“This is not a distraction,” he said in a Monday news conference. “This is what this campaign is going to be about.”
Whether it’s a wise campaign strategy remains to be seen; it’s helpful, however, to remember what the free market is all about. In a seemingly unrelated essay on the ethics of organ donation, Reason magazine editor Matt Welch reminds us.
“Let’s remember for a second what markets originally were: locations where farmers could sell their wares,” he wrote. “Customers no longer had to waste time trekking to each individual farm, with its limited choice and noncompetitive pricing. Markets saved people time and money and increased their choice, while producers benefited from gathering customers in one place and focusing more on the areas where they were most competent.”
Welch is taking issue with another essayist’s claim that “Markets have come to govern our lives as never before.”
That’s not true, he says. In fact, the free market is a force for freedom. Markets offer choice — something that other economic systems and philosophies take away.
“It’s precisely because of markets, and the choice and prosperity they bring, that I don’t have my life governed by either markets or financial considerations,” he says. “I have turned down job offers with substantial raises, chosen to live in extremely high-tax cities, and donated money to nonprofits, including the one I work for.”
Let’s apply this to both Bain Capital and to the presidential race.
As Fox News is reporting, one of Obama’s top bundlers “is in fact a managing director at Bain who was an executive at the firm in 2001 at the time that GST Steel went bust. GST Steel is the firm at the center of Obama’s attacks on Romney, whom the campaign has dubbed a ‘vampire.’ Romney had left the firm two years before, so whom is Obama calling a bloodsucker?”
And The Hill is reporting that “President Obama raised far more cash from hedge fund and private equity donors than any other candidate in the 2008 election cycle. According to an analysis by the nonprofit group Open Secrets, Obama took in nearly $3.5 million from large private-equity donors that year — nearly twice what his general-election rival, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), pocketed.”
Obama was a little more transparent later in that press conference, when he explained that presidents don’t worry about profits.
“Your job as president is to think about how do we set up an equitable tax system so that everybody is paying their fair share, that allows us then to invest in science and technology and infrastructure, all of which are going to help us grow,” he said.
He doesn’t seem to understand that without markets, there’s nothing to tax, nothing to pay, and nothing to invest.