Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ignatius on Obamanomics

David Ignatius has a truly terrible column today on Obamanomics. Really, it's the kind of piece that makes you wonder if he is on the White House payroll. In fact, the column is essentially a regurgitation of talking points from presidential adviser David Axelrod. Ignatiuis writes:
What Axelrod described represents a different economic approach from Obama's recent predecessors. And it should reassure a world that is worried about American leadership. This White House is speaking an economic language that Europe and Asia understand -- more regulation, more government intervention, a more generous safety net -- without abandoning America's commitment to free markets.
This is exactly what Ben Shapiro was talking about yesterday, in which the administration tries to pretend that there are no conflicts or tradeoffs when there clearly are. If you increase regulation, intervention and taxes to pay for a more generous safety net then you are abandoning a commitment to free markets. By definition.

This part was equally risible:
If you're looking for a more conceptual phrase than "new foundation," you could describe Obama's approach as "post-globalization," or "post-liberalism."

When Americans spoke of "globalization," they meant that U.S. ideas about free markets and capital flows were becoming universal. But in Europe and Asia, you sometimes heard a different term. People spoke of the U.S.-led system as "liberalism," and that wasn't a compliment. They were anxious about a process of globalization that was sweeping away traditional rules and cultural values. In the name of efficiency, this liberalism seemed to put their way of life on the knife-edge of the market.

This suspicion of Anglo-Saxon economic liberalism cut across the usual political boundaries. Right-wing industrialists disliked it, but so did left-wing labor unions. Chinese communists felt threatened, but so did Green Party activists in Germany. Facing this voracious economic machine, the rest of the world was basically conservative. People liked things the way they were; they didn't want their lives turned upside down by the free market.
And this is an argument against American style capitalism? Anything that manages to upset big industrialists, labor unions, Greens and communists is something that should be expanded, not scaled back. Real "change" is supporting capitalism -- Obama is the defender of the established interests.

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