OBAMA'S STATE OF DISUNION
President Obama’s state of the union address lacked any clear explanation of how his Administration will eliminate the national debt, reduce unemployment, and promote economic growth and prosperity. In typical Chicago style political fashion, he presented a patchwork quilt of promises aimed at specific constituencies needed for him to achieve re-election (veterans, small business owners, taxpayers earning less than $200,000 a year, and public employees), and included a gross omission: not one word on how he would balance the budget and save the nation from economic collapse.
More fundamentally, Obama’s speech revealed that this President remains out of touch with the very problems he promised to overcome in 2008. He remains hopelessly wedded to government planned economies replete with government selected winners and losers. As he spoke in superficial platitudes with no specifics, the numbers flew by on the national debt clock and the nation in a very real sense fell deeper into a sea of red tape, taxation, and debt.
The President’s address included several inherently contradictory statements and certain assertions that show his lack of appreciation for the Constitution, for the basic elements of a free market economy, and for the enormity of the debt crisis facing the United States. The President’s state of the union described more a state of disunion under his leaderless presidency. His address leaves Americans with no essential answers to our most pressing problems of debt, unemployment, and a weak economy.
He missed yet another opportunity to galvanize public support by avoiding any explanation as to how he will lead the Congress of the United States in eliminating the national debt and weaning the nation from the financial black hole that comes in the form of federal entitlements. As for making the hard choices, Obama makes none, fearing political repercussions. He refuses to lead.
Indeed, if an alien unaware of world history were to have walked onto the floor of the House just in time to hear the President’s address, that alien would have believed that all was well in the United States with but a few minor problems and that the nation was poised to experience great economic growth. Once outside in the real world, the alien would soon learn that the picture portrayed by President Obama is hopelessly out of touch with the reality in the United States.
The President presents a series of false dichotomies. He said we can either “settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by” or we can depend on government policies that will ensure “everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” All ambiguities aside, there is no factual foundation to support these descriptions of America or to support the notion that we must have either one circumstance or the other.
Truth be told, we can settle for a country where taxation and regulation block upward mobility, decrease market entry, and decrease employment, or we can insist on a country that reduces taxation and eliminates regulation to permit greater upward mobility, increase market entry, and increase employment. Moreover, a society of opportunity is not a society where government replaces consumer choice and free market operation with a mandated “level playing field”--taking from market winners and rewarding others politically selected to be winners (the ordinary course of business for this Administration). We certainly do not want government bureaucrats dictating what constitutes a “fair share;” we want the market to reward those who provide consumers what they want—a reward that occurs precisely in the absence of government. And we do not want government bureaucrats enforcing universal mediocrity, achieved by forcing all to “play by the same set of rules,” because a dynamic free market economy is not constrained by government rules but permits all manner of innovation to occur and proceed to produce that which consumers demand.
The President presumes Americans ignorant of his Administration’s history of government bail-outs. Without mentioning a single one of his grossly expensive, failed stimulus plans, he blamed the banking industry for their excesses and regulators for not stopping bad behavior. Yet the bad behavior occurred principally under Obama’s watch, and he has done nothing substantive to stop the abuses for three and a half years. Far from prosecuting Wall Street bankers who committed fraud or even allowing the market to correct their misbehavior by causing their institutions to fail, this Administration has assiduously avoided any prosecutions and has worked in tandem with the Federal Reserve to pump trillions of dollars into a small group of select institutions responsible for the crisis, embracing fully the “too big to fail” concept.
The President complimented himself for the agreement with Congress to cut the deficit by $2 trillion, but $2 trillion over ten years ($200 billion a year) will not even keep pace with the projected increases in the cost of government, let alone make a dent in the burgeoning national debt, now topping $15.5 trillion and exceeding the gross domestic product.
Still clueless as to the fact that a market economy creates its own solutions to economic instability if only freed from government restraints, the President speaks of “a blueprint for” the economy. He clings to the view rejected even in communist China that the government should chart the course for the market and use coercion, cajolery, tax credits, and tax penalties to force the market to pursue what he and his advisors think best for America (rather than the course that Americans think best for themselves). Planned economies have failed the world, have brought about ruination of business and people’s lives and fortunes, and have ensured universal mediocrity at the expense of excellence and opportunity. President Obama is fundamentally wedded to the notion that he knows better than the typical American what is in that American’s best interest. He is wrong.
With a fragile economy desperately searching for concentrations of capital to finance business expansion and new job growth, the President once again calls for substantial tax increases on multinational companies and on all individuals who earn a million dollars or more a year. What he does not tell the American people is the amount of money that will be raised from taxes of this sort. It is woefully inadequate to balance the budget. Moreover, he does not explain what will happen when these concentrations of wealth are depleted by government.
He does not explain how that will reduce money available for private sector growth and for new jobs. He does not explain that the money going to the government will do nothing to stop the rate of increase in federal spending and will not offset ever escalating debts. He does not admit that he plans not to use the money taxed to pay down the debt but rather to finance new programs, such as infrastructure construction, funding for more public school teachers, and funding for more police.
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In short, Obama’s entire plan for America depends on growing the government, reducing the amount of money available for private sector growth, government planned economies with government choosing winners and losers, and no serious effort whatsoever at tackling the single most significant threat to the survival of the United States, the national debt. He has failed. He shows none of the urgency of a man who truly cares that the national debt will destroy this nation within a decade unless spending is cut dramatically. He still has no clear understanding of how free markets work and no love of liberty more than self. Consequently, if the United States is to survive, recover and prosper in the next half decade, it must do so without Obama because it cannot do so with him.
© 2012 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved