Conservative Political Commentary

...usually with an attempt at historical and economic context

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let’s Hear It for Romney!

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.  Photo: Dreamstime
Mitt Romney, who created jobs as CEO of Bain Capital, amid some layoffs and failures, is, to say the least, a man who believes in free-market capitalism. From the criticisms of Romney’s Bain Capital experience coming from Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, one would wonder if belief in capitalism is not so much a Republican principle as we thought.

Of course, Gingrich has rescinded his criticism (sort of), and Perry has quieted his after losing a key donor over it, but the fact is that capitalism, properly understood and practiced, is simply economic freedom. That’s what we’re losing under the Obama Administration. It is true that this criticism of Romney sounds eerily like Obama.

Romney’s comment that he “likes to be able to fire people” ought to be taken as a positive statement about competition, in stark contrast to liberals’ ideal that says no one should ever be fired, especially if they are part of government. See Ann Coulter’s excellent column on this.

Maybe Romney’s strategy now is to simply wait out the campaign until his rivals knock each other off by such ill-advised criticisms of him and each other. He’s been a presidential candidate for years now, so he has learned something about what it might take for success in politics. It begins to look more and more like he’s the inevitable candidate, and if that trend continues, Republicans had better get behind him (or someone) in a unified manner, or else we’ll see four more years of Obama.

The only “capitalism” President Obama likes is crony capitalism which is very like fascist corporatism. This, of course, is not capitalism, but “private enterprise” in collusion with government, involving exchanges of political favors. It also involves government taking over private companies, removing them from their owners and handing them over to unions and other politically-connected cronies, meanwhile, leaving investors with little to nothing (see GM and Chrysler).

Obama’s “green-energy” policy has brought some “green” to some of his cronies, at the expense of taxpayers and future generations, with nothing worthwhile to show for it. Solyndra got an over-half-billion dollar loan guarantee, then went bankrupt (as should have been expected). The government even considered bailing them out. Chevy Volt draws a subsidy now equal to about $250,000 per car. Its flaws are becoming more evident. The problem is that this is crony capitalism at its worst. It’s incompetent, and possibly criminal, government involvement in things that, if financially viable, would be developed by private industry, perhaps profitably, and without government involvement.

The Obama Administration showcases their abysmal economic ignorance. Normally, everything the government finances or helps finance, is a money-losing operation, but under the current regime, it’s not just marginal losses, but incredibly huge, economy-damaging losses, that show no sign of improvement.

Romney, like all the candidates, has his flaws. He does not seem to be as thoroughly conservative as we might prefer. But which candidate is? The main smaller-government conservatives are/were candidates Michele Bachmann (now out) and Rick Perry (slipping, but still in the race so far). Ron Paul is for smaller government, but has troubling positions on some foreign policy and other issues. We’re left with Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and Huntsman, of whom, it seems to me, only Romney speaks of smaller government.

I like Huntsman’s position on stopping corporate welfare and all subsidies. I like some of Gingrich’s ideas on entitlements, for example, stop paying crooks. I like Santorum’s social conservatism. I liked Herman Cain’s refreshing approach to running for office and his tea party appeal. I actually thought Michele Bachmann might be the best all-around conservative in the race, but, alas, she couldn’t get going.

What I want to see is a Republican president who can get this country back to normal. Something like Warren G. Harding did after the unbearable Wilson. Something like Ronald Reagan did after the unbearable Carter. We now have a president who’s more unbearable than either Wilson or Carter, and four more years of the Obama regime will come close, if not actually accomplish, the final decline of America as a free and prosperous country. We’ll be more like a third-world dictatorship. We’ll be more like Cuba, the workers’ paradise.

Employment is the top issue. Romney knows more about correcting the problems than anyone else in the race. Private-sector experience trumps all political career experience in this issue. Romney says he knows how the economy works. Obama does not know how it works, except he seems to know how to hurt it.

In the Washington world of deeply confused Keynesianism, the great contrast of the Austrian School of economic thought offers much common-sense counsel and analysis of the problems of today and the past. A plain explanation of Austrian principles is contained in a fairly brief video found below. Austrian economists (so called because pioneers of their school of thought were Austrians, such as Ludwig von Mises and Frederich A. Hayek) accurately predicted such events as the Great Depression and the more recent housing bust. Austrian theory provides a rational explanation for the business cycle.




Actually, the only candidate who claims Austrian economic views is Ron Paul, and in the economic area, he is right. But to me, the main requirement for economic views of a presidential candidate is economic freedom: low taxes, free-market capitalism, reasonable, i.e., minimal, regulation, and a strong non-interventionist bias, and no collusion between government and business. In other words, keep government out of the economy (and most other things) as much as possible.

Perhaps our next president will recognize the ticking time bombs of our economy, as well as those of our world. The present regime does not.
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