Ratigan’s Epic Rant: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

On a recent MSNBC show, host Dylan Ratigan lost his temper and went off on a verbal tirade against Wall Street bankers, the President, Congress (both parties), and their handling of the national debt, the budget, and the economy.  

Ratigan often offers a unique perspective for an MSNBC host.  He rarely parrots the left-liberal propaganda to the degree of other MSNBC hosts such as Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell.  Instead, he comes off as a genuine truth-seeker, collaborating with the likes of Glenn Greenwald, and treating Ron Paul with great respect in his interviews.  However, there remain some blind spots in Ratigan’s thinking which plague even the best progressives.  

His latest rant is no exception.  Watch it here, and then I’ll share my reactions.

First the good:  I have to give Ratigan credit for seeing right through the false left-right, Democrat-Republican paradigm.  Both parties are equally demonized and called to account for their “reckless, irresponsible, and stupid” policies.  Ratigan’s paradigm is one of the ruling class (both public and private) vs. “the people,” and I think that’s pretty accurate.  He deserves commendation for including unfunded liabilities in his $70 trillion debt tally, demonstrating how meaningless the so-called cuts are in the recent debt deal.  He also rightfully recognizes Congress as “bought” by Wall Street and other special interests. 

The bad:  Like many good progressives, Ratigan’s diagnosis of the problem is great, but he goes off track when recommending solutions.  After lambasting the political class for ruining his kids’ future, who does he turn to for salvation but the very paragon of the political class, the President!  “It’s about one man,” Ratigan declares, calling for Obama to channel TR and bypass Congress to appeal directly to “the people.”  What does this mean?  Does Ratigan really want to throw away all vestiges of the separation of powers and institute a democratic monarchy?  Can you say “French Revolution?”

The ugly:  So what does Ratigan suggest Obama do with his newly seized power?  Why, unilaterally create a National Infrastructure Bank of course!  Lend money at 2% for infrastructure projects and “invest in America!”  Cheap money, that’s the solution!  Let’s borrow some more; that’ll dilute the banksters’ control over the American economy.  So where’s the money going to come from?  Repatriated capital?  So the government seizes capital from one group of businessmen and then expects other businessmen to risk investing that capital?  Talk about regime uncertainty.

I really feel sorry for progressives that they only seem capable of envisioning state-directed solutions to state-caused problems.  Even the most sincere progressives, like Dylan Ratigan, can’t even conceive that freedom and decentralization might be the answer.  They rightly recognize that “money in politics is the root of all political evil; it is corruption at its worst,” and then want to give the President (a politician!) more money.  More poison for the poisoned, please.

The only way to get the money out of politics is to get the power out of the hands of politicians.  As long as they control access to such huge sums of money, political entrepreneurs are going to spend money to get it.  Since we obviously can’t trust the politicians in Washington D.C. to voluntarily cede power, I see the concept of state-level nullification of federal power as the most promising practical plan of attack.  If truth-seeking progressives like Dylan Ratigan really desire to address the rampant corruption in the American political and economic systems, they must come to recognize the value of decentralization and market-based solutions.

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