When government takes it upon itself to be the ally of business, certain biases often take over. For instance, existing industries have a huge advantage over ones that haven't been created yet. A more obvious bias is toward big companies over small ones. Big companies create constituencies and can afford lobbyists to make their case. Moreover, big business becomes a tempting vehicle for other policies like, say, providing health care. And why not: When government is scratching business' back, why shouldn't business return the favor?
There's a reason the White House named Jeff Immelt, chief executive of GE, to head its jobs council. CEOs of giant corporations are so much more pleasant to work with for government officials than all those small businesses with their bumpkin bosses, who just happen to create most of the new jobs.
Indeed, big corporations are enjoying record profits under Obama, but as Romney noted, "New business start-ups -- and that's normally where we get job growth after a recession -- ... are down to the lowest level in 30 years." He needs to follow that train of thought.
In fairness to Romney, much of his rhetoric is very pro-free market and does draw a sharp contrast with Obama's crony capitalism. But then he'll hit one of those off-key notes and cause some to worry whether he's just saying the other stuff because that's what his advisors say he should say.
And that brings us to the third problem. What if Romney wins? A technocrat, he excels at accomplishing very specific tasks by getting deep into the numbers and listening to the best experts. That's great when it comes to turning around the Olympics or a fast-food chain. But that's also how he came up with "Romneycare."
A Romney White House that starts out saying "How can we help business?" would end up in a bad place, and so would America.
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