many others.

May. 08 2012 10:31 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

So unemployment benefits is a moral hazard but trillions in bailouts for irresponsible banks isn't?

May. 08 2012 10:31 AM
Maddy from Nassau County, NY

U.S. history shows the need for regulating free enterprise. We started out with unregulated and saw workers taken advantage of - working 6 days p/w, 10 - 12 hrs p/d. Wages so low there was nothing left to save. This is why the gov't got involved. Has everyone forgotten the country was 'born' with these regulations in place to begin with!

May. 08 2012 10:30 AM
LL from UWS

In all fairness can we balance this segment with the opposing view? Perhaps including what Jesus taught on the subject. What Adam Smith wrote and what The Founding Fathers expected of us when it comes to enterprise.
Can we also have much clearer definition of terms?
And full disclosure of where AEI funding comes from?

Isolated segments like this do the public no service.

May. 08 2012 10:30 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Again, we REALLY need to audit monetary wealth in America. And we will see how much of a meritocracy America is NOT.

May. 08 2012 10:30 AM
C.E. Connelly from Manhattan

Ok, he's for a safety net? What, for him, is a safety net?

May. 08 2012 10:30 AM
andy from manhattan

the conflation of free markets and morality is ridiculous.

the focus on profit over sustainability is the principle basis of the financial system's instability today. whenever the short term is allowed to trump the long, we all suffer.

considering the movement of our society towards wealth indirectly generated on other people's labor, and its costs, i just cannot buy into this gentleman's assertions.

May. 08 2012 10:29 AM

When does your freedom interfere with my freedom? Or is it survival of the fittest freedom-wise. Obviously those who can pay to ensure their freedom at the expense of others will prevail.

May. 08 2012 10:29 AM
Sebastian from Stamford

The guest sounds incredibly reasonable and even willing to compromise; however, it seems that others that advocate his positions are extremely rigid and unwilling to compromise. My question is: Why is his "party" so unwilling to compromise?

May. 08 2012 10:29 AM
Phil from Brooklyn

What is the endgame envisioned by your guest? He says we need some government regulation, but not too much. At the same time he proposes a completely binary choice between "state-ism" and "freedom." Does freedom mean a corporatocracy where a few powerful companies control the society, much as existed shortly before the American Revolution where the mercantilist Dutch East India Company and the Hudson's Bay Company were essentially indistinguishable from government?

May. 08 2012 10:29 AM

self-respecting conservative - oxymoron!

May. 08 2012 10:28 AM

How is it that conservatives have appropriated the word "freedom" so that it now means freedom from government and regulation and freedom for the rich to do whatever they want ? Also, why do conservatives more frequently cite the Declaration of Independence -- life, liberty, pursuit of happiness; and rarely bring up the words in the Preamble to the Constitution -- establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare?

May. 08 2012 10:28 AM

Callers are clearly smarter than this guest. Next!

May. 08 2012 10:27 AM
deirdre gill from Burlington VT

What your guest fails to acknowledge is that industries did not just find success throughout American history just because of free enterprise, but because of the subjugation of human beings through slavery and cheap labor before labor laws were passed. Not to mention the use of violent force throughout the world to steal resources from other nations.

May. 08 2012 10:26 AM

We know now how successive GOP admiinistrations have "socially engineered" and chosen "winners & losers" by allowing successive property (asset) bubbles.

He beggars belief with his smooth talk.

May. 08 2012 10:26 AM
bill from nyc

Adam Smith also said Corporations MUST be heavily regulated as well because otherwise they are a threat to the state. Mr. Arthur Brooks. You want to quote people but you don't even know your own source.

May. 08 2012 10:25 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Is the guest is implying that Obama and every "liberal" east of the Hudson is a card carrying Marxist because they have the nerve to propose ANY regulation? Again, I would like to know would the guest thinks about the feds bailing out private industry?

May. 08 2012 10:24 AM
Robert from Manhattanville

How can you have free trade when the other guy doesn't have representative government, a bill of rights, the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain, and the right of capital to form and invest without the military also be the party with capital to invest.

May. 08 2012 10:23 AM

art525 took the words right out of my mouth. "smooth talking" but his logic is totally bogus (and he knows it). He also throws around "facts" rather loosely.

May. 08 2012 10:23 AM
farideh from fort lee

Everyone keeps bringing up the Greek economic crisis as being the result of overspending. Isn't it so that at least as big a problem was non-compliance with tax laws that resulted in inadequate revenues? How is that different than legislating lower taxes for the rich?

May. 08 2012 10:23 AM
Chris from Putnam County, NY

Economic Growth; I keep hearing that economic growth is necessary, always, even in good times. If economic growth is necessary and the economy is not simply roughly self-sustaining, isn't is just a ponzi scheme?

May. 08 2012 10:22 AM

What about the idea put forth by Dean Baker that the crisis in social security is a manufactured crisis?

May. 08 2012 10:22 AM
Ruth from NYC

Am I hearing correctly? Is Mr. Brooks saying we should help the poor by denying them healthcare NOW, so they don't suffer later when the economy collapses for all (as opposed to the current collapse, which has already created a crisis for many).
This freedom is a freedom to let others suffer and die.

May. 08 2012 10:22 AM
rai from ny, ny

The Republican/conservative/libertarian concept of freedom seems to be that everyone should be free to go bankrupt from medical costs. No one can be free if they are worried about economic ruin due to factors beyond their control.

"Conservative think tank" is an oxymoron. Brooks and other "conservatives" simply advocate more of the policies that got the US and Europe to their current sorry state.

Bravo to Brian for questioning Brooks' ideological assumptions!

May. 08 2012 10:22 AM
Carolita from NYC

Don't let this guy get away with bragging how free entreprise has helped China by outsourcing American jobs there, for goodness sakes. It doesn't cost much to do that!

May. 08 2012 10:22 AM
bill from nyc

IF AEI ideas are so great we would be in an economic boom when Bush was in, in fact these ideas are as crappy as communism or fascism were. They don't work. Funny that this AEI Arthur Brooks is talking about free enterprise and then talks about China, this guy is a clown.

May. 08 2012 10:21 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Their middle rises above poverty while ours falls in relation to what was 'average' a generation ago, i.e. the rich pile up ever bigger piles of money WHICH THEY DID NOT EARN!!

Was the equitable distribution of income of a generation ago really based on exploitation of our trading partners. I don't think so.

What horsesh*t this guy spouts...

May. 08 2012 10:21 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

High levels of inequality produce a level of unfairness that decreases freedom. Again, checks and balances is also a fundamental American principle.

May. 08 2012 10:21 AM
Melanie Teagle from NYC

Arthur Brooks uses the same tired conservative argument that free enterprise is what lifts individuals from poverty, whereas the reality has always been that the greater distribution of wealth, which allows lower and middle class people to purchase more, is what keeps economies afloat. Increasing wages will not cut jobs if companies need workers to support demand.

May. 08 2012 10:20 AM
Beth Soll from NYC

The Republicans never acknowledge that we have to pay for the medical care of those who don't have insurance. When they go to the hospital, the hospitals have to accept them. What's even more problematic is that emergency room costs are higher than the costs of visits to doctors. Someone has to pay for all that anyway, so why not formalize and structure it? If they are ill and miss work, etc. that costs our society millions +.

May. 08 2012 10:20 AM
jim from nj

Here's an economic theory, Mr. Brooks could talk for hours and hours, and he would not say ONE WORD about the (2) wars waged in the last decade without PAYING for them.
Where is the immoral outrage from Mr. Brooks in this regard?

May. 08 2012 10:20 AM
bill from brooklyn

THAT IS NOT TRUE AEI guy globalization HAS NOT wiped out pverty by 80 % I was just in China, there are way more people than 25% who are poor you are a liar!!!!

May. 08 2012 10:18 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Smooth talking but a lot of nonsense. So he is looking out for the dispossessed by not giving them services becuase we will eventually default and they willbe the ones to suffer? Please explain this logice. Good rap. Bull but clever.I guess that's why AMI made him their spokesman.

May. 08 2012 10:18 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

For the citizenry, civic activity and participation in government is the best defense against corporate AND government excess.

May. 08 2012 10:15 AM
jacob from Brooklyn

Liberals are opposed to economic growth? This market fundamentalist ideology has only stimulated economic growth for the few for the past 30 years.

May. 08 2012 10:14 AM
Dan from Sunset Park

Doug Henwood had a poignant editorial in the first few minutes of his March 17 show. If I recall correctly, he spoke to the point of people needing good incomes, etc, to be free.

May. 08 2012 10:13 AM

Freedom to be.... lazy? unemployed? to not care for our health? use emergency rooms?

As long a all hostipitals have to take patients, and we'll not let people die in our streets, Freedom will not work. Freedom means that people have to needlessly die. Is that a good thing???

May. 08 2012 10:12 AM
BigGuy from Forest Hills, NY

If AEI is all for freedom, why is the Institute so opposed to working men and women freely associating together to form labor unions?

May. 08 2012 10:11 AM
Kate from NJ

I too think we are on the road to serfdom but serfs to corporations (who are the masters of government).

May. 08 2012 10:11 AM

are you high?...You do a show on the modern move to freedom and you talk about Mitt Romney? This has been Ron Paul's campaigns central message. Please mention that it is Dr Paul leading the charge for freedom and liberty.

Obama freedom? We will soon have drones patrolling the airs...sad

May. 08 2012 10:10 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I would like Brian to ask Mr. Brooks if he agrees with government bailouts and subsidies for big banks, oil companies, and the auto industry.

May. 08 2012 10:10 AM

am i free to sell poison meat?
buyer beware?

May. 08 2012 10:05 AM

Four legs is good, two legs is bad...

May. 08 2012 09:53 AM

Since the morality of undocumented immigration has been established as always good and right then it should follow that capitalism is also always good and right. If it's morally right for an immigrant to move any where to improve life for himself and family regardless of impact on the host country then why should it be immoral for an industrialist, oil baron, hedge fund manager or leveraged buyout specialist to do whatever he can to improve life for himself and his family regardless of impact on the host country? Isn't the guy selling subprime securities for Goldman Sachs just trying to make a better life for himself and his family? Sure, he cuts a few corners but doesn't everybody?

May. 08 2012 08:24 AM

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