Big Government Is Stifling The American Spirit

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Big Government

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just about everyone has a reason to question how the size of our government affects America’s financial and political future. Is government intervention in everything from economic policy to health care rewarding the “takers,” and not the “makers,” stifling innovators, entrepreneurs and business owners? Or has government done too little to support the growing poor and rapidly shrinking middle class?

  • Phil Gramm

    For

    Phil Gramm

    Former Republican Senator for Texas

  • Arthur Laffer

    For

    Arthur Laffer

    Founding member of the Congressional Policy Advisory Board.

  • Laura Tyson

    Against

    Laura Tyson

    S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management at the Haas School of Business

  • Nouriel Robini

    Against

    Nouriel Robini

    Co-founder and Chairman of RGE Monitor

  • Moderator Image

    Moderator

    John Donvan

    Author and correspondent for ABC News.

More about the Panelists
Phil Gramm

For The Motion

Phil Gramm

Former Republican Senator for Texas

a former Republican senator from Texas, joined UBS Investment Bank as the vice chairman in December of 2002, after serving twenty-four years in Congress, eighteen as a senator.

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Laffer

For The Motion

Arthur Laffer

Founding member of the Congressional Policy Advisory Board

known “The Father of Supply-Side Economics,” was a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for both of his two terms and was a founding member of the Congressional Policy Advisory Board.

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nouriel-roubini

Against The Motion

Nouriel Roubini

Co-founder and Chairman of RGE Monitor

is a professor of economics and international business at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and co-founder and chairman of RGE Monitor, an economic and geo-strategic information service.

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Laura Tyson

Against The Motion

Laura Tyson

S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management at the Haas School of Business

is the S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley. Tyson is a member of President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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    3 comments

    • Comment Link Brent Hilliard Thursday, 02 January 2014 22:04 posted by Brent Hilliard

      Mr. Gramm was a big supporter of derivatives when in the
      Senate and opposed any oversight. That worked well for the country !!!

    • Comment Link Larry Smith Friday, 27 September 2013 07:42 posted by Larry Smith

      It all comes down to striking the right balance between dedicating our resources to living boldly (small government) versus insuring against failure (big government). Imbalances EITHER WAY will stifle the American Spirit.

      In small government's case, economic "contestants" eventually quit a "game" they perceive as increasingly unfair as capitalism's winners gain cumulative advantage with each successive contest, or they drop out altogether because creative destruction "destroys" them. In big government's case, the American Spirit gets quashed by having creating a game with little personal gain to show for one's efforts and a corresponding disincentive to tap one's full potential untapped -- the equal distribution of "quiet desperation."

    • Comment Link Dom Tuesday, 14 May 2013 19:42 posted by Dom

      An extraordinary display of mendacity & erroneous thinking from Laffer & Gramm. Even their attempts at folk wisdom didn't work - e.g. the two farmers analogy - of course the richer farmer should help out the poorer; and the more people riding in the cart than pulling the cart notion is warped - culture, people, business, science has always been pulled along by a few geniuses, hard workers, powerful, able people. This is the way of the world. Gramm & Laffer's philosophy is the meeting point of fascism and meritocracy. They pretend that poverty is born out of laziness and therefore doesn't deserve rescue; and on the other side, that there is a pure link between income and worth. They successfully side stepped the issue that the elite in banking and government were behind the great recession, and that the bailout was not to help these few people but to save pension funds, and the basic banking system that we all rely on. Letting the banks fail would have further punished society-in-general for the foolishness and greed of the great and good. The wealth of banks is not held by a few privileged bankers, but by us all.

      In a similar vein, Gramm protested that the rich are paying a higher proportion of govt spending than has been seen in generations - to the extent that this is true, it is mostly because the rich have more of the money than ever before - i.e. his claim supports the opposite of his views.

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