Over the weekend, one of the hot media stories was that Obama's popularity is rising in the midst of scandals. See, there's no problem. America has been effectively politicized and divided, and this is good news to media and the political class. Progressive have criticized those who promote limited government and a free market because they are focused on economics. The political class accuses the Austrian types of assigning economic motives to everyone.
Mises, the main Austrian economist, never made this claim. What Mises claimed is in stark contrast to what his critics say he claimed. Mises said economics is the study of human action. In a free market, individuals interact in many diverse ways, with cooperation being the main link that makes it all work. Like the human body with all its diverse parts, it's the cooperation between the parts that makes the body work as it does. When there is no meddling, a free society whose rights are protected by the rule of law works together, makes progress and solves problems which cause friction. I'm simplifying for the purpose of a blog post to make a point. Read Mises' Human Action.
In our statist system, government meddling breaks society apart, dividing the country in two politically. Government interventions are creating high unemployment, but the State is satisfied giving food stamps and unemployment checks, or giving disability benefits. Unemployment harms those who want to be a part of, want to produce and be active. Those working below their abilities feel demeaned. Those who work part time are worried about their jobs, especially as government interventions in healthcare cause small business layoffs or closings.
Government is meddling in energy production and the money supply, causing high gas prices. The artificial suppression of interest rates hurts those who wish to save. Government meddling hurts Americans in thousands of different ways, but mainly through interference in cooperation between individuals. This is not a new problem. Government interference in the economy has been going on for close to a hundred years, but now the accumulated consequences are threatening the existence of the nation. America's people were so good at cooperating and producing, it took a long time to finally break enough bonds to cripple the nation. Another empire is about to collapse.
But what does media and the political class discuss? They discuss popularity polls, and they look to a stock market manipulated by the Federal Reserve to the benefit of government cronies and say that all is well. Yes, as long Obama is popular and the stock market is rising, who cares about Americans out of work, the lack of cooperative production/innovation/creativity or all broken ties in society?