Opinion: George W. Bush warns about too much government without naming gee-who-could-it-possibly-be?


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Speaking of politicians’ books, it looks like we’ll have to wait for next fall to discover what exactly former President George W. Bush meant Thursday when he spoke, seemingly regretfully, about the $700-billion Wall Street bailout decision he made near the end of his term. He said:

I went against my free-market instincts and approved a temporary government intervention to unfreeze the credit markets so that we could avoid a major global depression.


Bush was speaking in Dallas at the formal unveiling of plans for a $300-million presidential library and think tank at Southern Methodist University, his wife’s alma mater. Sources said fundraisers have already assembled more than $200 million in donations to begin construction next year.

Besides housing his presidential archives and memorabilia such as the bullhorn the 43rd president used atop the World Trade Center rubble after 9/11, the presidential center will focus, he said, on four policy areas: education, global health, political freedoms and economic growth.

Appearing refreshed and energized before a friendly crowd of about 1,000, the 63-year-old said he was retired, not tired. He covered a broad array of subjects in his remarks.

But Bush kept to his promise from earlier this year not to comment on specific policies or decisions of his successor, something his former vice president, Dick Cheney, has not felt obliged to do. Oh, and he’s writing a book too. Who isn’t these days?

In fact, Bush did not mention Barack Obama’s name, nor the Democrat’s policy moves into the banking, financial, automobile, healthcare and insurance industries.

But some might interpret an oblique warning when Bush said:

The role of government is not to create wealth but to create the conditions that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive. As the world recovers, we will face a temptation to replace the risk-and-reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control. History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much.

Whomever could he possibly be talking about?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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