2012 Battlelines

At Politco, Nicholas Wapshott argues that the 2012 election, no matter who the GOP nominates, will really be a contest between John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek, two of the most consequential economists of all time.

Wapshott is half right. Of course, as these pages have argued for some time now, the GOP seems wedded to the profoundly un-Christian ideas of the Austrian school of economics led by Hayek. And, President Obama is a Keynesian to be sure. But, the argument will not play out in terms of competing economic visions. The political debate shifts quickly to a discussion of the value of government. Democrats concede that the market is a good thing, but argue it needs to be regulated and its results adjusted to achieve social justice. They want markets with government. But, the Republicans argue government is always a problem, and that the market should be left alone. The challenge for the Democrats is to appear as champions of a strong government that looks out for the little guy, not for big government per se, and to point out, ad nauseum, that the market has not been kind to most middle class workers for decades.

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