One of the things President Obama is frequently accused of in the right of center media is blaming former President George Bush for our economic woes. His supporters point out, for example, that TARP was passed by Bush and that most people now blame President Obama even for that.
Frankly, President Obama is right to blame former President Bush for much of our economic situation.
However, that is beside the point.
President Obama has presented himself and the government as the means to economic growth. Behind all his policies is the assumption that the state knows best where our energies should be directed to grow the economy.
Yet, for nearly 18 months nothing he has done to move the economy has caused anything like a recovery. Furthermore, his predictions have been off, which demonstrates that the economy is not as simple as his promises, or at least his implied beliefs, indicated.
In other words, in the end, just like Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, et al et al, President Obama does not know how to grow the economy.
Of course, it is premature to say that what he has done won’t help, but I am among the multitudes who are beyond skeptical of the efforts of the present government to do the right thing.
Beyond skeptical, because I positively believe that they have done and are doing the wrong things.
But even that is beside the point. Let us suppose that President Obama does know best what our economy needs. There is no possibility that by the time he presses it through congress, his solution will look anything like what he knows we need. Only a dictator could overcome that reality.
As long as people hope that government decisions will lead to a recovery, as opposed to allowing one, our government will be permitted to make decisions that can’t possibly work.
Economic recoveries happen when people who make small scale economic decisions are able to use their own intelligence based on the conditions before them to do what best enables them to fulfill their responsibilities.
When everybody is sitting around waiting for the next big decision from Washington about who gets the next dollop of corporate, social, or economic welfare, nothing happens.
When people are unwilling to take the risk of opening a new restaurant or expand their warehouse or sell a new product because they are afraid the state will have something more intelligent for them to do, the economy can’t grow.
What leads to economic recovery is not a mystical force in the market or the intelligent hand of the state planner. It’s people being allowed to attempt to fulfill their duties according to their best lights. The recovery comes because so many fail, but quite a few succeed.
The harder it is to fail, the harder it is to create new jobs.
It may be worth noting here, though it is an aside, that it is not “enlightened self-interest” repackaged as greed that grows a healthy economy. It is fathers who want to provide for their families. Everything else feeds off that basic duty.
That is why I’m a Yeomanite. Nobody is smart enough to intelligently direct an economy, but many, many people are smart enough to figure out what to do in their circumstances.