Shortly after reading about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s economic speech in Chicago, I decided to read the address itself and see if a word search confirmed my hypothesis that the GOP presidential frontrunner emphasized the word, “freedom.” Sure, enough the word,”freedom” occurred 32 times, (30 not counting the titles) in the prepared text.
This “word cloud” shows you just how central the word is to this man’s economic ideas:
Now, to be sure, this cloud does show that Mr. Romney also used the word, “government” a good deal (17 times by my browser’s count), but mostly to criticize state intervention in the economy:
The government does not create prosperity; free markets and free people do.
For three years, President Obama has expanded government instead of empowering the American people. He’s put us deeper in debt. He’s slowed the recovery and harmed our economy. And he has attacked the cornerstone of American prosperity: our economic freedom.
In response to these attacks, the Republican was going to tell us “why economic freedom is so critical – and how” he would “restore it in order to get our economy growing again”. He found that the ideal of liberty distinguished American culture:
But one feature of our culture that propels the American economy stands out: freedom.
The American economy is fueled by freedom.
Free people and their free enterprises are what drive our economic vitality.
He went on to detail some of the damage regulators do and took the incumbent to task for the crony capitalism he practices:
. . . the Obama assault on economic freedom is not limited to actions against individuals and enterprises; it extends to its intrusion upon the free marketplace itself. When government rather than the market routinely selects the winners and losers, enterprises cannot predict their prospects, and free enterprise is replaced with crony capitalism.
. . . .
When the heavy hand of government replaces the invisible hand of the market, economic freedom is the inevitable victim.
Now, the speech lacked specifics, but it did a very Reaganite theme, a strong criticism of state intervention and a trust in the individual, the hard-working and far-seeing entrepreneur:
My agenda takes America in the right direction. It preserves freedom. It encourages risk and innovation. It fosters competition. It allows Americans to pursue happiness as they choose – and will lead to greater opportunity.
. . . .
We must elect a President who puts his faith in free people, in free enterprises – and in the founding principles that made this country the greatest nation in history.
Quite a contrast from the incumbent who puts in faith in federal spending and Washington bureaucrats. Whatever his faults on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney is at least (and at last) sounding the right tone. Should he win this fall, let’s hope Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan helps him craft policies consistent with his campaign rhetoric.