There’s No Such Thing as a Political Problem Solver

The yard sign said, “Elect a Problem Solver President.” As I drove by, I wondered why I saw no candidate’s name.

It turns out the sign was not for any particular candidate but for a “No Labels, Problem Solver” convention held in October in Manchester, New Hampshire. Eight presidential candidates from both parties attended; after all, what political candidate doesn’t want to be known as a problem solver?

The purpose of the “problem solver” convention is to begin to “build a National Strategic Agenda” to, among other things, “create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years.”

During debates and interviews, candidates are drilled on how they will solve all types of economic and social problems. “Solutions” come in sound bites. It seems that more and more Americans wish to be relieved of what Friedrich Hayek describes in The Road to Serfdom as “the necessity of solving our own economic problems and … the bitter choices which this often involves.”

Asking to Be Lied To

Does a prosperous American economic system depend on electing a president who is a problem solver? What does it say that our leaders have to pretend that they can know everything and tidily solve all problems? Are we to be servants to the ends our leaders have chosen for us, working for them by the means that they select?

As we pursue opportunities, we allow for a discovery process that automatically solves problems. 

A focus on solving problems is inconsistent with a market economy. In a Cato Journal article, “<a href="…