Obama and the free market


Says Barack Obama:

I believe that America's free market has been the engine of America's great progress. It's created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It's led to a standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery.

Very well said. But if well done is better that well said, why did he:

  • 1) Vote against the Central American Free Trade Agreement?
  • 2) Advocate raising minimum wage?
  • 3) Attack Hillary for her support of NAFTA in the 1990s?
  • 4) Vote for, and attack Bush and McCain for opposing, the recent farm bill, which would increase subsidies by $20bn, make the government buy sugar at twice the world price, and give subsidies to farmers with incomes of up to $1.5 million per year? (See here and here).
  • 5) Propose raising the capital gains tax?
  • 6) Advocate fair, not free trade, which will halt the rapid economic growth in poor and industrialising nations?

If the free market is the engine of economic prosperity, why hit the brakes and turn off the vehicle? The enlarging free-trade block in Europe, British economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s, economists across the world, and the end of the cold war, all show what Adam Smith said in the first place — that the invisible hand, not central government, should guide our economies.