Free The Markets, Mitt Romney
This to me is a more worrisome statement than his communications advisor's gaffe about Etch A Sketches or Romney's shout-out to
Over the last few years, the country has been subjected to a tutorial about the role of government. Thanks to the efforts of the
There are three potential problems with Romney's formulation. The first is political. As
Indeed, getting into a contest with President Obama over who is a better friend of business is not the winner some might think. Obama has given billions to big businesses, from
I'm not saying Obama's policies are valid or wise, but the water will get very muddy very quickly if Romney campaigns on who is business' BFF, especially when you consider that one of the things Romney did at
And that was a good thing. Free markets depend on failure, or what Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction." You can't have light bulbs without destroying much of the candle-making business. At Bain, Romney was part of the process that fueled innovation. That's nothing to be ashamed of.
Which brings us to the philosophical problem. Since the Progressive Era, American liberals have been in favor of some variant of corporatism or industrial policy. The idea stretching from
There's a huge difference between being pro-business and pro-free market. The government's role in the free market is to keep it free and fair, not to play favorites.
When government takes it upon itself to be the ally of business, certain biases often take over. For instance, existing industries have a huge advantage over ones that haven't been created yet. A more obvious bias is toward big companies over small ones. Big companies create constituencies and can afford lobbyists to make their case. Moreover, big business becomes a tempting vehicle for other policies like, say, providing health care. And why not: When government is scratching business' back, why shouldn't business return the favor?
There's a reason the
Indeed, big corporations are enjoying record profits under Obama, but as Romney noted, "New business start-ups -- and that's normally where we get job growth after a recession -- ... are down to the lowest level in 30 years." He needs to follow that train of thought.
In fairness to Romney, much of his rhetoric is very pro-free market and does draw a sharp contrast with Obama's crony capitalism. But then he'll hit one of those off-key notes and cause some to worry whether he's just saying the other stuff because that's what his advisors say he should say.
And that brings us to the third problem. What if Romney wins? A technocrat, he excels at accomplishing very specific tasks by getting deep into the numbers and listening to the best experts. That's great when it comes to turning around the Olympics or a fast-food chain. But that's also how he came up with "Romneycare."
Read the latest political news.
- How Everyone Else Pays for Big Business's Tax Breaks
- No Easy Solutions for Big Money in Politics
- GOP: That Great Enemy of Reason
- GOP's Presidential Plans in Peril if Economy Keeps Improving
- Mitt Romney's Woman Woes
- Can Republicans Regain Women Voters?
- Independent Ladies Pick Obama
- Republicans Can Close the 'Gender Gap' With the Economy
- Free The Markets, Mitt Romney
- Obama and Romney Struggling With Working Class Voters
- Mitt Romney Turns Attention to Contrasts With President Obama
- The Mitt Romney Veepstakes Begin
- Tool Or Hero: What Role Will Marco Rubio Play?
- Paul Ryan: Chairman of the Con Man Committee
- Paul Ryan's Medicare Hot Air
- Grand Old Pedagogy
- For Government: No Limits
- Parties Begin Staking Out Ground For a Budget Deal
- Rich Freeloaders
- Obama Will Not Stand Up for His Party's Politics
- How the Rich Welch on Retirement Taxes
- Invoking Fake Job Creators to Cut Taxes on the Rich
- Down and Out on Wall Street
- Enemies of the People
- The 99 Percent Spring
- The Most Lopsided Economic Recovery On Record
- Massachusetts Health Care Reform from the Front Lines
- Health Care Jujitsu
- Freedom or Fairness in 2012?
- Obama Energy Policy: Very Few of the Above
- Faith-Based Energy Policy
- Obama Unleashed
- Five Economic Mistakes Obama is Making
- Better Public Schools Require a Stronger Safety Net
- Catching up to the Local Food Revolution
- Taxation without Representation
- Partisanship Bickering Hangs Over Immigration Hearing
- Women Agree With the GOP on Birth Control
- Has Obama Gone Too Far in His Rhetoric About the Supreme Court?
- The Second Oil Revolution
- An America in Decline
- Romney's Russia Remarks and the Dangers of Dumbed Down
- Volatile Times, Uncertain Futures
- The Crisis in Public Morality
- Where's The Hope?
- Rising Economic Tide Lifts Obama's Fortunes
- Politics: A Never-Ending Game of 'Hot Potato'
- Why Older Citizens are More Likely to Vote
- Ryan's Budget Plan Could Cause Problems Within Both Parties
- Re-election Could Put Obama in Top 4 All-Time
Free The Markets, Mitt Romney | Politics
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services