Obama's kneejerk Leftist explanations defy the reality of America's economic situation
The logic of Obama's address to Congress went like this: "Our economy did not fall into decline overnight," he averred. Indeed, it all began before the housing crisis. What did we do wrong? We are paying for past sins in three principal areas: energy, health care, and education -- importing too much oil and not finding new sources of energy (as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf?), not reforming health care, and tolerating too many bad schools.
The "day of reckoning" has now arrived. And because "it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we'll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament," Obama has come to redeem us with his far-seeing program of universal, heavily nationalized health care; a cap-and-trade tax on energy; and a major federalization of education with universal access to college as the goal.
Amazing. As an explanation of our current economic difficulties, this is total fantasy. As a cure for rapidly growing joblessness, a massive destruction of wealth, a deepening worldwide recession, this is perhaps the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American people.
At the very center of our economic near-depression is a credit bubble, a housing collapse and a systemic failure of the entire banking system. One can come up with a host of causes: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed by Washington (and greed) into improvident loans, corrupted bond-ratings agencies, insufficient regulation of new and exotic debt instruments, the easy money policy of Alan Greenspan's Fed, irresponsible bankers pushing (and then unloading in packaged loan instruments) highly dubious mortgages, greedy house-flippers, deceitful homebuyers.
The list is long. But the list of causes of the collapse of the financial system does not include the absence of universal health care, let alone of computerized medical records. Nor the absence of an industry-killing cap-and-trade carbon levy. Nor the lack of college graduates. Indeed, one could perversely make the case that, if anything, the proliferation of overeducated, Gucci-wearing, smart-ass MBAs inventing ever more sophisticated and opaque mathematical models and debt instruments helped get us into this credit catastrophe in the first place.
And yet with our financial house on fire, Obama makes clear both in his speech and his budget that the essence of his presidency will be the transformation of health care, education and energy. Four months after winning the election, six weeks after his swearing in, Obama has yet to unveil a plan to deal with the banking crisis.
What's going on? "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," said Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. "This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before." Things. Now we know what they are. The markets' recent precipitous decline is a reaction not just to the absence of any plausible bank rescue plan, but also to the suspicion that Obama sees the continuing financial crisis as usefully creating the psychological conditions -- the sense of crisis bordering on fear-itself panic -- for enacting his "Big Bang" agenda to federalize and/or socialize health care, education and energy, the commanding heights of post-industrial society.
Clever politics, but intellectually dishonest to the core. Health, education and energy -- worthy and weighty as they may be -- are not the cause of our financial collapse. And they are not the cure. The fraudulent claim that they are both cause and cure is the rhetorical device by which an ambitious president intends to enact the most radical agenda of social transformation seen in our lifetime.
Obama is just another callous Leftist who does not care about people at all
And he shows desperate economic ignorance
As the stock market plunged below the Dow's 7,000 mark -- a loss of 1,500 points since his inauguration -- Obama casually dismissed the sharp drop in equity values, comparing it to the ups and downs of a poll. The stock market "is sort of like a tracking poll in politics," he told news reporters. "You know, it bobs up and down day to day. And if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong."
Excuse me? Tracking poll? That's like dismissing a severed hand as a hangnail. The stock market represents the life savings and investments of millions of workers. More than 50 percent of American households own shares in public companies. We are talking about people's retirement finances here that they see vanishing before their eyes, and millions of these investors are middle-class Americans struggling to make ends meet.
This is a time that called for a little sympathy about what this recession is doing to investors. "The stock market is the country right now. This is where people's wealth is, this is their pension plans, their 401(k)s and IRAs," CNBC's investment guru Jim Cramer said last week.
But the president's seemingly callous shoot-from-the-hip response may have been the result of the political pressure he is coming under as the economy significantly worsens on his watch. Add to this the growing chorus of critics who are blaming the stock market's plunge on his policies. "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that President Obama's policy agenda is a factor in driving down the Dow," economic policy strategist Cesar Conda wrote last week in his Politico blog. "The reason is simple: The threat of significantly higher tax rates on economic success, more government regulation and intrusion in the free market, and explosive increases in government spending and debt have all combined to reduce economic returns on equity investment," he said.
Cramer, whose views on stocks are closely followed by millions of CNBC viewers, said he wanted "some sign that Obama realizes the market is totally falling apart. His agenda has a big hand in that happening."
The other White House blunder came last week, too, when Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, took a shot at conservative radio-talk-show king Rush Limbaugh, saying he was the leader of the Republican Party. That triggered a GOP counterattack that took the White House to task for engaging in the kind of political blood sport that Obama had campaigned against, promising to change the tone in Washington. Cable-TV talk shows fueled the controversy and, by midweek, the White House was in full retreat as it realized their attacks had misfired and backfired. Not a pretty picture. A somewhat embarrassed presidential press secretary, Robert Gibbs, confessed that the low-road episode had been "counterproductive."
But Republicans were gleefully ridiculing the White House's failed attempt to tie the GOP to the hugely popular Limbaugh's nuclear attacks on the president's policies. "Now that the Obama administration has declared their own distractions, diversions and manipulations strategy to be counterproductive, House Republicans would like to see this administration join us in our bipartisan national conversation about job creation, stimulating small business and middle-class tax relief," said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican. "They should apologize to the American people for supporting these tactics and get back to work," he said.
Meanwhile, the government was moving at its typical snail's pace to get the administration's stimulus money into the states, in large part due to the dozens of critical deputy-secretary posts that remain empty at Treasury and other key departments that have the job of dishing out the funds.
The economy is tanking, and Wall Street still had little confidence that Obama's spending stimulus would work (since only a portion of its funds will be spent this year). And in Congress, the Democrats were doing what they do best, spending more money, this time a massive omnibus fiscal 2009 bill containing 9,000 earmarked provisions that will needlessly cost taxpayers and the economy billions of hard-earned dollars. The American people are willing to be patient for now, but we are by nature an impatient people and eventually that patience is going to start running out.
Save Us From the "Saviors"
Barack Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress have made one thing perfectly clear: ideology trumps everything-including common sense, basic free market economics, and patriotism.
That's right. I said patriotism. Patriotism is defined as a love for one's country. In order to love one's country, one has to believe it is preponderantly good. Not perfect, but a place where, when you add up all the plusses and minuses, you come with a net plus. A big net plus.
It has become more than apparent that the vast majority of Congressional Democrats and the president himself believe America is an inherent minus. So much so, that "tweaking around the edges" of the most successful and prosperous nation the world has ever produced will not suffice. For these profoundly misguided Americans, 220 years of exceptionalism must be tossed aside to make way for a new era of social utopianism-which can only be achieved by massive government involvement in every important aspect of American life. That's not patriotism. That's unbridled hubris and a lust for control that should infuriate every reasonable American.
Note that word "reasonable." Never before in modern American history have we had a presidential election where reason mattered less. We had hope and change. We had a thrill running up a leg. And we had the surest sign that those who believe America is fundamentally flawed nation were confident they could sell that ideology to a majority of the electorate. To wit:
"I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal ... This was the moment .... this was the time ... when we came together to remake this great nation " - President Barack Obama
Only in the fevered imaginations of egomaniacal ideologues could the idea that all the goodness the world has to offer was waiting for their ascension to power. But give them credit. They calculated their strategy well. "Hope,""change" and "messiah" got them to election day. Now "fear," "catastrophe," "depression" etc., will be wielded like a billy club in order to smash any resistance to their agenda.
They even have their "Emmanuel Goldstein." Goldstein was the enemy of the state in Orwell's "1984," a man whose presence on a viewscreen required "two minutes of hate." Democrats started with George W. Bush for obvious reasons, but they're smart enough to know that demonizing the former president for standing against their worldview has a limited shelf life.
Enter Rush Limbaugh. Both the president and Democratic members of Congress, with ample help from their media cheerleading section, have made it clear that this radio host-that's right, a radio host-will replace the former president as the symbol of everything that is wrong with America. They are also calling him the "de facto head of the Republican party" in order to demonize them as well.
Note who else they've belittled whenever it suits their purposes: Wall Street, bankers, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, coal companies, insurance companies, Americans who don't think, as Joe Biden remarked, "paying higher taxes is patriotic"-and Americans who think there's something wrong with paying their neighbor's mortgage along with their own.
Are some people deserving of scorn? Certainly. But bad people don't equal a bad system. Our system of Constitutional government combined with our brand of free market capitalism has produced unparalleled bounty and freedom for the entire world. That it can falter on occasion has far more to do with human foible than systemic failure.
Yet it is the perception of the latter which is being heavily promoted. Without the fear of systemic failure, Americans cannot be convinced that the massive transfer of wealth from the private sector to the federal government is anything more than a naked power grab. They will not be persuaded that the rewarding of sloth, irresponsibility and stupidity-in the name of "social justice," no less-is anything more than the entitlement mentality run amok. So, as Barack Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel remarked, Democrats are not about to let "a serious crisis go to waste"-even if they have to sustain it longer than necessary to get what they want.
Options for those who want to stop the madness? I can think of three. One is immediate and the other two either untimely, or unlikely. First and foremost, hammer our Congressional representatives with emails, letters and phone calls-just like we did when they tried to foist illegal immigration "reform" on us two years ago. Tell them you have no interest in mortgaging the country's future to satisfy the ambitions of those whose core belief is the idea that Americans are "too stupid" to run their own lives without massive government interference.
Two, vote these socialist, do-gooder hacks out of office in 2010. I know, Republicans aren't much better, but given a choice between Hitler and Mussolini, you vote for Il Duce. And two years is a long time, but it's better than four.
Lastly, maybe it's time Americans demanded to know-without the slightest ambiguity-whether or not the president of the United States is an American citizen. Perhaps I am succumbing to the fever known as "conspiracy theor-itis," but I am hard-pressed to imagine how someone with America's worst interests at heart could have an agenda substantially different from the one being proposed by our current president. I find it incredible that the same mainstream media which found a twenty-year-old drunk diving charge lodged against the former president are uninterested in whether or not a basic tenet of our Constitution is being violated.
I love this country-warts and all. Those seeking to completely remake it like to think of themselves as patriots, but their ambitions betray them. They yearn for a Euro-lite, socialist nation where entitlement, mediocrity and victimhood are embraced, and Americans are, as Churchill put it, "equally miserable." We're better than that. Far better.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)