Victor Davis Hanson talked economy on Friday. He goes through a litany of problems and attempted fixes and then writes:
In short, something has gone fundamentally wrong with the U.S. economy.
So, what to do? Well, Hanson has a good economic prescription, but when you talk about things being “fundamentally” wrong, you have to ask about the intangibles as well as the tangibles. When he discusses how cheap money is and how low the cost of energy – factors that can usually buoy an economy over pretty liberal policy – one has to wonder. There is something else missing. People need confidence to borrow money. They need hope and vision to put the money they borrow to good use. Confidence, hope, vision – these are things policy can at best encourage, but it cannot produce. People must have the seeds of these things in them or no policy will help.
One could argue that the overbearing nature of the Obama administration strangles vision, and you’d have a point. It does feel like any innovation will be quickly surrounded by regulatory burden, but still it seems like something deeper is at play. Good innovation has overcome such obstacles in the past. One could argue that the “helicopter parenting” so prevalent these days has made a generation so risk averse that they would rather live in their parent’s basement than buy a home. But really helicopter parenting is a phenomena limited to the middle and upper-middle class. All it does is create opportunities for others to take the risk and do better – but they are not taking advantage.
Yes, we need to improve policy, but something is broken in the spirit of the nation. We need the seeds of vision, hope and confidence. Until we fix that, better policy can only accomplish so much. Continue Reading