Has Barack Obama learned nothing in three years? During his State of the Union address, he promised “a blueprint for an economy.” But economies are crushed by blueprints. An economy is really nothing more than people participating in an unfathomably complex spontaneous network of exchanges aimed at improving their material circumstances. It can’t even be diagrammed, much less planned. And any attempt at it will come to grief.
Politicians like Obama believe they are the best judges of how we should conduct our lives. Of course a word like
“blueprint” would occur to the president. He, like most who want his job, aspires to be the architect of a new society.
But we who love our lives and our freedom say: “No, thanks. We need no social architect. We need liberty under law.” That’s it.
Obama — and most Republicans are no different — doesn’t understand the real liberal revolution that transformed civilization. The crux of that revolution is that law should define general visible rules of just conduct, applicable to all, with no eye to
outcomes. In other words, as Nobel laureate FA Hayek taught, the only
“purpose” of law is to enable us all to pursue our individual purposes
Obama really wanted, as he says, a society in which “everybody gets a
fair shot,” he would work to shrink government so that the sphere of
freedom could expand. Instead, he expands government and raises taxes on
wealthier people, as though giving politicians more money were a way to
make society better. Instead, the interventionist state rigs the game
on behalf of special interests.
What should Obama have said in his speech?
Here’s what I wish he’d said:
Our debt has passed $15 trillion. It will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.
if we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can
grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn’t just make economic sense, it is
also the moral thing to do. Government is best which governs least.
start by closing the Department of Education, which saves $100 billion a
year. It’s insane to take money from states only to launder it through
Washington and then return it to states.
we’ll close the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That saves
$41 billion. We had plenty of housing in America before a department
we eliminate the Commerce Department: $9 billion. A government that
can’t count votes accurately should not try to negotiate trade. We will
eliminate all corporate welfare and all subsidies. That means
agriculture subsidies, green-energy subsidies, ethanol subsidies and so
on. None of it is needed.
I propose selling Amtrak. Why is government in the transportation business? Let private companies compete to run the trains.
we must finally stop one of the biggest assaults on freedom and our
pocketbook: the war on drugs. I used drugs. It’s immoral to imprison
people who do what I did and now laugh about.
Still, all these cuts combined will only dent our deficit. We must cut Medicare, Social Security and the military.
know. Medicare and Social Security are popular. But they are
unsustainable. The only way to cut costs and still have medical
innovation is to free the market. So I propose that we repeal Obamacare
immediately. My proposal was a mistake. We should repeal all government
interference in the medical and insurance industries, including
licensing. It all impedes competition.
must shrink the military’s mission to true national defense. That means
pulling our troops out of Germany, Japan, Italy and dozens of other
countries. America cannot and should not try to police the world.
Those cuts will put America on the road to solvency. But that’s not enough. We also need economic growth.
growth has stalled because millions of pages of regulations make
businesses too fearful to invest. Entrepreneurs don’t know what the
rules — or taxes — will be tomorrow.
All destructive laws must go. I endorse the Stossel Rule: For every new law passed, we must repeal two old ones.
Okay, Obama will never say that. But I can dream, can’t I?
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. © 2011 Creators.com