Unreality on the Left - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Unreality on the Left

At times–many times, actually–it appears that Right and Left live in parallel universes.  Take Al Hunt, for example, a long-time Wall Street Journal staffer now at Bloomberg.  He finds fault with Republican criticism of Barack Obama’s drive to turn over not just the American economy but American society to the government.  No surprise there.  Hunt, a thoroughly likable character, long has been advocating more expansive and expensive government.  However, Hunt’s argument is that we are in the economic mess today because, apparently, we just lived through a horrid period when Milton Friedman was in charge.

Argued Hunt:

Yet most of the carping is either irresponsible — a business news cable network demagogically sought to frighten people — or the same old stale alternatives: more tax cuts for the wealthy, smaller government and more deregulation. It’s as if the last eight years have been expunged.

There’s a lot of blame for today’s economic mess to go around, but when over the last eight years did we see smaller government and deregulation?  It was a time of unprecedent spending increases, punctuated by the biggest expansion in the welfare state in four decades and continued centralization of power in Washington.  Some Lefties even talk about the time of laissez faire, as if the IRS, SEC, Federal Reserve, FTC, Justice Department, Treasury Department, OSHA, FCC, FDA, Department of Labor, Comptroller of the Currency, multitude of other alphabet federal agencies, and host of state and local bodies didn’t exist.

Indeed, it would be nice if Hunt & Co. would explain how the worst excesses of government which did so much to create and exacerbate the housing crisis represented “smaller government and more deregulation.”  You know, like the expansive Fed monetary policy, congressional pressure on banks to lend in poor neighborhoods irrespective of creditworthiness through the Community Reinvestment Act, and appallingly irresponsible financial behavior of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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