In the 1920s, New York Times reporter Walter Duranty infamously told us that Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin's New Economic Policy implemented elements of a market economy controlled by the state. An economic genius, Duranty was not. The fact that a market economy controlled by the state is an oxymoron apparently never occurred to him. Or maybe it did. Duranty also reported there was no ongoing genocide in Russia, even though he and his editors knew otherwise. Final body count: upward of 10 million, probably more.
For his quite-slanted reports, Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize: "Mr. Duranty's dispatches show profound and intimate comprehension of conditions in Russia and of the causes of those conditions. They are marked by scholarship, profundity, impartiality, sound judgment and exceptional clarity and are excellent examples of the best type of foreign correspondence." Duranty, by the way, considered Josef Stalin "a really great statesman."
You know how that Soviet economic experiment worked out. Apparently the bureaucrats at the Department of Energy, to say nothing of the occupant of the White House, missed that lesson in school. The federal government virtually never has done a better job than the private sector at anything, particularly in commerce. Do they even teach this truism anymore?
Despite history – and current events – many Americans buy into the notion that for good things to happen, the government needs to be involved, even in charge. How else can the private-sector bumpkins who made America the most prosperous nation on Earth possibly succeed?
Monday, January 23, 2012
Obama's Dazed, Durantyesque Debacle
Mark Landsbaum writes re the Solyndra affair: