The Corner

Economy & Business

A Voice against Socialist Bullishness

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in N.Y., December 20, 2018. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Nearly a quarter century ago, a young National Review writer was enlisted to go west and set up a new national editorial page for the upstart and unusual Los Angeles-based Investor’s Business Daily. Mark Cunningham, now overseeing opinion at the New York Post, would be serving a readership who bought the chart-laden, data-heavy publication for one reason: to make money.

A liberal would ask if there really were enough different ways to say “greed is good” to fill such a daily space. IBD, founded in 1984 by William O’Neil, a wildly successful stockbroker who preached a strategy of technical analysis for Joe Sixpack investors, propagated not avarice but classic Reaganesque conservatism — albeit with the panache of the unapologetic successful entrepreneur, fully aware of the good that he does for his fellow man.

“Not taking and consuming, but giving, risking and creating are the characteristic roles of the capitalist, the key producer of the wealth of nations” was George Gilder’s retort, at the dawn of the Reagan Era, to those who condemned capitalism. IBD fired its artillery from this moral high ground.

Just Monday, this cross between Guns & Ammo and the more polite Wall Street Journal editorial page, as one hostile commentator once described IBD, revealed that it was Congressional Budget Office bungling that scared a Republican House and Senate out of repealing ObamaCare in 2017.

The page even won a Pulitzer in 2008 for its acerbic political cartoons, penned by Michael Ramirez. Until a paper-wide layoff three years ago — when Investor’s Business Daily oddly became a weekly while keeping its name — it was a rarity in the newspaper biz, publishing four, five, sometimes even six full-length editorials every weekday.

Now run by O’Neil’s son, IBD this week shuttered its opinion page. At a time when all-out socialism is becoming dangerously fashionable within the Democratic party, the loss of this aggressive voice for free markets and small government couldn’t come at a worse time.

Thomas McArdle was a senior writer for Investor’s Business Daily and a White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush


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