Monday, May 28, 2012

Capitalism or Socialism--Your Choice

“our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. . . fits well on a bumper sticker. But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked.”

--Barack Obama

There’s more from the leader of the world’s #1 market economy. Writes Debra Saunders, house conservative at the San Francisco Chronicle,
The president explained that the goal of private investment is to "maximize profits," whereas a president's job is to make sure that everyone has "a fair shot" and that everyone pays his or her "fair share" of taxes. That's the problem with Obama; he thinks he's the fairness czar. He didn't say that a president is supposed to create an environment that nurtures business success. He said a president is supposed to make sure that nobody walks away with too much.
In his Forbes article “Is It Within Bounds To Ask: Is Obama A Socialist?”, conservative Paul Roderick Gregory points to a
remarkable overlap between Obama’s electoral platform and the Party of European Socialists, which represents leftist and socialist parties in the European parliament. . . French socialist Francois Hollande’s and Obama’s platforms are virtual carbon copies, and Hollande is quite open about and proud of being a socialist.
Obama brings to the table a deep distrust of free enterprise and a belief in government as the solution to most problems. . . Obama should make his health care reform a centerpiece of his campaign rather than pretend it does not exist.
Gregory is right to note that socialism is still a bad word in the U.S., connected in American minds more to Soviet-style Communism than to Western European social democracy. It’s the latter force that today so attracts liberal Democrats, including Obama. Rather than re-educate the country on the benign nature of democratic socialism, however, Democrats prefer to avoid the label “socialist” entirely, even though doing so is inaccurate.

Europe is a mixed economy, top-down with government in charge, and with a titanium safety net that includes universal health care. Democrats love old Europe, while Republicans are wary.

And worried.   Conservatives want a different America. They oppose democratic socialism. Here’s conservative David Brooks of the New York Times:
Private equity firms are not lovable, but they forced a renaissance that revived American capitalism. The large questions today are: Will the U.S. continue this process of rigorous creative destruction? More immediately, will the nation take the transformation of the private sector and extend it to the public sector? While American companies operate in radically different ways than they did 40 years ago, the sheltered, government-dominated sectors of the economy — especially education, health care and the welfare state — operate in astonishingly similar ways.
And Brooks again:
The American founders . . . dispersed power to encourage active citizenship, hoping that as people became more involved in local government, they would develop a sense of restraint and responsibility.
And Thomas Sowell, at Stanford’s Hoover Institution:
When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them. . . if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.
I think conservative Washington Post columnist George Will best captured the socialist state’s entitlement mentality when he reported:
Campaigning recently at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., Romney warned students about their burden from the national debt, but when he took questions, the first questioner had something else on her peculiar mind: “So you’re all for like, ‘Yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff and ‘Yay, like, pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”
Conventional Paul-Krugman/New York Times social democracy thinking teaches us that big government’s greatest achievement was spending our way out of the Great Depression during World War II. So now comes Forbes’ Steve Forbes' attempt to put that shibboleth to rest:
Free markets, not big government, are the true source of America’s incredible strength. They enabled us to win World War II, thereby saving Western civilization.
It’s easy to say, “Build planes in an assembly-line manner, like cars.” A typical car in those days had 15,000 parts. The B-24, which Ford eventually produced in prodigious numbers after endless difficulties, had 488,193 parts, which broke down to 30,000 components. The B-29, a plane conceived in the 1930s as a dreadnought in the sky, was a horrific nightmare to bring to reality. The engines alone required 900 modifications. The B-29 was slated for cancellation before [GM’s Bill] Knudsen [picture] was brought in to save it. Doing so broke his health.
Who knew? Bill Knudsen, not big government.
So Romney, not big government.


MeiMei said...

How do you feel about the government bailing out both the banking industry and the auto industry, then?

MeiMei said...

How do you feel about the government bailing out both the banking industry and the auto industry, then?

Galen Fox said...

Good question. I supported the Bush- Paulson-Bernanke TARP as an emergency action in desperate times. Of course, we need government, and it does perform many legitimate functions. But does government make the economy run? Think the last 3+ years demonstrate that putting brains at the top and running the economy top-down doesn't work. We need millions of intelligent decisions made by the millions of entrepreneurs closest to the buy-sell transactions that best produce prosperity.

As for the auto bailout, that would have worked better if it had run through normal bankruptcy channels, as did the bankruptcies of U.S. Steel, of United, of Delta, and of American. For an article written by two who know more about the details than do I, please see: