As I mentioned earlier, lyrics from the song “Words” by Missing Persons are stuck in my head: “What are words for, when no one listens anymore?”
In December of 2011, President Obama gave a speech about the economy in Osawatomie, Kansas. Americans didn’t really listen to the words then, because if they had, they would have heard a very disturbing theme.
Harry Binswanger listened intently and wrote a chilling editorial for Forbes magazine called “Obama To Americans: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free.” In his article, Binswanger notes a couple paragraphs in the speech that were particularly telling:
There is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes–especially for the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.
Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.”
As far as the market taking care of everything, that’s really what our original framers had in mind. Radical capitalists would use the government only to secure the rights of life liberty, the pursuit of happiness and property – the last being an original right included by classical liberal John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government.
But Binswanger points out that our nation hasn’t had a completely unfettered market for some 100 years. In fact it was in 1913 that progressivism began its infiltration into our economy:
It was exactly 100 years ago that a gigantic anti-capitalist measure was put into effect: the Federal Reserve System. For 100 years, government, not the free market, has controlled money and banking. How’s that worked out? How’s the value of the dollar held up since 1913?”