June 30, 2010

Glenn Beck had another one of those moments yesterday on his Fox News show, talking about the G20 Summit in Toronto:

BECK: Anyway, President Obama was there, and, um, he said something that kind of tripped my Marxism alarms. Here he is.

Mind you, Beck's "Marxism alarm" goes off all the time, with increasing shrillness and volume. It's kind of like the guy who sets his car alarm to such a sensitivity that it shrieks and squonks if you so much as walk within twenty feet of it.

Especially when you see what set it off this time:

Obama: A strong and durable recovery also requires countries not having an undue advantage. I think we all have the same interest -- and that is, the United States can compete with anybody -- as long as we've got an even playing field.

Somehow, to Beck, this sounded vaguely Marxist. But in fact, what Obama was saying was classic American capitalism. Because he was talking about the disadvantage at which currency restrictions force us to play:

"A strong and durable recovery also requires countries not having an undue advantage. So we also discussed the need for currencies that are market-driven," Obama said. "As I told President Hu yesterday, the United States welcomes China's decision to allow its currency to appreciate in response to market forces."

In fact, American presidents have advocated a "level playing field" within the world's markets for decades. Bush pushed it. So did Ronald Reagan.

What, does Beck think the USA should compete at a disadvantage? Or does this mean he thinks that free-market capitalism operates on an uneven playing field, and that capitalism and fair competition cannot coexist?

Because that, you know, is actually a classic Marxist position.

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