08 November 2010

Who Should Drive the Car?

President Obama, among many other Liberals, has repeatedly likened the economy to driving a car.  The use of this metaphor reveals a serious misunderstanding on the part of the user.

Mr. Obama and his supporters, in order to cast blame on Republican lawmakers, state that the GOP drove the economic car into a ditch and therefore cannot be trusted with the keys.  The choice implied - the only choice available in our political system - is to leave the keys in Democrat (read: Liberal) hands.  But what the use of this metaphor shows is a fundamental misunderstanding of free-market economy.  By using this metaphor, Mr. Obama assumes that the government must be in the driver's seat.  That he and other Liberals repeatedly use this metaphor suggests that the assumption of government as economic driver is a fundamental one.  It is not, say, a conclusion reached, but rather a basis from which to develop policy.

Private parties, not the government, should be in the economic driver's seat.  The government's proper role is to set the "rules of the road", so to speak, and those rules should not direct the economy (as was done in home mortgage lending, for instance) but rather make it fairly safe for participants on all of the given highways and side streets.

No comments: