Is Obama the Next FDR?
By Bryan Caplan
Barack Obama is one of the most liberal members of the Senate. His
reaction to the financial crisis is to blame deregulation. He even
leverages fear of deregulation onto other issues. For example, Sen.
John McCain wants to allow consumers to buy health insurance across
state lines. Mr. Obama likens this to the financial deregulation that
he alleges got us into the current mess.
But a President Obama would also enjoy large Democratic majorities
in Congress. His party might even win a 60-seat, filibuster-proof
majority in the Senate, giving him more power than any president has
had in decades to push a liberal agenda. And given the opportunity, Mr.
Obama will likely radically increase government interference in the
Until now, this election has been fought on the margins, over
marginal issues. But it is important to understand how much a
presidential candidate wants to move the needle on taxes, trade and
other issues. Usually there isn’t a chance for wholesale change. Now,
however, it appears that this election will make more than a marginal
difference. It might fundamentally change America.
Unlike FDR, Mr. Obama will not have to create the mechanisms
government uses to interfere with the economy before imposing his
policies. FDR had to get the Supreme Court to overturn a century’s
worth of precedents limiting the power of government before he could
use the Constitution’s commerce clause, among other things, to increase
government control of the economy. Mr. Obama will have no such problem.
I take Paul’s warning seriously. But is it time, in Kent Brockman’s words, “to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?” I don’t think so. I still give the Obama=FDR scenario only a 15% probability. If Paul’s probability is substantially higher, I’m amenable to a friendly wager on the future of economic freedom in America. Either way, Paul wins!
HT: Corina Caplan