E.J. Dionne: Romney’s Economic Plans Are Radical Because They Don’t Include Goverment
In Liberal World, the only entity that can truly make the economy grow is The Government
It turns out that there is at least one question on which Mitt Romney is not a flip-flopper: He has a utopian view of what an unfettered, lightly taxed market economy can achieve.
He would never put it this way, of course, but his approach looks forward by looking backward to the late 19th century, when government let market forces rip and a conservative Supreme Court swept aside as unconstitutional almost every effort to write rules for the economic game. This magical capitalism is the centerpiece of Romney’s campaign, and it may prove to be his undoing.
The 1900’s weren’t a perfect century economy wise: there were 4 big panics. But, the period from 1865 to 1900 are referred to as the “Gilded Age” in which “Many Americans came to idealize these businessmen who amassed vast financial empires.” And “The Gilded Age saw the greatest period of economic growth in American history.” And “From 1869 to 1879, the US economy grew at a rate of 6.8% for real GDP and 4.5% for real GDP per capita, despite the panic of 1873.” Sounds like a pretty good age, eh? People
Here’s Romney’s problem. His best strategy is to cast President Obama as a failure because the economy has not come all the way back from the implosion of 2008. The most effective passages in his well-reviewed speech after his primary victories Tuesday were about the shortcomings of the status quo.
“Is it easier to make ends meet?” Romney asked. “Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more at your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Are you paying less at the pump?”
And E.J. blows right by those two paragraphs, not offering any sort of defense of Obama/Democrat policies, especially in light of saying that Romney’s problem is to cast (NMP) Obama as an economic failure. Not quite sure how that is a problem, Obama is a miserable failure. And he eats dogs.
But Romney, unlike Clinton, is not offering a program through which government would take specific steps to solve the problems he catalogues. Instead, he is calling on voters to share his faith that our difficulties would go away if the state simply got out of the way, allowed the market do its thing and counted on the success of the successful to lift up everyone else.
And there you go: Romney is radical for not pushing a government driven economy. Perhaps Romney has simply witnessed the malfeasance, recklessness, and incompetence of Central Government planning within the economy. The waste of trillions of dollars on failed projects which, furthermore, added enormous amounts of borrowed money to the debt and deficit. Oh, and saddled the US with huge unfunded mandates.
Romney is right in saying he has “a very different vision” from Obama’s, and this is where the magic comes in. He envisions “an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. And because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hardworking, educated, skilled employees is intense, so wages and salaries rise.”
Damn him, damn him to Hell! What the heck does Romney think he’s pushing with this silly freedom crap? Doesn’t he know that Los Federales know best? I just can’t vote for anyone who lives so far in the past and believes in freedom. Chump.
Just like that, all would be well – as if we never needed the trust-busting of the Progressive Era, the social legislation of the New Deal, the health programs of the Great Society and the coordinated action of the world’s governments in 2008 and 2009 to keep the Great Recession from becoming something far worse.
And all those mentioned led to the modern mega-Central Government, in which too much government interference leads to the issue never being fixed. Things have to bottom out. Right now, most of the world is simply puttering along. Perhaps sputtering would be better. Perhaps E.J. could opine on Obama’s plan, which seems to revolve around raising taxes, spending more taxpayer money on projects that are bound to fail, and…..well, that’s it.