Friday, April 6, 2012

Enough with the GOP's Faith-Based Economics

Photo Credit: Bête à Bon-Dieu
Some politicians believe that less regulation, spending and taxes will help the economy -- this belief comes from a longstanding blind faith in the so-called "free market."
April 3, 2012

"I will do all I can to help you," Montague answered. "And you must be very severe with me," Lucy continued, "and not let me spend too much money, or make any blunders. That was the way [former business advisor] Mr. Holmes used to do, and since he is dead, I have positively been afraid to trust myself about."

-Upton Sinclair, "The Moneychangers"

From Ron Paul to Mitt Romney, politicians consistently employ their own framing of why the economy is performing poorly, and thus, promote a consistent remedy for how to improve it. Government doesn't need to do more, they contend, it needs to do less - less regulating, less spending, less taxing. They believe in these solutions, I argue, not necessarily because of some secret allegiance to the rich, but because of their longstanding blind faith in the ability of the so-called "free market" to correct economic problems on its own.

During a recent appearance on The Daily Show, the libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) championed the need for free-floating interest rates by analogizing interest rate movements to the human body's production of insulin.[1] That such a complex economic process could be equated with an automatic physiological process was not at all accidental. Just as though it were a natural science, free-marketers firmly believe in capitalism's ability to self-correct. Government, they argue, will only mess up (or, as they like to say, "distort") this process. This is precisely what Ronald Reagan was intimating when he famously declared, "Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem."

The Myth of Self-Correction  

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