Missing the Point of the Free Enterprise Campaign
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Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden's chief economic advisor, is apparently upset about the U.S. Chamber's new Campaign for Free Enterprise. The Hill quoted him as saying "that group [the Chamber] is missing the point...to have ignored those problems because of an ideology like this group is espousing would have been a tremendous mistake, resigning this economy and American families to far deeper economic pain than has actually occurred." I believe that it is Mr. Bernstein who is both missing the point and forgetting (perhaps willfully) recent history.
The Chamber was a forceful advocate for passage of the TARP program, President Obama's stimulus bill, and other short-term solutions to the recession. We understand that extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures and have appreciated and fully supported the administration's efforts in a number of areas, including the early assistance given to the auto industry.
But to suggest that "no one is talking about changing the structure of the economy" is misleading at best. Our ideology, as Mr. Bernstein would call it, is simple. We believe that it is free enterprise--the freedom to succeed through hard work, risk taking, and innovation--that has made this country the envy of the world, not regular government intervention. We also believe that preserving this system is essential to the future prosperity and happiness of working men and women and their children. We plan to do all we can to remind and educate the American people about the fundamental principles of our free market economy, as well as how this system has the ability to solve many of the challenges we face as a nation.
That's why the U.S. Chamber--which represents millions of businesses small and large--is launching the Campaign for Free Enterprise, and that's the case we will make to the American people, whether Mr. Bernstein likes it or not.