Voluntary Mandates

I keep hearing Republicans propose the same things as Democrats for the economy–only on a “voluntary” basis. Let’s get real here. The minute a government official or presidential candidate says, “You business people better get together and serve the public as I want it to be served,” business has ended and politics has begun. We should call it what it is.

If government bailouts of firms who use bad judgment lead to a rise in stock values the next day, and a continuing decline on subsequent days–and a rise in inflation and other economic woes as weeks and months go by–then, please, let’s recognize this as happening in a context of government management of the economy. I’m sick of government edicts resulting in a weaker economy over the long-run leading to calls for still more government controls in the short-run. By the way, we’re hearing increasing reports about the insolvency of Medicare as the economy weakens under the crush of government, and actual tax intake (even as rates go up) decrease the amount government has to spend. How will the government pay for universal health care when it can’t even pay for partially socialized medicine for the elderly? Taxes can only go so high, and we may see the day when a 100 percent tax rate isn’t enough. What then? And why will John McCain never ask this question of Obama-Hillary?

Government management of the economy has been the norm for a long time now. Despite this fact, the economy has heroically managed to survive and even thrive in various key respects, but early indicators now suggest we’re getting past that time. So which way do we go–towards the much more aggressive, command-and-control approach of economic coercion being proposed by Obama-Hillary and Barney Frank, and on a “voluntary” basis by John McCain? Or towards a systematic decontrol of the economy in which business is left alone and the market is allowed to flourish rather than to have to dance to the “voluntary” tune of politicians who don’t know the first thing about business … or much of anything, for that matter.