That should have been the headline on George W. Bush’s op/ed in today’s Wall Street Journal. The title the Journal gave it is “The Surest Path Back to Prosperity.” And the decline (that’s the line underneath the title that sums up the article) is a quote from his article. Are you ready? Bush actually has the gall to say, “If you seek economic growth, social justice and human dignity, the free-market system is the way to go.”

The article is actually well-written, except for the line, “There’s going to be difficult days ahead.” No surprise that, given the large army of writers Bush has whom we pay for. But I mean more than that. It’s passionately argued as if by someone who believes what he’s saying.

But Bush doesn’t and, even if the actual writer(s) does (do), he/they are working for the wrong guy. We’ve seen over almost eight years George Bush’s hostility towards free markets. First, with the USA PATRIOT Act, he increased financial regulation. Second, he nationalized airport security. Sure the Democrats wanted it and he didn’t, but that didn’t stop him from going along. Then he nationalized prescription drugs for seniors. Then, of course, the bailout–a huge dose of central planning in financial markets. George Bush put a huge amount of power in the hands of one man, Hank Paulsen, who has what Friedrich Hayek called “the fatal conceit,” the conceit that he could plan people’s financial lives with their money better than they can plan with their own money.

Bush’s op/ed is based on a speech he gave this week at the Manhattan Institute. There are a lot of good people there, many of whom understand the virtues of free markets. Did any of them ask him how, in light of his speech, he justified any of his assaults on economic freedom?