Which Kind of Capitalism? A Debate for Obama and Romney
"This is not a distraction, this is what this campaign is going to be about," President Obama said Monday at the
Team Romney should have seen this coming. If
And Obama has a point. If you are going to campaign on the idea that you were a private-sector job creator, it's certainly fair game for your opponents to investigate the claim. Now, I think the Obama campaign's specific charges and accusations regarding
There are real political dangers for Obama in making himself the attack-dog-in-chief. Not only is it contrary to his admittedly tattered post-partisan brand, but voters may reasonably conclude that the president is focusing on Romney's record to change the subject from his own.
Still, he's not entirely wrong. Nor is
"Social" is one of those loaded terms that sounds pleasant enough but presupposes a very large role for the state in our lives. For instance, "Julia," the fictional Everywoman the Obama campaign is touting as the typical beneficiary of progressive government, lives in a social market. And, therefore, the government heavily influences not just her wages and health care but her career, recreational activities and even her childbearing decisions. "Under President Obama: Julia decides to have a child," one slide explains with a dry creepiness.
It's telling but not remotely surprising that Dionne looks to
One microcosm of the social market at work has been
Not entirely by Obama's design, for the last few years America's labor market has looked pretty European. We don't have the mobs of unemployed and unemployable youths loitering in the vain hope that some state worker will die or retire so they can take his place. But we're not that far off either. Workers don't want to leave their jobs because they have no faith they'll find another. Few firms want to create new positions because they don't know if the market will sustain them.
Under normal circumstances, the U.S. economy creates tens of millions of jobs every year and destroys tens of millions, with net new jobs. In a typical year, up to 50 million Americans change jobs, often happily. They get hired away, promoted, etc.
This process partly explains why America's capitalism has been so much more dynamic than
Yes, Romney created jobs while he was creating value and wealth at Bain; he also destroyed jobs. Both are necessary in a dynamic market that improves the prospects for most Americans through economic growth. Some suffer from the process. But I would argue more people suffer under the social market. Which system is better is, indeed, a worthy -- and overdue -- debate.
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Which Kind of Capitalism? A Debate for Obama and Romney | Politics
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