From The Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn, Making Capitalism Great Again?
We can likewise haggle over Sen. Rubio’s specifics, such as whether American families stand to benefit more from tailored tax credits than from the economic growth that a flatter tax code and simplified filing system might encourage. Or whether wages tell the full story about how the American worker is faring. Or whether, as the senator claimed, the key to reinvigorating the “business innovation that delivered Americans to the Moon 50 years ago” is really . . . the Small Business Administration.
This kind of thing speaks to the larger objection: a want of modesty.
The track record of government tweaks to American capitalism isn’t encouraging: minimum wage laws that price workers out of jobs; subsidized student loans that inflate college tuition; welfare payments that help remove fathers from families. Often these tweaks end up hurting the very people they are supposed to help. The champions of the Great Society also supposed they were simply tweaking American capitalism. As President Lyndon Johnson said of food stamps, it “weds the best of the humanitarian instincts of the American people with the best of the free enterprise system.”
These interventions were not carried out by stupid people with bad intentions. To the contrary, they were implemented by some of our finest minds with the best of intentions.
So when Mr. Rubio and his allies complain that the high priests of capitalism dismiss his ideas out of hand, it isn’t because they believe him stupid or the market status quo incapable of improvements.
To the contrary, it’s because they don’t believe politicians recalibrating the tax code in the name of the common good will bring about the moral economy. It’s because they don’t believe technicians redirecting capital investment will work, or that it can be had with no costs or unintended consequences. Above all, it’s because they believe that trusting Washington to give us a new and improved capitalism by repurposing private companies to serve the priorities of the government rather than those of their owners requires a faith far greater than any ever demanded by the Lord.
An excellent response to capitalism’s newest reformers. Read the whole piece. For another from Kevin Williamson, read Marco Rubio’s Half Baked Political Philosophy and Jonah Goldberg’s Opponents of ‘Unfettered Capitalism’ Are Fighting a Phantom .