There aren't any.
"As the world recovers, we will face a temptation to replace the risk-and-reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control. History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much."
- George W. Bush, November 2009
At a fundraising event for his presidential library last week, former President George W. Bush warned that too much government intervention in the economy could hinder a recovery. He also expressed concern over what he sees as the Obama administration’s drift toward protectionism.
It’s nice to know that the former President is out there on the chicken dinner circuit defending limited government and free-market economics. It would have been nicer if he had done that from the Oval Office for those eight long years. Instead, while in office President Bush presided over record federal spending, massively increased the regulatory state, bailed out failing companies, levied protectionist tariffs on imported steel, helped fuel the real estate bubble, and signed into law a government prescription drug plan that represented the largest entitlement expansion since the creation of Medicare itself.
Now that former President Bush is safely out of power, however, he’s rediscovered the value of free market principles – the same free market principles he abandoned in order to "save the free market". Nice. Mr. Bush’s speech offers a shining example of a long-standing libertarian criticism of Republicans. Whenever they’re out of power, they talk like libertarians (on economic issues, anyway). But as soon as they’re back in power, they govern like Democrats.
This is not to say that Bush’s comments at the fundraiser were wrong. He’s quite correct that President Obama’s massive government intervention in the economy will have detrimental effects over the long run. But it takes an extraordinary degree of chutzpah for George W. Bush to level those criticisms at Obama given the fact that it was Bush who initiated many of the destructive policies he suddenly finds so troubling. One might argue that the current administration’s policies outstrip those of the Bush administration in their scope and degree, but it’s hard to identify any serious substantive differences between the two when it comes to the economy.
Go here to read the whole thing. It's worth the trip.
Here's the last paragraph, just in case I haven't convinced you....
There is another approach, however. Instead of arguing over numbers (one trillion or two?), we could debate fundamental principles of just law and proper governance. But that would require the key players to have identifiable principles in the first place, which is obviously too much to ask from the likes of Bush or Obama. From what I can tell, only the libertarians are ready for that kind of discussion.
Unless you hit one of the links, you'll never, ever know which iconic 1980 album cover Stephen chose to illustrate his post.