Romney’s fib about the government role in creating prosperity

July 31, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In an interesting article about how conservatives have used and misused the insights of the economist Milton Friedman, Nicholas Wapshott (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-conservatives-misread-and-misuse-milton-friedman/2012/07/27/gJQAcrISEX_story.html) quotes Willard Mitt Romney’s statement about the roles of government and the private sector in creating prosperity:

Milton Friedman understood what, frankly, our president, President Obama, I don’t think has learned even after three years and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending. And that is: Government does not create prosperity. Free markets and free people create prosperity.”

Let’s think about that for a moment.  

The private sector can create wealth only when the infrastructure needed for its activities is in place.

Throughout American history the government has funded – either directly or by favorable taxation or by providing rights of way – roads, bridges, canals, railroads, security of property and of person, traffic laws, punishment of fraud, enforcement of contracts, stable currency, patents, educated (literate, numerate) job seekers, communications (including mail, email (invented by the Federal government, the Internet (likewise), GPS (likewise), food safety laws, and many other things that – from George Washington on – have been seen as ways of promoting commerce.  

The US would not be a developed, unified country without continent-spanning transport and communication.  
For each of the items above, government – Federal or state or local – has been the only way of establishing – or encouraging the private sector to establish – a sufficient amount of each type of infrastructure.

Right now, pause and consider what your life – including your ability to find work, go to work, and buy and sell – would be if even one of the items listed above were not available.

Anyone who thinks about it knows this.  Every high schooler knows this.  Willard Mitt Romney went to business school, so he knows this.  But his words ignore it.

If we credit his sincerity, we cannot credit his intelligence.  If we credit his intelligence, we cannot credit his sincerity.

Based on his education and his success in business finance, I think that we must credit his intelligence but not his sincerity.

Willard Mitt Romney speaks with a forked tongue.

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