Barack Obama is both more left-wing and more right-wing than many people realize. A 15-year debate among economics experts in the Democratic Party helps explain why.
Obama’s views on the economy dovetail nicely with my own. It’s a nice fusion of free market laissez-faire economics and when necessary, “setting up a government program to address a market failure.”
[…] “The market is the best mechanism ever invented for efficiently allocating resources to maximize production,” Obama told me. “And I also think that there is a connection between the freedom of the marketplace and freedom more generally.” But, he continued, “there are certain things the market doesn’t automatically do.” In other words, free-market policy isn’t likely to dominate his agenda; his project would be fixing the market.
And it does seem to need fixing. For three decades now, the American economy has been in what the historian Sean Wilentz calls the Age of Reagan. The government has deregulated industries, opened the economy more to market forces and, above all, cut income taxes. Much good has come of this — the end of 1970s stagflation, infrequent and relatively mild recessions, faster growth than that of the more regulated economies of Europe. Yet laissez-faire capitalism hasn’t delivered nearly what its proponents promised. It has created big budget deficits, the most pronounced income inequality since the 1920s, and the current financial crisis. […]
This is a fairly long, in-depth piece analyzing Obama’s economic views, and it’s well worth the time to read.