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Jewish World Review
Dec. 9, 2011
/ 13 Kislev, 5772
A populist, envy-mongering fraud divisively exacerbating resentment among different groups of Americans
President Barack Obama made himself out to be a lot like Teddy Roosevelt in his Osawatomie, Kan., speech, and you wonder if he will soon be charging up San Juan Hill. Probably not. There is no Spanish American War now, and Obama should have noted it's a different world in other ways. Economic and political realities are in many ways the reverse of what existed in the Roosevelt era.
When TR growled his Bull Moose growl about tougher laws and regulations, government interventionism was a shrinking violet and industrialism an eruption of volcanoes. At last count, the U.S. Code was 356,000 pages of laws, rules and annotations, and if you think you or any business can turn around without bumping into dictates that range from inconvenient to devastating, you're wrong.
"Every aspect of our lives is subjected to it (this code) from birth to death," writes Jeffrey Tucker, formerly a vice president of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala., and currently executive editor of Laissez Faire Books in Little Rock. "Every product we buy, every service we use, every decision we make is filtered through this morass."
That's fine with Obama. He gave us a moment's trickery about doing away with stupid regulations, but said in his Kansas speech that you can't count on free markets. They don't get the job done without guidance. In other words, freedom doesn't work.
Since Obama took office, he has given us 75 major regulations costing the economy $38 billion, according to James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation. Hundreds more are on the way through Obama's health care law, EPA oppression and highly dubious intrusions in the work of financial institutions.
Ask business leaders, as The New York Times did in a front-page story, and they'll tell you that expanding regulation is a reason they aren't hiring more. Are they just greed heads? Obama thinks so. Ordinary folks got stuck with mortgages they could not afford because of grasping mortgage lenders, he said in the speech. The chief culprits actually were the Federal Reserve, a wide array of bureaucrats and quasi-governmental Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bamboozlers playing footsie with elected politicians in Congress, the White House and elsewhere.
Reckless laws and regulatory intervention abetted Wall Street in its own recklessness and spurred the financial crisis. Obama wants more of the same, not so much in imitation of Teddy Roosevelt as of Big Brother in George Orwell's "1984." If we are still far from that totalitarian extreme, every day in every way the government is stripping the individual of initiative and pounding us with messages suggestive of the propaganda Orwell depicted.
Obama is not shy on that front. He talked about a shrinking middle class even though economist Stephen Rose has shown it had been shrinking because of people getting richer, not poorer. Obama talked about income inequality without noting that the growth in inequality was not nearly so high in the George W. Bush administration as in the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations. He talked about the Bush tax cuts killing jobs when in fact some of those cuts were a force in creating jobs while simultaneously causing the rich to pay a higher share of the income tax.
As Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post has noted, Obama actually loves the Bush tax cuts. He adores them. They happily enriched the middle class, and he wants to preserve 70 percent of them.
The Kansas speech was a populist, envy-mongering fraud divisively exacerbating resentment among different groups of Americans. Its purpose was to rescue Obama from electoral peril caused by policies pretty much the contrary of crucially required long-term deficit reductions and genuine tax reform. If he really wants to imitate Roosevelt, he should remember how great a hiker that president was.
Obama should then tell his policies to take a hike.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
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Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.
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• 11/30/11: Not writing off Newt
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• 10/07/11: Baptists, bootleggers and Wall Street protesters
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• 09/28/11: Leftist bugbears on the march
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