Barack Obama, yesterday (4-10-12) in a campaign speech in Florida laid bare his feeling about free markets. He said:
"If we would just convert these investments that we're making through out government in education, research and healthcare. If we just turn those into tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, then somehow the economy is going to grow stronger. That's the theory," President Obama said about the right at a campaign event on the tax code in Boca Raton, Florida today.
"Here is the news. We tried this for eight years before I took office. We tried it. It is not like we did not try it. At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans got two huge tax cuts, in 2001 and 2003. Meanwhile, insurance companies, financial institutions, there were all allowed to write their own rules, find their way around the rules. We were told the same thing we're being told now -- this is going to lead to faster job growth, it's going to lead to greater prosperity for everybody. Guess what? It didn't," he said an audience at Florida Atlantic University.
The Office Wag offered this comment: "just think of how much worse it would have been had capitalism not had a chance before he dragged us down into socialism and crony capitalism."
We understand that Office Wag is making the point that she is defending Bush using the same logic Obama used to defend his stimulus ("it would have been worse...) and at its core he is still trying to Blame Bush for all of his failures, but there is more to it than that.
First, Obama is simply incorrect when he says we tried free markets. We don't have free market in the USA today and have not for many, many years. The truth is that the greatest job/wealth creaters have been the enterprises that flourished before the government moved in to either tax them to death or regulate them.
The second point is that Obama and his socialistic approach to central economic planning has worked even less well than did what he complains about. Nearly every indicator of economic well-being has gone down under his policies and the feeble "upturn" is not because of those polices but in spite of them.
The fundamental thing wrong with Obama's argument and his policy is that he has created an environment in which those people with money to invest are reticent to do so because they fear what is coming next.
Finally, Obama is using logical trickery in his speech. He uses a syllogism-- "we have tried free markets" --that is false, therefore his conclusion is false. As a lawyer he should know this. But he apparently was absent that day at Harvard when they taught logical reasoning.