“Don’t Kill the Goose”

(p. A11) I think there are two major but not fully formed or fully articulated fears among thinking Americans right now, and the deliberate obscurity of official language only intensifies those fears.

The first is that Mr. Obama’s government, in all its flurry of activism, may kill the goose that laid the golden egg. This is as dreadful and obvious a cliché as they come, but too bad, it’s what people fear. They see the spending plans and tax plans, the regulation and reform hunger, the energy proposals and health-care ambitions, and they–we–wonder if the men and women doing all this, working in their separate and discrete areas, are being overseen by anyone saying, “By the way, don’t kill the goose.”
The goose of course is the big, messy, spirited, inspiring, and sometimes in some respects damaging but on the whole brilliant and productive wealth-generator known as the free-market capitalist system. People do want things cleaned up and needed regulations instituted, and they don’t mind at all if the very wealthy are more heavily taxed, but they greatly fear a goose killing. Economic freedom in all its chaos and disorder has kept us rich for 200 years, and allowed us as a nation to be generous and strong at home and in the world. But the goose can be killed–by carelessness, hostility, incrementalism, paralysis, and by no one saying, “Don’t kill the goose.”

For the full commentary, see:
PEGGY NOONAN. “What’s Elevated, Health-Care Provider? Economy of language would be good for the economy.” Wall Street Journal (Sat., MAY 15, 2009): A11.

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