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November's Choice: Free markets or managed capitalism

Somehow I missed this article by Arthur Brooks and Paul Ryan in last week's WSJ: "The Size of Government and the Choice This Fall." As a devoted fan of free markets and a believer in limited government, I think the article deserves some special mention, especially since it is quite good and in the best tradition of the Tea Party, of which I am also quite fond. Here are some excerpts, but read the whole thing if you haven't.

As we move into this election season, Americans are being asked to choose between candidates and political parties. But the true decision we will be making is this: Do we still want our traditional American free enterprise system, or do we prefer a European-style social democracy? This is a choice between free markets and managed capitalism; between limited government and an ever-expanding state; between rewarding entrepreneurs and equalizing economic rewards.
We [must] decide which ideal we prefer: a free enterprise society with a solid but limited safety net, or a cradle-to-grave, redistributive welfare state. Most Americans believe in assisting those temporarily down on their luck and those who cannot help themselves, as well as a public-private system of pensions for a secure retirement. But a clear majority believes that income redistribution and government care should be the exception and not the rule.
Unfortunately, many political leaders from both parties in recent years have purposively obscured the fundamental choice we must make by focusing on individual spending issues and programs while ignoring the big picture of America's free enterprise culture. In this way, redistribution and statism always win out over limited government and private markets.
Individually, these things might sound fine. Multiply them and add them all up, though, and you have a system that most Americans manifestly oppose—one that creates a crushing burden of debt and teaches our children and grandchildren that government is the solution to all our problems.
More and more Americans are catching on to the scam. Every day, more see that the road to serfdom in America does not involve a knock in the night or a jack-booted thug. It starts with smooth-talking politicians offering seemingly innocuous compromises, and an opportunistic leadership that chooses not to stand up for America's enduring principles of freedom and entrepreneurship.
As this reality dawns, and the implications become clear to millions of Americans, we believe we can see the brightest future in decades. But we must choose it.

I share the authors' optimism, and their belief that voters will make the right choice in November. This is one of the major reasons I have remained optimistic since late 2008, despite the onslaught of Big Government. Too much government spending, too much income redistribution, and too much oppressive regulation have been major headwinds to economic recovery. With any luck this sea-change in the mood of the electorate that has been brewing since April 2009 will be able to reverse our statist course and eventually restore the economy to health.

And did I mention that I like the idea of Paul Ryan for President in 2012?

HT: Russell Redenbaugh 

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