Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mitt Romney's No Apology 1

I started Mitt Romney's No Apology: Believe in America.

In my latest reading, Romney argued that free enterprise has made the United States the most prosperous nation in the world, and that countries with free enterprise are usually more prosperous than those in which the government has a heavy hand in the economy.  Romney acknowledges some nuance, though.  He says that many Western Europeans are satisfied with their system of government benefits, but he questions whether that system will always work and notes that Western European nations are moving towards the principles of American free enterprise.  And Romney says that China has free enterprise, and that its businesses are free from regulations that are actually important----regulations that pertain to health, safety, and other concerns.  But Romney also states that China's system of free enterprise is directed by an authoritarian system.  Romney still believes that China's system is effective and that China may become more powerful than the U.S., but Romney speculates that there may come a point where China will embrace democracy.

Romney also contends that the United States, whatever its mistakes, has been a positive presence in the world, which has prevented belligerent nations from getting out of hand.   And Romney quotes Israeli Shimon Peres' statement that the U.S., unlike many other nations, does not take over land when it wins a war.

I agree with Romney that many Americans have a high standard of living.  I tend to envy, though, the economic security of people in Canada and Europe, who live in systems that have universal health care.  But are these nations supported, at least in part, by the productivity of the United States?  Do we, in some sense, contribute to the prosperity that helps them to have universal health care?  I hope that we can have our cake and eat it, too----that we can have the productivity that results from American capitalism and entrepreneurship, and a universal health care system that keeps people from being bankrupted due to high health care costs.

Regarding America's presence in the world, Romney is probably right that we don't take land.  But critics from the right and the left have contended that the U.S. has exploited the resources of other nations, or has intervened in them (often secretly) for its own economic interests.

My favorite part of my latest reading was Romney's story of how his father gave his kids chores to do because the family was prosperous, and George Romney wanted his kids to learn the value of hard work.  And, when George became more prosperous, he gave his kids more chores!

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