Instapundit Glenn Reynolds makes a telling connection. He leads with a quotation from former President Obama during the presidential campaign season while responding to Donald Trump’s promise to increase job creation and manufacturing within the United States:
“Well, how exactly are you going to do that? What exactly are you going to do? There’s no answer to it,” Obama said.
“He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, what, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is, he doesn’t have an answer.”
The news to which Reynolds links the reminder is this, from Bloomberg:
U.S. manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in three months, as gains in orders and production capped the strongest year for factories since 2004, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday. …
The figures suggest manufacturing strength will persist into early 2018, even after the ISM’s semi-annual survey of purchasing managers published last month showed factories anticipate growth in capital spending to slow this year. The December monthly poll was taken before President Donald Trump signed the tax legislation, which provides companies with incentives to invest more, Fiore said in an interview.
The most telling part of Obama’s rhetoric is the mention of a magic wand. Progressives think that government does things, and the world responds. Central planners inject resources here or there, and that produces a predictable reaction in the market. Look at Rhode Island’s Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo. How are we going to improve the economy? Well, we’ll find companies that the government experts believe will benefit the local market, and we’ll cut them special deals to move here. It is a magic wand, with the progressive wizards wielding the wand.
The free-market conservative approach isn’t so presumptuous. We assume that people want to be productive, create things, and make money, and so if we broadly make it cheaper and easier for them to do so, we expect that they will. We can’t really predict where in the market the slack will go, but we trust that freedom and individual initiative will put the resources where they will be most effective, given the actual conditions and interests of the area.