You’ve heard the calumny: The current economic debacle is the result of free markets.
This charge — often made with lip-smacking glee — makes no sense.
I’ve discussed some specifics, before. Here are three more points:
1. We haven’t had a free market. We live in a heavily regulated, subsidized, coddled-and-attacked, over-taxed society. If the current debacle proves any system unfeasible, then the one proven wrong is the one we have. It’s the mixed economy that has proven to have worse than mixed results.
2. Many on the left as well as on the right like to pretend that Republican talk of free markets has been effective. Both sides lie. The alleged party of “small-government” and “free markets” pigged out at the government trough, increasing the size and scope of government. To not see growth of regulation and spending and government debt under Republican governance is to not see the corpulent elephant in the room.
3. Blaming free markets is especially galling to actual proponents of free markets for a historical reason, too: Our idea grew up in reaction not to socialism, but to a system of government interference much like what we have today. Adam Smith called it “mercantilism.” Thomas Jefferson called it “Parasite Institutions.”
And it’s the parasite institutions that caused the current mess.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.