by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Edward Lazear explains at National Review Online that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden offers the wrong prescription for helping America’s poor.
President Trump and former vice president Biden have different visions of the country’s future. President Trump, during a recent event in Wisconsin, charged, “Joe Biden is just a Trojan horse for socialism.” Although it is unlikely that a President Biden would turn the U.S. into a socialist state, Mr. Biden has made it all too credible that he will move the country leftward if elected president. He stated in early July, “It’s way past time to put an end to the era of shareholder capitalism.” He chose as his running mate Kamala Harris, who has the most liberal voting record in the Senate. He joined with self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders to issue “Unity Task Force Recommendations,” which Mr. Sanders describes by saying, “If those task force proposals are implemented, you know what, Joe Biden will become the most progressive president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.” Who would benefit from the more progressive agenda that is suggested by Mr. Biden’s actions and words?
Advocates of free-market capitalism extol the growth that the system produces and its freedom of choice over work and consumption. Detractors protest that capitalism is harsh and leaves too many behind. The market ignores hardships that afflict normal people through no fault of their own.
The issue is primarily an empirical one. Do market economies grow faster than those with a heavier governmental footprint, and if so, do the poor benefit sufficiently as those economies grow? My recent research suggests that market economies generate substantially higher living standards for the poor than do government-dominated systems A country’s lowest earners fare best when markets are allowed to work, when the means of production are privately owned, and when government’s role in economic activity is limited.