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From Cleveland, Ohio, Obama issued forth this week with renewed vigor. Media plaudits notwithstanding, the president’s words were either inane or simply insane.

An instance of “insane” was Obama’s professed fealty to a “lean and efficient government.” The trillion-dollar deficit man declared: “I believe government should leave people free to make the choices they think are best for themselves and their families, so long as those choices don’t hurt others.”

On the sly side was the president’s confession that he was propelled to run for president “because for much of the last decade, a very specific governing philosophy had reigned about how America should work. … The idea was that if we just had blind faith in the market, if we let corporations play by their own rules, if we left everyone else to fend for themselves that America would grow and America would prosper.”

Evidently, Oprah’s backing and naked ambition had nothing to do with Barack Obama’s selfless ride to the nation’s rescue; it was the philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism, RIP.

Not for nothing did Ayn Rand call capitalism “the unknown ideal.” This ideal has not been practiced in the U.S. for a very long time. It is a fable that George W. Bush was an unfettered capitalist.

“Laissez-faire capitalism,” explains economist George Reisman, “has a definite meaning, which is totally ignored, contradicted, and downright defiled” by the likes of the president and his predecessor.

It “is a politico-economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and in which the powers of the state are limited to the protection of the individual’s rights against the initiation of physical force. This protection applies to the initiation of physical force by other private individuals, by foreign governments, and, most importantly, by the individual’s own government. This last is accomplished by such means as a written constitution, a system of division of powers and checks and balances, an explicit bill of rights, and eternal vigilance on the part of a citizenry with the right to keep and bear arms. Under laissez-faire capitalism, the state consists essentially just of a police force, law courts, and a national defense establishment, which deter and combat those who initiate the use of physical force. And nothing more.”

Under Laissez-faire capitalism, the government plays an extremely limited role. The individual is free to dispose of this own income as he wishes ─ all of it. Laissez-faire capitalism brooks no “corporate and individual income taxes, inheritance and capital gains taxes, nor social security and Medicare taxes.” A revenue tariff is all that is required to support this limited authority.

“There are presently 15 federal cabinet departments,” reminds Prof. Reisman, “nine of which exist for the very purpose of respectively interfering with housing, transportation, health care, education, energy, mining, agriculture, labor, and commerce, and virtually all of which nowadays routinely ride roughshod over one or more important aspects of the economic freedom of the individual.”

Were these departments not extant during the Bush years? What about the alphabet soup of federal agencies and commissions, “the most well-known of which include, besides the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the FBI and CIA, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH and NASA”? Were the unelected mandarins who man these massive bureaucracies remiss in managing our lives during the Bush era? With the exception of a compact FBI, none of these departments would persist under laissez-faire capitalism.

And, of course, to all of this must be added the further massive apparatus of laws, departments, agencies and regulations at the state and local level. Under laissez-faire capitalism, these too for the most part would be completely abolished and what remained would reflect the same kind of radical reductions in the size and scope of government activity as those carried out on the federal level.

Obama’s people have added 2,000 pages to the Federal Register. But during the years of Bush’s alleged buccaneering capitalism, there were still a “respectable” 73,000 pages of government regulations. “Under laissez-faire capitalism,” writes Prof. Reisman, “there would be no Federal Register. The activities of the remaining government departments and their subdivisions would be controlled exclusively by duly enacted legislation, not the rule-making of unelected government officials.”

The president can claim superiority of spending in as much as his rule has gobbled up almost $64 of every $100 of output, compared to Bush’s meager $40 out of $100. But Bush branched out ─ growing government by embarking on globe-girdling wars, and fostering the million-man, submerged, secretive, security state apparatus. All told, confirms the Cato Institute, Bush’s spending rate was even higher than Lyndon Johnson’s.

Says Bruce Bartlett, author of “Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy”: “Right from the beginning George W. Bush made it clear that he was not a conservative in the Reagan mold. In a speech in Indianapolis on July 22, 1999, he called the idea that our problems would be better solved if government would just get out of the way a ‘destructive mindset.’ Government is ‘wasteful and grasping,’ Bush said, but ‘we must correct it, not disdain it.’”

Obama is delusional – although no more so than the authors of the many books whose principal point is to establish the president as America’s sole destroyer-in-chief.

Bush was Barack’s Republican soul mate.

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