Talking Free Markets with Karl Rove

I had the chance to hear Karl Rove speak at a conference hosted by Hillsdale College on “Economics and the 2008 Election.”  Rove had some interesting things to say:

1) The public is increasingly skeptical of government intervention in the economy (at least compared with 40 years ago).  Government is largely to blame for the current financial crisis – Rove blasted the role Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played (and their immense lobbying expenditures), the Community Reinvestment Act, and the Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates “too low for too long”.  Rove believes the public recognizes the failure of government, even if the media doesn’t, and will be skeptical of any government solution.

2) Not surprisingly, Rove was critical of the tax and spend policies of Obama – noting that his tax schemes are aimed primarily at redistribution.  His was also critical of McCain, not so much for his economic policy proposals, but for his failure to talk about them (especially health care), saying “his instincts are right” but not based on an economic philosophy.

3) Rove did not say anything bad about his old boss, but blasted former Republicans in Congress, including those who allegedly choked their mistress, and said that the culture of earmarks – the idea that re-election depends on getting earmarks for you district/state – was the creation of Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay.

4) Responding to a question, Rove said he is no longer a strong supporter of term limits, but does think that the part-time, citizen legislator model (e.g. of Texas) in which legislators have real world experience, is the best way to insure a limited government.  He also thinks we need to end the process of gerrymandering.