Wayne Allyn Root on Fox: Economics 101

In an article at FOX News, 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Candidate, at-large member of the LNC, chair of the LNCC, and host of this Friday’s Gary Johnson campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas, Wayne Allyn Root explains what he distinguishes as an “economic ignorance gap” between those who work for government (and largely vote Democratic) and those (Republicans, conservatives and Libertarians) in the private sector.

Wayne says,

Most Democrats I know work for big government, a big union, a big corporation, or the media. They don’t sell anything. They don’t own a business, or work on commission. They are paid for just showing up, never based on performance or profits. . . . They are nice people, but don’t have a clue about what’s really going on, because they don’t sell things on Main Street. Nor do they have any of their own money personally at risk. Nor do they notice or care if their employer (the government) bleeds billions of dollars in losses. . . . their lives are pretty much untouched by the economic tragedy around us.

The private sector is a completely different story. Most of my friends who are Republican, conservative, or Libertarian either work for themselves or get paid based on commission or performance. They all know that the USA is in total economic collapse and headed for a Greece-like disaster. They know because their incomes are down by 20%, 30%, 50% and more. The private sector is devastated. We are all shell-shocked. We’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetimes. So there you have it. The “economic ignorance gap” explained.

The full article is available at:



44 thoughts on “Wayne Allyn Root on Fox: Economics 101

  1. Joe Buchman Post author

    Not sure Aaron Starr is posting these here anymore. IMO this one rose to a level of significance deserving of review and comment here.

    Overall I thought it was well written, and was especially pleased to note the inclusion of the word “Libertarian” in the body of the text (as opposed to only in the author’s credentials at the end).

    One minor (and somewhat personal) criticism. Wayne writes:

    “. . . or the media. They don’t sell anything”

    For full disclosure here — I am the co-author of a college textbook titled, “Media Selling.”

    See, for example, http://www.amazon.com/Media-Selling-Broadcast-Cable-Interactive/dp/0813804175/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1341988793&sr=8-2&keywords=media+selling

    I assume Wayne was referring to those in the media who appear on camera rather than the highly competitive sales forces of radio, television, internet and cable systems that sell commercial time to advertisers. But even “talent” is a fiercely competitive sales-oriented business — as Wayne surely knows — selling themselves to ever higher rated, higher paying media outlets.

    Nonetheless, I found this to be one of Wayne’s best opinion pieces, as did, based on its publication, FOX news.

    Next time I hope he finds a way to include the word “Libertarian” at least twice in an article.

    This one, BTW, was screaming out for that. Something like:

    “John Edwards had it right; there are only two Americas . . . the Demopublorat/Republodemocants, and the growing movement of Libertarians.”

    Maybe next time. . .

  2. John Jay Myers

    If Republicans understood this why is 25% of our spending on War our foreign policy, and the veteran projects that are going to grow exponentially the longer we continue our misadventures, but none of them want to do anything about it? You can’t find a Republican in Texas (save Ron Paul) who wants to cut military spending by even $1.

    If Republicans and conservatives “got it” why don’t they understand that Medicare and Medicade might make it another 15 years and then collapse, even though this programs have failed and are hurting people, and are part of the reason health care costs have soared, you don’t hear the Tea Party people or Republicans calling to end them.

    If Republicans “get it” why do they insist on keeping the nanny state going, the drug war, social security?

    I really don’t think Republicans & conservatives “get it”. It seems pretty clear to me that only libertarians get it.

    Every article like this is a miss when it comes to distinguishing our brand from the others. We are different.

  3. Joe Buchman Post author

    JJM @ 2,

    It’s clear the Republican and Democratic candidates DO NOT get it.

    I think Wayne may have a point that there’s a difference between the average Democratic voter and the average Republican voter when it comes to an understanding of basic economics — how wealth is created; where it comes from.

    That said, I am likewise left unsure if Wayne gets that not only the candidates, but all of the voters are failing Economics 101. Even the most “extreme” of the Republican plans call for economic disaster (as Wayne said when he called into the radiothon — driving off the cliff at 120 mph instead of 180 mph).

    What would help the Libertarian brand is a call to stop the madness, elect a proven fiscal success story — Gary Johnson.

    I gather Wayne fears if he said such a thing, FOX would never have him on again.

    Whether what he does say on there does more good or more harm for the LP brand is, apparently, a matter of debate.

    But my bottom line on this particular opinion piece remains, however flawed, it’s much better than most of the ones I’ve seen (or listened to) in the past.

  4. Dale


    Public-sector payrolls are down drastically in this recession, and still falling, while private sector payrolls, while still struggling to get back to where they were, have been rising for two full years. These numbers are easy to look up.

    Public sector workers “get it”.

    Econ 101? More like Creative Writing.

  5. bruuno

    @4- You are 100% correct. Root’s comments are just false. Those in the public sector have suffered significantly. Trust me, they “get it” and have come to a different conclusion than Root. Root lives in a world of stereotypes. A “Fox and Friends” world if you will.

  6. Starchild

    Government employees will have to see a lot more belt-tightening before most of them will no longer be over-compensated relative to people doing similar work in the voluntary sector.

    Conservative voters tend, in my view, to have a somewhat decent understanding of economics, and liberal voters tend, in my view, to have a somewhat decent understanding of personal freedoms, although both groups tend to fall short of a real libertarian understanding.

    Unfortunately, even the limited appreciation for freedom that these voters do usually have is typically betrayed by the leadership of the Republican and Democratic parties.

    From what I can see, the overwhelming majority of Republican politicians fail to uphold free markets to the extent their base supports economic freedom, and the overwhelming majority of Democrat politicians fail to uphold civil liberties to the extent that their base believes in them.

    This is to say nothing of the Republican leadership’s abysmal record on civil liberties or the Democratic leadership’s abysmal record on economic freedom.

  7. Root Sucks

    Hey Root, say something bad about a Republican, I dare you!

    Root’s a GOP shill masquerading as a libertarian

  8. George Phillies

    News that big corporations do not sell anything will come to a modest surprise to Alcoa, Nucor, Toyota, and Proctor&Gamble stockholders.

    But that is what is claimed here.

  9. wolfefan

    Hi Starchild @6 –

    I think what you’re saying about over-compensation of government employees relative to private sector (actually, I like that phrase voluntary sector) employees is too broad a generalizati0n. Many studies show that it’s not so clear-cut when you adjust for education and experience.

    One of the things I appreciate about your comments, even when I disagree, is that there is some nuance – some recognition of opposing viewpoints and a willingness to engage with them. Wayne’s columns almost always assume that those who disagree with him are stupid or evil and are routinely filled with name-calling; that’s one of the reasons I find him so tiresome. The same can be said for many of his critics here. I wish more people would write and engage as you do – thank you!

  10. Robert Capozzi

    9 wolfefan, do these “adjustments” take into account guaranteed deferred compensation (e.g., pensions)?

  11. Ryan C

    “do these “adjustments” take into account guaranteed deferred compensation (e.g., pensions)”

    And the fact that Government employees have much higher job security — ie. they almost never lose their jobs?

  12. Michael H. Wilson

    They know because their incomes are down by 20%, 30%, 50% and more. The private sector is devastated. We are all shell-shocked. We’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetimes.

    Root obviously did not suffer through the recession of the 1980s under Reagan and Volker.

  13. Joe Buchman

    Wolfefan @ 9

    Ditto re: Starchild’s diplomacy, grace, good manners.

    To the degree I’ve come across as haughty here myself (something ingrained in most PhD programs I guess), I apologize.

    I’m working to be more like Starchild (at least in the respects identified above).


    Joe (imagining Starchild reading the above and ROTFLHAO)

  14. Deran

    It seems to me that Mr. Root must only mingle with a hig income crowd. Most people I know, whether Dem or Rep, work for an hourly wage. Mr. Root seems to be promoting work for commission as a positive, but among people I know that work for commission work is not a stable, sustainable form of employment.

    If I were a Libertarian, I would be suspicious of Root trying to create an equivalancy between Libertarians, conservative and Republicans.

  15. Mark Hilgenberg

    Good points.

    Unfortunately Root has a vision of the LP which helps to promote corporatism and conservative values. He needs more rich people in the party so he can change the definition of liberty.

    Considering I see very little I want to (conserve) in our current system, I have no idea how we are considered even close to conservatives.

  16. Tom Blanton

    Root must be unaware of all the conservatives that work for the huge socialist organizations within government – the military and law enforcement organizations are loaded with conservatives.

    He probably thinks of them as heroes instead of government bureaucrats since all stupid and evil government workers are instantly transformed into brave heroes once they are given uniforms and weapons, in the minds of conservatives.

    Root is right about one thing, no matter how ineffective cops and soldiers are, they still get the same pay and benefits. Although I’m sure many conservatives would support paying incentive awards to cops for each suspect arrested and to soldiers for each suspected evil-doer they kill.

    I wonder if the government issued uniforms and weapons to all the social workers, and paid them on a commission basis for government money they dole out, would conservatives then consider them heroes who earn their money properly?

  17. Tom Blanton

    For those who always say that some particular Wayne Root fantasy essay is better than some other Wayne Root fantasy essay, I would suggest that even though most dogs prefer eating cat turds over cow pies, neither is very tasty.

    Wayne Root sells conservative ideas to conservative rubes and then tries to sell libertarian rubes the notion that he is selling the conservative rubes libertarian ideas.

  18. Roger Roots

    Dale and Bruno, # 4 & 5. I couldn’t help but be skeptical at your claims that government payrolls are “down drastically” during this recession. You both suggest that government workers have taken a bigger hit from the economic downturn than private-sector workers.

    Not true at the federal level (of which WAR was mostly speaking), nor generally at the state or municipal levels. Of course there are municipalities that have declared bankruptcy, and many unionized cop groups in overgoverned cities like Newark, Scranton and Stockton are spreading such nonsense.

    A quick look at payroll stats shows that private-sector jobs are still down by 4.6 million, or 4%, from January 2008. Meanwhile government jobs are down just 407,000, or 1.8%. Federal employment actually is 225,000 jobs above its January 2008 level, an 11.4% increase. That’s right, up 11.4%.

  19. Dan Ciammaichella

    Root cracks me up sometimes. The only thing he as ever “sold on Main Street” is horsepucky! Pot-Kettle-Black.

  20. Ayn R. Key

    I would like to see Root write an article about Civil Liberty in which he says “Democrats, liberals, and libertarians get it” occasionally to balance his glowing reviews of Republicans.

  21. From Der Sidelines

    I’d like to see FoxNews realize the obvious–that Root is nothing more than a bloviating ignorant glorified bookie.

  22. Thane Eichenauer

    I certainly feel pain when Root says something that can be construed as supporting the average statist Republican.
    However some anonymous commenter on IPR claiming that Fox News and the billionaire that runs that business should “realize the obvious” strikes me as quite laughable. Fox News and its staff have the resources to research Wayne Allyn Root in depth (and I would be very surprised if it hasn’t already done so). They are happy with him. I don’t see any problem if Mr. Root or my next door neighbor were a bookie (glorified or not).

    One anonymous commenter willing to sling a deprecating description of Mr. Root should be treated to little consideration at all.

    As Mr. Root and Paulie have mentioned many times on IPR in the robust free market (with exceptionally few exceptions) we still enjoy in the United States there is pretty near nothing (save willingness to work at it) keeping anybody from outperforming Mr. Root in the media marketplace. Throwing rocks at Mr. Roots performance is obviously much easier than being ready at a few hours notice to fly to New York City, have a nice dress outfit and provide reasonably relevant commentary as on oft disparaged “talking head”. I it is pretty evident few people are willing to put in the effort to qualify for and maintain such a position.

  23. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    in the robust free market (with exceptionally few exceptions) we still enjoy in the United States there is pretty near nothing (save willingness to work at it) keeping anybody from outperforming Mr. Root in the media marketplace.

    There is no “robust free market” in the American media.

    The bulk of American media (including “hundreds” of cable channels) are owned by six or so companies. And they own Congress, and thus control the regulations pertaining to them.

    Root himself said that one cannot get on TV if one opposes Israel.

    Likewise, the entire phony “left/right, MSNBC/Fox News” spectrum supports the empire’s current financial and foreign policies.

    Only on the political fringes, and on their fringe internet sites, do you find REAL opposition to the status quo.

  24. Thane Eichenauer

    I would agree with the sentiment that you have an uphill battle if you are an Israel hater. That doesn’t stop Al Jazeera from appearing on my satellite fed TV (or internet if I have no satellite TV service).
    In spite of the entire phony “left/right, MSNBC/Fox News” spectrum I still manage to see folks from Reason.com get included on various TV shows talking about the folly of imperialism.
    As for fringe internet sites you make my point. Before the current internet there was no way for one person to communicate effectively with the world. Now Alex Jones can talk to millions. I can see Gary Johnson and hear him talk directly to me without ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or Fox either modifying, restating or completely dumping his message.
    I can watch dozens of segments by Ben Swann on Ron Paul in 2012. I can listen to untold hours of Ron Paul critique the empire’s current financial and foreign policy.

    Just because 89% of the orthodox media (broadcast and print) is mud (in my opinion) doesn’t keep the remaining 11% from being available to me.

    I don’t dispute that there are restrictions and regulations on the media but that compared to nearly ANYWHERE else on the planet the US continent has more freedom to print, to broadcast and to speak than any other place I’ve heard of. If you have heard of a better, free-er place let me know so I can tune my omnidirectional internet antenna to that country cause I value being free to hear and watch what I want.

    As for the bulk of the mainstream media and their six or so corporate owners I don’t fret about them because as Ernest Hancock often describes it “the media that is soooo last century”, it is about to be squeezed and pummeled like never before. The ability of the internet to provide competition is one to be thankful for.

    Ernest Hancock vs Wayne Allyn Root NYC May 10th 2010 – Video of debate in 11 parts.

    Somebody tell me why it is that we are still talking about Wayne Allyn Root?

  25. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    I would agree with the sentiment that you have an uphill battle if you are an Israel hater.

    You have an uphill battle if you so much as tell the truth about Israel.

    If, say, a radio caller were to slip in a fact about Israel that’s unpleasant, his fact won’t just be challenged — he’ll be cut off and denounced as an “Israel hater.” Or worse.

    One reason for our foreign policy mess is that the American people are denied honest discussions about Israel and the Middle East on the mainstream media. (And I include conservative media in that mainstream.)

    How can you have a functioning democracy, if the mass of voters hear only one side?

  26. starchild

    Thank you wolfefan @9 and Joe @13 for your kind words. I try to walk a fine line between being nuanced and NPR-worthy and being a passionate extremist for liberty!

    “Voluntary sector” is indeed a fine linguistic meme. I don’t recall where I first heard it, or if I came up with it based on hearing something similar, but it’s one of the turns of phrase I try to use often.

    From what I seem to recall reading, wolfefan, there may be some truth to what you say as far as the greater average education/experience of government employees, but this may also reflect a set of circumstances that’s not necessarily all positive.

    For instance, government hiring procedures may rely more on paper credentials than those in the voluntary sector, because the incentives aren’t as strong for government managers to hire on the basis of merit, and in cases where they aren’t engaging in nepotism or political patronage, the rules may bind them more tightly to hiring the candidate who’s more qualified on paper. Further, there’s more job security in government because it’s tougher to fire bad employees, so they tend to stay in place longer racking up “experience”. Then there is the fact that academia tends to be a rather statist environment, which leads me to suspect that people who’ve had a lot of formal education may be more inclined toward government work than those who have not.

    Unless of course they are haughty like Joe and manage to get their PhD’s without giving any credence to the views of their professors [Just kidding Joe 🙂 ]

  27. Thane Eichenauer

    You are correct as far as you go. Go beyond the run of the mill radio talk station and beyond the run of the mill radio talk show and I know you can send quite a bunch of truth to the world about the problems of Israel.

    There is quite a marketplace of ideas available some even on orthodox broadcast TV and radio. It does take a discriminating customer to determine which “channels” are offering truth and which are offering people an wide assortment of blue pills.


  28. paulie

    Harry Browne got interviewed. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson get interviewed.

    Wayne Root is not the only one who can get media.

    People who make no real concerted effort can certainly say it’s because the media would never put them on due to their views. It’s a lot easier than actually trying to get on. Try it…you never know, you may surprise yourself.

    I’ve only done local media in a medium sized town, but it was very, very easy to get covered and interviewed.

    Even Carol Moore was on Nightline. Stop saying it can’t be done and see for yourself.

  29. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ 30 Paulie,

    I agree but I also caution that we need to know our audience. If you are going on a conservative show they usually want to steer you in that direction. Same with left leaning shows or papers.

    The goal is to get on but promote liberty.

  30. Kyle Kneale

    As a soon-to-be unemployed public sector employee, I can honestly say Mr. Root’s comments are complete hog wash.

    I am a college student, about to be unemployed, living in a town with 25,000 like-positioned students, who during my time at my agency (I will not say which), went through 2 performance reviews in 12 months. Compare that to the 4 private sector jobs I had before this; where I was reviewed 1 time in 4.5 years.

    Don’t tell me my life is untouched by “economic tragedy”

    -By the way: My unemployment is a result of EO 13562 – “Pathways” as a further competitive hiring tool for students.

  31. From Der Sidelines


    Sorry that the truth hurts. But there’s no need for you to tie your underwear into a double pretzel over it.

    Root’s background is a sports handicapper. That makes him a bookie.

    Root obviously bloviates, as is easily seen by his repeated rants.

    Root obviously is ignorant, as plenty of commenters here have repeatedly shown.

    Root obviously tries to glorify himself, as plenty of his self-labels show.

    So what I wrote was by no means a deprecating shot. It was, in fact, a condensed and highly accurate statement of what has been rather clear on here and to most libertarians not drunk on the RootGut for the past five years.

    You fail to realize that FoxNews knows what he is but doesn’t care, because they are just like him (with the exceptions of Stossel and Napalitano) in that they have an agenda that is no more based in reality and truth than their leftwing counterparts. To them, they see ratings and a chance to add a “libertarian” to their stables of horseshit, and zero more. He is gone when they can milk everything they can out of him. They are using him, and he is more than willing to let them in order to satisfy his ego and further glorification and bloviation.

    As far as I go, you can take it what you want. There are a few people on here who know who I really am and that I tend to know of what I speak. But to simply try to dismiss someone because they use a nom-de-web is an invalid argument, and you should know better than that.

  32. Thane Eichenauer

    From Der Sidelines,
    Anybody (and I mean ANY-BODY) who uses an anonymous moniker SHOULD be treated to less consideration than a person who uses his own name. Even I didn’t assert that your comment be given no consideration just little consideration (note the distinction).
    It makes no difference to me whether or not you are (allegedly) well known or (allegedly) well regarded in some (or all) circles.
    I would probably be irked less by your original comment if you had stated that “in your opinion” that Wayne Allyn Root “is nothing more than a bloviating ignorant glorified bookie.” Indeed that statement is and will always be nothing more and nothing less than your opinion. I continue to assert that your comment “should be treated to little consideration at all.” especially because your description was a bald assertion and without supporting references. Your followup comment @34 was also lacking in references mentioning only “other commenters”.
    Again, I do no suggest that anybody give your comments no consideration only little consideration based on the facts any given reader here at IPR has immediate access to.
    As for “There are a few people on here who know who I really am and that I tend to know of what I speak.” that sounds a bit too close to the logical fallacy of argument from authority for my tastes. If you make good and valid claims and as a result have a good and valid comment that is fine with me. However no bad and invalid comment will ever become a good and valid comment just because you are (alleged) to be a knowledgeable person or due the (alleged) fact that some (or many) people think that you are knowledgeable and _you_ should know better than that.
    I am not a reflexive supporter of Wayne Allyn Root. I think Root deserves to be fairly described. I wish Root to have no better reputation and no worse reputation than one he has earned through his words and deeds.
    Thane Eichenauer
    glorified commenter

  33. Ad Hoc

    Anybody (and I mean ANY-BODY) who uses an anonymous moniker SHOULD be treated to less consideration than a person who uses his own name.


  34. Thane Eichenauer

    Because when an anonymous commenter makes an assertion he or she has no reputation to loose if that assertion is proven false. There are many reasons who people use anonymous monikers but those who use then to disparage others I believe should be given less consideration than those folks who don’t.

    For those who use anonymous monikers and make an excellent point then the point being made is the important thing, not whether or not one uses one’s own name.

  35. Humongous Fungus

    Whether the point is good or bad the important thing is the point, or argument, or fact, or claim; not who says it.

    Using a real name only opens the door to ad hominem arguments, personality-driven responses, and in a few (fortunately rare) cases stalkers.

  36. From Der Sidelines


    Thank you, I could not have said that any better.

    If anything, the opposite of what he asserts is true and is avoided by a web name: reputation by name clouds judgement of the statements, both to the positive and the negative.

    Too bad Mr. Eichenauer (assuming that’s his real name) is unable to weigh arguments based solely on the statements instead of having to add weight by who’s making them.

  37. From Der Sidelines

    In fact, the only reason to use a name here at all is because the IPR comment format requires it. 😛

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