John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Socialism, Capitalism, the Free-Market and the Future of America

Posted on September 25, 2008




Who said:  "Socialism is the only route to the salvation of the world."



No, it is not Barack Obama or Barney Frank or Harry Reid or any of the other Democrats who have blamed President Bush’s “philosophy” for the Wall Street Crisis.



It was Hugo Chavez, who is using the current economic crisis as a way to promote his own morally bankrupt political and economic philosophy.



Chavez, whose personal hero is Fidel Castro, has used oil revenues to export his influence into South and Central America (and in New England, for that matter).  But Venezuela, despite being flush with oil profits, is an economic mess.



Socialism doesn’t work.  Hasn’t worked anywhere.  Any time you put the government in charge of the private sector, it doesn’t work.



Which brings me to the current economic bailout being promoted by the Bush Administration and by Wall Street.



Senator Jim Bunning has called this “socialism”, and other conservatives have offered sharp criticism of the Treasury plan, along the same lines.



But those critics are wrong.  The Treasury plan is not socialism.  It is the best plan to stop the socialists.



The government created this problem.  The government needs to fix it.



The government created this problem by putting unnecessary and unhealthy pressure on the market to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.  They compounded the problem by making credit easier and by making money cheaper.



The idea that government should stay completely out of the marketplace is a theological fantasy.  It works well in the fiction of Ayn Rand, but it has never really been attempted (except maybe in Hong Kong, in the days before the Communists).



Yes, government has always played an important role in the economy.  On occasion, the government has been forced to step in and fix things when the economy goes seriously off the track (usually caused by government corruption).



But the best way to create prolonged economic growth is to keep the government’s role limited to enforcing laws, protecting property rights, keeping taxes fair but low, promoting safety and security, creating the right infrastructure for the most efficient transportation of products, and regulating the money supply by creating a strong and stable currency.



The government has failed in its last responsibility, and now it is fixing the problem.  This really isn’t a bailout at all.  It is a recapitalization that is necessary so that the credit market do not freeze up.



Democrats want to use this crisis as an opportunity to sharply increase the power of the government to regulate the economy.  They want to over-regulate Wall Street.  They want the government to own a piece of each company that gets federal money.  They want the government to limit the amount that company executives make.  They want to sharply raise taxes on the “rich”. 



Beware a power-play by left-wing Democrats who have no faith in free-market capitalism.  If you ask them in their un-guarded moments what they really think about capitalism, and they will scoff at it.  When they hear the words “free-market” they visibly recoil.  In the days following the collapse of the Soviet Union, every American was a proud capitalist.  Now, there seems that there are only a few of us left.  These Democrats, like Chavez, are using this crisis to promote their alternative to the free-market capitalist system. 



But there really is no choice to the free-market.  It is the best way to promote freedom, progress and a higher standard of living for all Americans.  Hugo Chavez is wrong.  Socialism is not the way to promote salvation of the world.  Freedom is.