Letter to the Editor: U.S. Principles at Stake As Government Keeps Growing

Letter to the Editor: U.S. Principles at Stake As Government Keeps Growing

May 18, 2012
Originally published in Financial Times

Sir, Martin Wolf’s latest column ignores the wisdom of conservative commentator Stan Evans: “The problem with pragmatism is that it doesn’t work!” (“American power needs pragmatism”, May 16).

Mr Wolf decries “the rising intransigence of the Republican party”, dismissing the fact that principles are at stake in policy fights. And he says GOP obstructionism is less than meets the eye. This week, Congress reauthorised the mercantilist Export-Import Bank with strong Republican support. Despite the efforts of Tea Party-backed freshmen, government keeps growing.

Mr Wolf’s rebuke of “the exploding role of money in politics” rings hollow. Efforts to intimidate businesses to stop funding pro-free market organisations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, suggest that the real threat in America stems from a campaign to drive the market from the marketplace of ideas.

Wouldn’t Europe be in a much stronger position had it had a similarly vigorous debate on its financial crisis?

Mr Wolf seems to see economic changes in zero-sum terms, measuring only changes in income shares earned by various segments of the population, failing to recognise that many of those entrepreneurial gains are earned by newcomers.

The paths to the future carved out by these individuals will be critical in a world destabilised by pervasive government interventionist policies.

Mr Wolf warns: “If Americans choose to make their government fail, the US is sure to do so, too.” Americans have no desire to see our government fail, but we do wish to see it return to its appropriate sphere, as was intended by our founders.