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Question: Are free markets anathema to democratic politics?

Transcript: I’ve heard that a lot from folks across the state and across the country that I sound like a Republican, I don’t know why that is. You know, right now, the challenges that we face aren’t Democratic or Republican challenges, they’re just national challenges. If I tend to sound like a Democrat sometimes, great; if I tend to sound like a Republican sometimes, great. But I don’t think that if you go back to the history of my party, the party that I choose to identify with, then we’ve been [averse] to using the market. It’s the greatest power. It’s an extremely powerful force and then we need to find ways of unlocking that power in ways that serve, that serve a common good. And so if you think about the things that I was saying, how can public policy affect that change to either tax credits for investments and energy savings then great. That’s what we should be doing. I use an analogy when I talk about the power of the market. Football’s a huge thing in Nebraska. I mean, from one town to another it’s just, it’s every 8th graders dream to play for their University in Nebraska Cornhuskers. The market is like a football team. It’s a powerful, strong, athletic force that can do tremendous things. But if it’s just a bunch of players out there, if it’s eight players out there running around without any direction, then it loses its power and it can’t score the touchdown or it can’t stop the touchdown from being scored that it needs a coach. And you can over coach too. And that’s a problem with some coaches, you can over coach and we can over regulate. But there’s a role for the federal government, there’s a role for us as a society to decide what are our priorities and how can we direct that powerful force called the market, in this analogy the football team so that we can score a touchdown, so that we can all get better. We’ve done it before. When you look at, you look at FDR, you know, when he invested in public power, when he invested in the REA that gave my grandparents electricity, he didn’t do it. For any other reason than it allowed them to be better farmers, to produce more, to be more successful, to invest in their family, in their future and their community. That’s a positive use of the force of the federal government working with a market or the public sector.

Recorded on: 8/13/08


The Free Market and Politics

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