Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Epstein deconstructs Obama

Richard Epstein, a Fellow at the Hoover Institute and a member of the Property Rights, Freedom, and Prosperity Task Force, is a leading libertarian legal and economics scholar and, of course, a vocal critic of Obama's legal and economic worldview.  In his most recent article for the HI, Epstein lays bare Obama's immature and narrcistic attitude towards economic behavior.  Consider this slice, for example:
The President’s speech at Knox College needs some close deconstruction because it sheds harsh light on a problem that has dogged his domestic policy agenda from the beginning: intellectual rigidity. The President, who has never worked a day in the private sector, has no systematic view of the way in which businesses operate or economies grow. He never starts a discussion by asking how the basic laws of supply and demand operate, and shows no faith that markets are the best mechanism for bringing these two forces into equilibrium.
And in this excerpt, Epstein not only continues his attack on Obama's economic ignorance, but in so doing, displays his superior ability to concisely and clearly present subtle economic ideas:
Unfortunately, our President rules out deregulation or lower taxes as a way to unleash productive forces in the country. Indeed, he is unable to grasp the simple point that the only engine of economic prosperity is an active market in which all parties benefit from voluntary exchange. Both taxes and regulation disrupt those exchanges, causing fewer exchanges to take place—and those which do occur have generated smaller gains than they should. The two-fold attraction of markets is that they foster better incentives for production as they lower administrative costs. Their comparative flexibility means that they have a capacity for self-correction that is lacking in a top-down regulatory framework that limits wages, prices, and the other conditions of voluntary exchange.
There is an awful lot more of value in Epstein's article.  As always, if Epstein wrote it, I recommend reading it! (HT: Cafe Hayek).