President Barack Obama has encountered a torrent of opposition for his use of Four Little Words: “You didn’t build that.” The President used these words to show that private success rests on public infrastructure. But in so doing, he slighted the importance of private initiative and innovation. The pushback has been enormous.
Right now, the patent system is also under major attack by progressives who think that the way to industrial progress lies through an expanded public domain. The fashionable attack on patents is just one part of the full-scale attack on market institutions that has led to an economy mired in 1.5 percent annual GDP growth.