William McGurn has a well-crafted and interesting column in today's Wall Street Journal making the point about what Amity Shlaes called the "arrogance" of central planning. Mr. McGurn, who served as President Bush's chief speechwriter, sets up a dichotomy between "conservatives" and "President Obama and his Democratic allies," but he doesn't really get into the fact that there's some significant overlap between the Obama economic team and the Bush one, namely Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke. Writes Mr. McGurn:
Conservatives believe that even our smartest friend is no match for the collective wisdom of the marketplace. If we were to wake up and find that someone we knew well had been given control over some important part of the economy, the conservative would not likely think, "Everything will be fine now that Harry's in charge." Far more likely we'd be saying to ourselves, "If it weren't for his wife, Harry would be wearing red and purple socks every day—and we're giving him that kind of power?"
Mr. Obama and his team appear to be unburdened by such modesty.
The Journal reported the other day that Mr. Bernanke, the Bush-appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve, "declared that his actions helped save America from another Great Depression." Where's the modesty in that? And what is a Federal Reserve chairman anyway other than a smart friend who has been given control over some important part of the economy? I'm not disagreeing with Mr. McGurn on the arrogance of the elites, just suggesting that there is plenty of it on the Republican side of the aisle, too.