Megan McArdle sums up Obama’s recent speech on the economy.
If you listened closely, the speech seemed like a confession that the president knows he can’t do much. The deep problems afflicting America — social and economic breakdown in inner cities and rural areas; rising economic insecurity; widening gulfs between ideologies, regions, and socioeconomic classes — are simply far beyond the president’s reach.
1: I don’t think this president would ever confess he can’t do much. He simply isn’t smart enough or wise enough to realize that…
2: No president can do anything but get in the way of progress. The good ones do this to a lesser extent and maybe cut back on the interference here or there. The bad ones are like Obama and seek to fix what the government screwed up with its last intervention by staging a new one.
Once you have a decent set of laws regarding commerce the only power the government has is the power to meddle, and to create distortions and inefficiencies in the market. And politicians use that power with a vengeance to reward their allies and punish their enemies. They should not have this power. No one should. But then the people who are wise enough and decent enough to understand these limitations never seek office. This is why we always end up with full throated statists like Obama who have never bothered to crack a history book to see what happens when government is given its head, or half-measure guys like Bush who are happy to see the momentum towards oppression continue without doing a whole lot to slow it down or speed it up.