I am trying to capture the spirit of bipartisanship as practiced by the
Democratic Party over the past eight years. Thus, I have chosen as my
lead this proposition: Obama lied; the economy died. Obviously, I am
borrowing this from the Democratic theme of 2003-08: "Bush lied, people
died." There are, of course, two differences between the slogans.
Most importantly, I chose to separate the two clauses with a semicolon
rather than a comma because the rule of grammar is that a semicolon
(rather than a comma) should be used between closely related independent
clauses not conjoined with a coordinating conjunction. In the age of
Obama, there is little more important than maintaining the integrity of
our language against the onslaught of Orwellian language abuse that is
already a babbling brook and soon will be a cataract of verbal
The other difference is that Bush didn't lie about weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq. He merely was mistaken. Whereas Obama told a
whopper when he claimed that he is not for bigger government. As he said
last week: "As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a
recovery plan by Presidents Day that would put people back to work and
put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government
This he asserted despite the fact that the budget he proposed the next
day asks for federal spending as 28 percent of gross domestic product,
higher by at least 6 percent than any time since World War II. Moreover,
after 10 years, Obama's proposed spending as a percentage of GDP still
would be 22.6 percent, nearly 2 percentage points higher than any year
during the Bush administration despite the full costs of Sept. 11, the
Iraq and Afghan wars and the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina.
Consider also this assertion in his not-quite-State of the Union
address: "My administration has also begun to go line by line through
the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective
programs. As you can imagine, this is a process that will take some
time. But we're starting with the biggest lines. We have already
identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade."
But lamentably, a few days later, The Washington Post reported: "A
senior administration official acknowledged yesterday that the budget
does not contain $2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade.
Instead, the figure represents Obama's total efforts at deficit
reduction, including tax hikes (of more than $1 trillion) on families
making over $250,000 a year. It also includes hundreds of billions of
dollars 'saved' by not continuing to spend $170 billion a year in Iraq."
Only a big-government man would think of calling a trillion-dollar tax
increase a spending cut or "saving." Technically, of course, it is true.
A trillion-dollar tax increase would reduce spending by $1 trillion for
those private citizens who were taxed. And from the perspective of the
federal government, a trillion dollars taxed is a trillion dollars saved
from the greed of the taxpayers who produced the wealth and might well
want to spend or invest it in nongovernmental activities.
But the foregoing merely are pettifogging numbers compared with Obama's
bigger ideas about energy and health care (regarding health care, more
in future columns). Our president shares a fascinating idea about energy
with most of what used to be known as the "small is beautiful" crowd. It
is a curious phenomenon that one needs a very big government to enforce
the beauty of small.
Obama's secretary of energy, Steven Chu, said last year that the price
of electricity in America is "anomalously low." You see how much smarter
that Nobel Prize winner is than you? You probably thought you already
were spending enough on electricity and fuel.
And sure enough, Obama explained last week that in order to make
alternative energy sources wind, solar, perhaps eventually human
muscle power economically competitive, he intends to raise the price
of carbon-based energy until it is so expensive that even solar power
would be such a deal.
This level of destructive irrationality cannot be accomplished in the
private sector. It would take a very big government indeed to bring such
inanities into being. (Disclosure: Being rational, I give professional
advice to carbon-based energy producers.)
If President Obama were to try to misrepresent his positions for the
next four years, there would be nothing he could say that would approach
the inaccuracy of his claim last week that he is not for big government.
It is the essence of the man and his presidency. He doesn't like America
the way it has been since its founding, and it would take an abusively
big government to realize his dreams of converting America into
something quite different. If you don't know that, you don't yet know