Hoover Institute's Epstein: Obama's Idea of Capitalism 'Skewed'

Thursday, 29 Aug 2013 06:42 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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President Barack Obama's ideas about capitalism and employment are skewed and "double down on failure," according to Richard Epstein, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

"He opposes individuals who believe that high taxes and extensive regulation have accounted for some of our failures," Epstein told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"He thinks that a higher minimum wage law will keep the same levels of employment and just transfer the dollars."

Story continues below.

Epstein, whose organization is an American public policy think tank located at Stanford University in California, said the president equates capitalism with greed.

"Every time he starts talking about [stock] markets, the next word out of his mouth is the word 'greed.' And, of course, markets don't work by greed. Greedy people don't get trading partners," he said.

"Markets operate because there are individuals out there who provide others a service that they value more than the cash that they have to acquire it."

"He has such a powerful prior conception that what it does is it kills innovation, drives foreign entrepreneurs away from our shores, shrinks our productive base, and leaves us in a situation where, essentially, we are poorer now by a very substantial amount than we would've been if he'd had more open market policies for the last five years."

Epstein was not impressed with the president’s remarks during the 50th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King’s "I have a dream" speech.

"One of the difficulties of the civil rights movement has is how to reinvent itself after its own successes in getting rid of barriers," he said.

"[Obama] seems to think … [a] strong minimum wage, various kinds of government interventions and guarantees … are necessary to make good on that earlier promise.

"If you actually look at labor markets today we're ripe with protections and yet the levels of black teenage unemployment are higher today than they were at the time when Martin Luther King spoke and indeed higher than they were in 1954, at the height of segregation.

"What he has to do is to try to figure out how to grow the pie and you can't grow a pie by having a divisive speech which again attacks the top 1 percent for being successful, as if their failure will somehow or another will improve the lives of everybody else."

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