Opinion | Senator Pat Toomey: What Economic Freedom Means

To the Editor:

In the “The Elites’ Misguided G.D.P. Fetish” (Op-Ed, Aug. 28), Oren Cass criticizes a recent speech I gave about economic freedom and prosperity, implying that I value “material living standards” over “quality of life” benchmarks like “relationships, dignity, agency or life satisfaction.” Worse, he seemingly believes that the former comes at the expense of the latter.

Economic freedom enables a growing economy, like the one we enjoyed before the coronavirus, which elevates both material living standards and quality of life. As incomes rise, so, too, does the quality of our environment and health care, access to education, and opportunities for leisure. These improvements in the human condition do not cause the social pathologies we see in many parts of our country.

Mr. Cass has fallen for the illusion that if only the government were run by more clever people, resources and wealth would be better and more justly allocated than when free people engage in voluntary exchanges. This supposedly wiser allocation could then somehow rid us of the social pathologies Mr. Cass understandably laments.

Much happiness does comes from hard-to-quantify activities like building close relationships, strengthening one’s faith, earned success in a vocation and contributing to one’s community. Mr. Cass’s mistake is in thinking that economic freedom impedes these aspirations and that more government intervention in the economy will foster them.

Pat Toomey
Allentown, Pa.
The writer, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.

Jo Trafford
Portland, Maine

Source Article