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Annoying platitude of the day, part II

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 21, 2008 10:35 PM

Yes, it’s becoming a series.

The latest installment of Annoying Platitude Of The Day surfaced in the Democrat debate and has also been plied mindlessly by Republican candidates. John McCain is a repeat offender.

The Annoying Platitude Of The Day is this phrase: “Managing the economy.” Liberal reporters keep asking: Which candidate is best equipped to “manage the economy?” What will you do to “manage the economy?” And candidates in both parties keep answering without challenging the premise of the question.

Presidents do not “manage the economy.” No single individual is endowed with enough wisdom and power to “manage the economy.”

How pathetic is it that we don’t have a single candidate running for president who can clearly articulate the strength of free enterprise and the awesome power of the invisible hand?

John Stossel elaborates:

The presidential candidates have been repeatedly asked how they would “manage the economy.” With the exception of Ron Paul, every candidate has accepted the premise that this is something the president of the United States should do.

Or can do.

Democrats act like the president is national economic manager. Republicans pay lip service to free markets, tax and spending cuts, and less regulation — before proposing big programs to achieve “energy independence,” job training and a cooler climate…

…Sen. Hillary Clinton told The New York Times recently, “I want to get back to the appropriate balance of power between government and the market. You try to find common ground, insofar as possible. But if you really believe you have to manage the economy, you have to stake a lot of your presidency on it.”

Notice that she equates government power and market power. That is absurd. “Power” in a free market means success at creating goods and services that your fellow human beings voluntarily choose to buy. Government power is force: the ability to fine and imprison people.

Politicians who talk about managing the economy ignore the fact that, strictly speaking, there is no economy. There are only people producing, buying and selling goods and services. Keep that in mind, and one realizes that government action more often than not interferes with the productive activities that benefit everyone. When politicians propose regulations to fix some problem, they should ask if some earlier intervention created the problem and if the new regulations will make things worse. The answer to both questions is usually yes.

The economy is far too complex for any president — no matter how smart — to manage. How can politicians and bureaucrats possibly know what hundreds of millions of individuals know, want and aspire to? How can government employees fathom what trade-offs to make in a world of scarce resources?

They can’t. That’s why free people are more prosperous than unfree people.

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Categories: 2008 campaign, 2012 Campaign, Barack Obama, John McCain