A recent letter attacked some people I respect and count as friends: Dave Barger, John McGinnis, Cheryl Rupp and Sharon Bream along with the tea party, but the only accusation seemed to be that they are radicals and linked with "Austrian economics." Sounds subversive, but is it?
While there may be many schools of economics, they really boil down to two: a planned economy or a free economy. Surely planned must be superior to unplanned ... well maybe; it all depends on what is being planned and who is doing it.
A business needs a plan, building a house needs a plan, and even a vacation might be better if some planning is done. But an economy is simply the aggregate of diverse people going about the business of making a living: building, creating, growing, selling and buying things, along with all sorts of services from health care to entertainment.
In a free economy, people succeed by developing products and skills that others want and selling them on an open market and where prices are determined by the buyers and sellers. Billions of decisions occur everyday, and nobody could possibly track all of it. Success is based on service.
Opposing this is the planned economy, dominated by those who think they know what things ought to be worth - whether it's a ton of steel, a bag of peanuts or an hour of your labor - and how much of these ought to be made. Endowed with this supposed moral and intellectual superiority, they get themselves into positions where they can use the coercive arm of government to force others to comply. The road to success here is through cronyism, and results in the impoverishment of everyone else.
The free economy is a moral, as well as a practical goal that may not be reached perfectly, yet history shows that where it is even partially achieved, great success follows.
Letting people do what they actually want to do and enjoy the fruit of their labor is a founding principle of this country and needs to be defended.
The four named people stand accused for favoring the latter. To the profligate, responsibility seems radical.