"For Love of Neighbor" is a new documentary film offering a hopeful vision for Christian engagement in politics. Click here to learn more.

Arthur Brooks at CPAC: Reward the makers, not the takers

Over at the Enterprise blog, Jim Pethokoukis highlighted a section of the speech AEI President Arthur Brooks gave at CPAC on Thursday:
“For too long, President Obama and American liberals have claimed the moral high ground on fairness. Meanwhile, conservatives talk about economic growth rates and balanced budgets. People assume we don’t care about fairness. We can’t avoid the argument about fairness any longer—and we shouldn’t, because we can win it. It’s time to take back the definition of fairness, on behalf of America’s Founders, your ancestors, and ordinary Americans everywhere. It’s time to demand a fairer country, with fairer policies. In a fairer America, we will reject a tax code with special deals for crony corporations. We won’t bail out companies and individuals who made bad decisions and took foolish risks. Bureaucrats won’t get better pay and benefits than private sector workers. New and small businesses won’t have roadblocks thrown in their way. And we’ll stop stealing from our children by racking up ruinous deficits. In short, in a fairer America, we will reward the makers, not the takers. … We’re in the fight of our lifetimes for free enterprise. We’re in the fight of our lifetimes for America’s culture of freedom. That is not an economic battle. It is a moral battle. It must be won on moral terms, like fairness. President Obama understands this. He thinks we don’t. He’s counting on us to keep counting the sheep but walking off with the dog. We have the better definition of fairness. So take the fight to the redistributionists.”
Brooks is right. President Obama is certainly not shy about making economic policy a matter almost entirely about morality. After all, what else was he doing when he said Jesus would support the Buffett rule? Believers in the wonder-working power of economic freedom can either make the moral case (as well as the economic one) as Brooks does or, as The Wall Street Journal put it today, “retreat at the first sound of a liberal moral argument.” My approach is, to quote The Boss, “No retreat, baby, no surrender.”