Some have recently taken solace and a sense of relief in the seemingly-moderate appointments Barack Obama has made to his cabinet, such as Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton... especially after hearing rhetoric like "we're going to spread the wealth around" from him during the presidential campaign.
Some others though, such as syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, see it differently. In his recent column, "The Real Obama", he states: "...Obama's own beliefs remain largely opaque, his appointments have led to the conclusion that he intends to govern from the center." Of the sensible appointments in his senior economic team, Krauthammer says "their principal task is to stabilize the financial system, a highly pragmatic task in which Obama has no particular ideological stake.... As in foreign policy, Obama wants experts and veterans to manage and pacify universes in which he has little experience and less personal commitment. Their job is to keep credit flowing and the world at bay so that Obama can address his real ambition: to effect a domestic transformation as grand and ambitious as Franklin Roosevelt's."
He goes-on to say that "deepening recession creates the opportunity for federal intervention and government experimentation on a scale unseen since The New Deal."
Additionally, "Henry Paulson's invention of the number $700 billion forever altered our perception of imaginable government expenditure. Twenty billion more for Citigroup? Lunch money.... And public opinion, demanding action, will buy any stimulus package of any size. The result: undreamed-of amounts of money at Obama's disposal.
Obama was quite serious when he said he was going to change the world. And now he has a national crisis, a personal mandate, a pliant Congress, a desperate public -- and, at his disposal, the greatest pot of money in galactic history."
Krauthammer finishes "Don't be fooled by Bob Gates staying on. Obama didn't get elected to manage Afghanistan. He intends to transform America. And he has the money, the mandate and the moxie to go for it. "
When Joe Biden was quoted as saying on Friday that the US economy is in danger of "really tanking", the first thought one has is "hasn't it ever occurred to this oaf that morale and confidence are vital for our markets and military?" Statements like "Obama's going to be tested" by our enemies, and that the economy might "tank" accomplishes what, exactly? This is the equivalent of a coach telling his team "We're probably going to get killed out there today."
He's no Nute Rockne, this Biden. But Obama has treated him like a crazy-aunt-in-the-attic for some time now, not allowing Joe out in public without being chained to a TelePrompter. Therefore, one must consider that this alarmist remark has an intentional purpose... in-concert with more benign, yet similar statements made by the President-elect himself recently.
As reckless as it appears? From famously-disciplined Team Obama, probably not- and the purpose of Biden's comment is to lower expectations and buy time, heap more blame for the economic crisis on the GOP, but most importantly, re-enforce a sense of need in the public to prepare them for the Great Socialist Roll-Out... spending $1 trillion in various big-government programs. In this way, Biden's legendary lack of constraint is useful... as if sensible minds object to such irresponsible fear-mongering, Obama's apologists can dismiss it as "oh, that's just ol' Joe- you know how he is".
Biden and Obama are now using the canned lines "everyone I've talked to" and "every major economist says" that we need a huge spending program for "economic stimulus". Who exactly are they talking to? Any factual support? This doesn't even vaguely resemble a valid argument... and apparently they don't speak with adherents of Milton Freidman or Art Laffer. Shouldn't the public and US Congress ask to first see at least one historical precedent where this big-spending has worked, before we jump into this $1 trillion pit?
Obama's misguided plans go against all proven formulae, largely ignoring the true engines of our economy (entrepreneurs and small business) in-favor of a huge, inefficient, and corrupt Federal spending spree... just like the policies that lengthened The Depression by 7+ yrs.
The massive outlays of The New Deal that Obama so proudly emulates were, in-fact, a colossal economic failure. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt never achieved an unemployment level under 14%... and averaged 17% over his presidency.
Some conservatives have taken to noting that history has proven The New Deal a mistake. But there was never any need to wait for historical evidence... as FDR's own Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau stated in 1939:
"We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . We have never made good on our promises. . . . I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!"
This is all in stark contrast to the proven Reagan Recovery of the 1980s, which brought us back from almost 11% unemployment (50% worse than today), plus double-digit inflation and interest rates that were inherited from the incompetent Carter Administration. Ronald Reagan accomplished this with an adherence to the Chicago School philosophy- with spending cuts, tax cuts, in addition to deregulation and incentives for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
In his two terms, Reagan created over 20M jobs...growing the country's GDP by almost 30% in the process. Those kind of results makes one wonder why Obama's trillion-dollar spending plan would impress anybody, even with his recent increase from the previously pledged 2.5M new and "saved" jobs (whatever those are) to the new goal of +3M... a paltry figure 17M jobs shy of Reagan's towering accomplishment.
And Obama's proposal is not a spend-money program, because we don't have it.... it's a print-money program, with all the associated evils. What happened to the lessons of the last 20 yrs regarding keeping a lid on inflation as a priority?
With today's 7% unemployment, low inflation, and interest rates approximating zero, but an already massive Federal deficit... we need to spend another trillion dollars? Why? All we are being told is that a "big mess" has been created, and that "something has to be done" to avert an even greater catastrophe. Assuming all that is true, shouldn't Americans demand something that has been proven to work, instead of the discredited approach of throwing money at the problem?
Why not a tax cut, instead... and let American businesses create the jobs they've repeatedly demonstrated the ability to produce? Somehow, the irony is lost on Obama that unemployed Silicon Valley engineers should be delighted to get to pour cement for "patriotic" construction projects... instead of reviving businesses through lower taxes that would leverage their skills a little more effectively.
To quote Reagan:
"Entrepreneurs and small businesses are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States."
What a shame then, that Obama is on the verge of implementing an economic "stimulus" package that is actually little more than the mother-of-all-pork-barrel-spending... going against every element of Reagan's proven approach. Obama hasn't the slightest clue how a entrepreneurial market economy functions... and he doesn't want to, because he detests it. He is not even attempting to pursue the best, proven methods to economic recovery, either. For him the crisis is a huge opportunity, seen in purely philosophical terms... and it is the philosophy of a man with the most left-wing voting record in the US Senate. Obama is using this once-in-a-lifetime chance to socialize the country and send money to nefarious supporters, while printing money to cover it all, and crashing the dollar. Then he'll blame it all on Bush, and crank-up the taxes to eye-watering Swedish levels to dig out of the hole.
And who will suffer the brunt of these destructive tax increases? On the rare occasion someone in the press corps actually asks Obama how all this is going to be paid for, he answers as vaguely as possible, as is his m.o. .... while gesturing towards the standard socialist class enemies of "the rich" (who he earlier said where "selfish" and unpatriotic if they didn't support paying more taxes) and "big business", who are more easily painted as villains in the midst of our economic crisis.
It should come as no surprise that Reagan had quite a different take on taxing the job-creating "rich" and America's businesses, both large and small:
"The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us.
Business doesn't pay taxes... Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business... If the tax cannot be included in the price of the product, no one along that line can stay in business."
And the Blagojevich case certainly focuses the mind on Obama's promised big government programs- which have always been likely to encourage corruption. His plans to flood state and local governments with cash will surely empower corrupt politicians, political donors, organized crime, and union bosses. These projects are to be approached with additional caution after what was heard in Blagojevich's words on the FBI tapes- demanding $1M in campaign "donations" from an unnamed cement company who won the contract for the "green lanes" and other improvements to the Illinois Turnpike. This incident clearly demonstrates the skill with which Democrats wrap spending that financially benefits their political supporters in an aura of social/environmental responsibility and entitlement... as both Obama and Blago have been doing for years.
We should also examine carefully Obama's own previous, similar programs in Illinois- where he helped provide subsidies for (convicted felon and Obama fundraiser) Tony Rezko to build and maintain "affordable housing" in Obama’s district. In the event, much of the resulting housing was scandalous, uninhabitable due to substandard work. People froze in the winter, plumbing leaks, and a 3 year old boy was crushed to death last summer by shoddy construction. While Rezko couldn't find the money to get the heat on, he was still making regular political contributions to Obama, though... and getting wealthy in the process.
Now, nationwide, the hogs are lining-up, drooling, at the trough. Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R) wrote a recent column for TheHill.com which highlights some disturbing information about Obama's economic stimulus plan. The plans have special interest groups in a state of euphoria, like they hit the Lotto.
Rep. Bachman, like many conservatives, worries where the money will go: "You’ve got to wonder if the infrastructure investments that Obama is going to include in his package might come from the list of 11,391 projects that the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently submitted to Congress. The list includes things like a $4.8 million polar bear exhibit at the Providence, RI zoo and a $1.5 million water ride in Miami, FL."
And according to a recent CNN article, other abuses of taxpayer dollars found within the report include: “a proposed $20 million minor league baseball museum in Durham, NC; $6.1 million for corporate jet hangars at the Fayetteville, AS, airport; $20 million for renovations at the Philadelphia Zoo; and a $1.5 million program to reduce prostitution in Dayton, OH.” According the CNN story, the 800-plus page Mayor's document is titled "Main Street Economic Recovery: 'Ready To Go' Jobs and Infrastructure Projects." The requests represent what these mayors and Obama perceive as stimulating the economy and growing jobs through infrastructure rebuilding and maintenance.
This graft-embedded socialist fantasy of Obama's needs to be stopped dead in its tracks... it's as simple as that. We are now saddled with a disingenuous and misguided President-elect that seems bound and determined to lead this country over the abyss, wrecking the structure of our economy in a permanent fashion.
It's about time Americans and the US Congress start asking some real hard questions about Obama's reckless planned spending spree... which is wasteful, inefficient, and nothing less than an assault upon the framework of America's entrepreneurial, free-market capitalist system.