Overlooked in the jubilation of Mitt Romney’s TKO of the Master of the Forked Tongue were his comments regarding his pledge to repeal the Dodd-Frank bill, the 2010 law that overhauled the oversight of the financial industry.
Said Romney, “Regulation is essential. You can’t have a free market work without regulation.” Really? I guess I need to go back and study up on my von Mises. I thought a free market — at least a true free market (i.e., a laissez faire market) — is a market without regulation.
But if there were no regulations, wouldn’t greedy capitalists crush all us little guys? Quite the opposite. A free market is the most powerful regulator on the planet. Major corporations are the ones who love regulations, because they stifle upstarts like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos.
MittMan went on to say, “At the same time, regulation can become excessive, it can become out of date. And what’s happened with some of the legislation that’s been passed under President Obama’s term is you’ve seen some of the regulation become excessive and it has hurt the economy.”
All good thoughts, Mitt. But the problem is that the word excessive is subjective. So it always gets down to politicians deciding which regulations are reasonable and which ones are excessive.
And the result is that during the first three years of Obama’s term, the Code of Federal Regulations has increased by 11,327 pages. It’s a book that never shrinks in size; it only gets larger. Which means that politicians obviously don’t see all those new rules as excessive.
Aside from their chief purpose in life, which is accumulating as much power as possible, the two main jobs of politicians are to redistribute wealth and regulate behavior. And the facts clearly show that they continually move the “excessive” bar higher so it doesn’t get in the way of their endless thirst to increase their power over both individuals and businesses.
Being the soft touch I am, when you catch me in the right mood, I might concede that you need some rules and regulations if your objective is to live in a society that is reasonably safe and orderly. But a Ron Paul or Gary Johnson would cut those rules and regulations to the bone. And, as a result, we’d all be happier and better off.
In this regard, I was gratified — and surprised — that a new Fox News poll showed that 54 percent of Americans would like the government to leave them alone, while only 35 percent would like government to “lend them a hand.” Such polls are a threat to my cynicism.
At age sixty-five, Willard Mitt Romney appears to be trying hard to evolve into a free-market capitalist, and he may just make some serious headway with Paul Ryan at his side. But his biggest challenge is to stop saying things like “Regulation is essential.”
It’s okay to believe that a bit of regulation is essential, but it’s not necessary to say it. It makes those of us who are leery of your true beliefs wince.
As Robert Shaw repeatedly asked in The Sting, “Ya folla?”
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ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron's, and The New York Times.
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