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Governing Right Out of Atlas Shrugged

Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, published a hard-hitting op-ed in the Orange County Register over the weekend. It’s a timely follow-up to his viral 2009 Wall Street Journal column drawing parallels between the collapsing economy in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged and the chaotic world of Washington politics at the height of the financial crisis.

This past week I thought about the wisdom of Ayn Rand and the timelessness of her message when I saw Obama’s former treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, boasting on TV that he, and a few other smart people, had saved the U.S. economy from a second Great Depression in 2008-09. Mr. Geithner was saying that we had to violate nearly every principle of the free-enterprise system in order to save free enterprise.

It’s an amazing delusion: Five years later, with the economy contracting in the first quarter of the year, family incomes still lower today than in 2007, unemployment honestly measured at above 10 percent, 47 million Americans on food stamps, and the debt $6 trillion higher — that anyone would boast that the economy is on the right path.

In reality, the Bush-Obama policies have directly inhibited a normal recovery and put America in a deeper hole of debt.

The policy prescriptions we hear today are nearly imbecilic. The economy isn’t growing fast enough, so we should raise the minimum wage. Increase taxes on the rich and the producers by up to 80 percent, says the New York Times, and give the money to the nonproducers. Stop oil and gas drilling (the one sector of the economy that is working) and subsidize windmills. In Rand’s book, these very policies are given innocuous titles like the “anti-greed act,” but they only incite poverty and more havoc. Ms. Rand disparages the authors of these laws, and those who want to steal from those who have earned their wealth, as “looters.”

The whole article is well worth reading and available here.