The Spectacle Blog

SOTU and the Great Statist Race

By on 1.27.11 | 6:47AM

Tim Carney takes Obama's greatest SOTU sin to task in the Examiner today, captured in this excerpt (with emphasis added):

Using capitalist buzzwords like "investment," Obama called for more government spending on research and continued government subsidy of "green" technology like solar panels and electric cars.

So it's not capitalism, but it's also not the "Marxism" with which many conservative pundits have charged Obama. You can call it corporate socialism or corporatism. ..

When liberal Democrats of the past called for this sort of managed economy in which business does the rowing while government steers, they often used expressions like, "the United States is the only Western nation that doesn't" support or control one industry or another. With American voters, such Europe-envy doesn't sell.

Obama has brilliantly framed the same vision the opposite way: We can't let China or Europe beat us on green energy or biotechnology! This touches our patriotic hearts and plays to our competitive spirit.

But it also undermines our free market and, in the long run, stultifies our economy. Rather than investors and entrepreneurs trying to anticipate and meet consumer demand, we now have GE or made-for-subsidy startups trying to lobby for and receive subsidies.

Obama's most glaring perversion is to employ the intimations of capitalism to match China and Europe in the Great Statist Race. Their windmill and solar panel schemes are no more market-driven than are those he conjures in the name of catching up to them. Europe mandates the things, and we do on a smaller sale, so China makes them, selling us all the rope we need to hang ourselves with and laughing all the way to the Glorious Peoples' Bank.

Obama is using the intimations of capitalism to pursue his admitted objective of 'fundamentally transforming America' into a land where decisions like what sort of energy you may use and how -- which ultimately means how much, and how efficient you can or cannot be -- are in the hands of the political class. Because you can't be trusted with freedoms. You might use them.

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