The View From 1776
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
President Obama’s rhetoric about reviewing government regulations and taking measures to foster America’s economic competitiveness reflects either ignorance or hypocrisy.
Business is competitive only when businesses are allowed to compete. Government regulation is aimed expressly at curbing free-market competition.
Such regulation is nothing less than steadily encroaching socialism.
Liberal-progressives since the 1930s - notably historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., - have propagandized the canard that President Roosevelt’s New Deal was only “saving capitalism” from itself. The capitalist system, according to Schlesinger and to Keynesian economists such Harvard’s Alvin Hansen, had failed with the 1929 crash that inaugurated the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Without never-ending government spending and regulation, in that view, the economy of the United States would stagnate and decline. The New Deal’s lust for regulation, evidenced by creation of hundreds of federal regulatory agencies, had deep roots all the way back to the original articulation of socialist theory in the first decade of the 1800s.
Schlesinger and his ilk blandly assured the American public that socialism consists solely of government ownership of the means of economic production and distribution. In fact, modern socialism’s earliest articulator, Henri de Saint-Simon, noted by 1820 that socialism requires only the government’s ability to regulate business.
His conception was adopted by American liberal-progressives: businessmen are too ignorant to run businesses; only intellectuals regulating through government bureaus understand what is best for the economy and for the nation’s citizens. An egregious example of that attitude is the Obama administration’s project to kill coal mining and to force Americans to use “green” power and “green” automobiles, deliberately overriding consumers’ wishes.
If President Obama truly wants to restore American competitiveness in world markets, he will drop his competitiveness councils and vigorously wipe away his miasma of regulations, from Obamacare to Dodd-Frank financial markets red tape, and will take steps to confine the Federal Reserve’s role strictly to maintaining a stable dollar and acting as lender-of-last-resort to sound banks engaged in non-speculative lending.
For more on that subject, see Barack Obama versus Ludwig von Mises.