Thursday, August 02, 2012


There's a story in The New York Times today about one of Mitt Romney's favorite authors:
Moments after making remarks in Jerusalem about Middle East culture that enraged Palestinians and undermined the public relations value of his trip to Israel, Mitt Romney looked around the room for Dan Senor, one of his campaign's top foreign policy advisers.

It was Mr. Senor's book about entrepreneurs in Israel that informed his comments, Mr. Romney explained to the group of Jewish-American donors he had assembled at the King David hotel. The book, "Start-up Nation," is among Mr. Senor's writings that Mr. Romney frequently cites in public....
Yes, Romney, in his remarks in Israel, talked about the country as a "start-up nation" and specifically cited Senor's book (which Senor co-wrote with Saul Singer).

Romney likes "start-ups." Romney likes entrepreneurs. Romney hates the notion -- which his campaign never stops talking about -- that anything good in an economy comes from government.

Which makes me wonder if he skipped certain parts of Senor's book mentioned in this Washington Post review:
How has Israel accomplished all this? Senor and Singer have a few ideas. One is the role played by Israel's military, which has funneled countless dollars into research leading to profitable technologies -- such as the camera invented to help a missile hit its target which an Israeli entrepreneur transformed into a camera that could be installed in a pill ingested by the human body. Conscription means that virtually all of Israel's youths have some technical expertise and some leadership skills.
Or passages like this:
The story of how Israel got to where it is ... must include the effects of government policies....

The history of Israel's economy is one of two great leaps, separated by a period of stagnation and hyperinflation. The government's macroeconomic policies have played an important role in speeding the country's growth, then reversing it, then unleashing it....

... the first period of expansion was achieved through an entrepreneurial government that dominated a small, primitive private sector; the second period through a thriving entrepreneurial private sector that was initially catalyzed by government action.
But ... but ... but that's impossible! Government can't do any good for the private sector! Government can only destroy! All economic strength comes from private-sector individual initiative! A guy named Mitt Romney keeps telling me that!

I suppose these are two contradictory arguments. One is that government is always destructive unless kept to a bare minimum. The other is that those Jews, by gosh, they're so good at making money that they're excellent capitalists even when they're running socialist kibbutzim.

The thing is, I don't know why Americans aren't capable of the same thing -- I thought this were the greatest country on earth and we had the most awesome entrepreneurial spirit. If Israelis can be great capitalists on a kibbutz (and, even today, with socialized medicine!), why can't we overcome the Marxist-Leninist horrors of wind-energy credits and Obamacare?


Victor said...

You had to know that there was a co-author, or else Senor's book would have been in Gibberish, and written in crayon.

Marc said...

I'd be curious to know how many of the Israeli entrepreneurs were able to start their businesses because they didn't need to worry about health insurance -- thanks to Israel's strict government control of the insurance market. I'm sure there are many Americans who would love to try starting a business but can't leave their current non-entrepreneurial job because they or a family member is relying on the insurance provided by the employer (i.e., "job lock").

Unknown said...

And why was Israel able to produce such things? Cause they invest in their defense, just like Romney wants to do. Obama and his cronies want to cut defense spending which in turn hurts our research.

Steve M. said...

U.S. defense spending is six times that of the nearest competitor, China.

And before you start typing your response: yes, it'll still be a massive amount if the sequester happens.

A sequester congressional Republicans agreed to.

Unknown said...

There's nothing wrong with that. If we cut back we may not be able to create the time machine and predator suits for the soldiers