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President Bush -- In defense of free markets and capitalism

I couldn't let the workday end without giving President George W. Bush kudos for his fierce defense of free markets in a speech in New York yesterday — just days before the G20 Summit in Washington, DC on Saturday:

All this leads to the most important principle that should guide our work: While reforms in the financial sector are essential, the long-term solution to today's problems is sustained economic growth. And the surest path to that growth is free markets and free people.

President Bush also gave an impassioned defense of capitalism — in the face of those pointing to the the financial crisis as “a failure of capitalism”:

Like any other system designed by man, capitalism is not perfect. It can be subject to excesses and abuse. But it is by far the most efficient and just way of structuring an economy. At its most basic level, capitalism offers people the freedom to choose where they work and what they do, the opportunity to buy or sell products they want, and the dignity that comes with profiting from their talent and hard work. The free market system provides the incentives that lead to prosperity -- the incentive to work, to innovate, to save, to invest wisely, and to create jobs for others. And as millions of people pursue these incentives together, whole societies benefit.

Free market capitalism is far more than economic theory. It is the engine of social mobility -- the highway to the American Dream.

Sigh -- if only he had only mounted this defense — and carried through on it with policies — a lot earlier.