Is Government the only solution?
I’ve spent my life in many places, with one of the longest tenures being Edina, Minnesota. We have a bold, talented, and intrepidly liberal Senator named Al Franken. Until recently, he was best known as a comedy writer, comedian, and social commentator. While I’m solidly in the “conservative” political ranks, I don’t consider myself an ideologue (some might disagree). I respect sincere and honest ideologues, even if I disagree vehemently. Franken is truly a sincere ideologue.
Franken recently wrote an article in which he tried to “squash” opposing, conservative ideas. While most conservatives agree with Franken that there is an important role for government, Franken seems to leave no room for any market based solutions (i.e. conservative ideas) for economic problems.
President Reagan said: “Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, ‘What greater service we could render, if only we had a little more money and a little more power.’ But, the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.” In spite of my liberal Keynesian education (BA in Economics), I have long ago stopped thinking of the government as the center of wisdom and the best at delivering solutions. So, I mostly agree with Reagan’s observations.
Franken’s article, “Republican plan means nothing good for you,” offers insight for analyzing differences in conservative and liberal thinking. His central message is that Republican congressional actions have absolutely no redeeming features. He describes Republican ideas using terms like: long-term toll, shrink opportunities, cuts, stagnate, burden, inequality, force, stripping, risky, vulnerable, saddled, threaten, fend for yourself, endanger, wrongheaded, slashes . . . Franken’s ranting is class warfare and demagoguery at its “finest.”
Franken’s message makes clear that if it’s a government initiative, it must be good. Almost anything not cloaked in a regulated government program, he seems to summarily dismiss. My personal vision does include an important role for government, but the Senator leaves no room for my faith in the private economy.
I actually agree with the Senator when he states: “The problem with expanding inequality is not that those at top are making spectacular gains; it’s that almost everyone else is seeing their income stagnate.” Correct! But that’s where we part company. He would say that economic “stagnation” for some is because of too little government investment—but I would say it’s actually time to leave valuable basic programs in place while returning tax dollars to the private economy where all economic classes can benefit from true growth!
If inequality is the problem and growth the solution, Franken would believe growth will follow from redistributive policies to reduce inequality. But the better, conservative answer is: increased prosperity for all comes from market driven economic growth.
Senator, leave some breathing room for true free-market growth by throwing off the millstones from around our economy’s neck!