“The entire political community was caught a little bit unawares on that one,” said David Axelrod, White House senior advisor. The impact of Brown’s win on Obama’s healthcare bill was significant in that it deprived the Democrats of the opportunity to push the bill through the Senate without a Republican vote.
The anticipated change in tone also reflects the President’s declining poll numbers. Rasmussen Reports offers a Presidential Daily Tracking poll on its website, which shows a continuous sharp decline in Obama’s ratings almost since his inauguration just a year ago last week. Gallup said, “The 65 percentage-point gap between Democrats and Republicans average job performance rates for Barack Obama is easily the largest for any president in his first year in office, greatly exceeding the prior high of 52 points for Bill Clinton.” This makes Obama the most polarized of any President going back to the 1950s.
A change in “tone” will not reflect a change in substance or direction. According to ABC News, “White House advisers say the president will continue with his current health care reform push despite Brown’s win.” This was confirmed by Alexlrod during his appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday: “The underlying elements of [Obamacare] are popular and important. And people will never know what’s in that bill until we pass it, the president signs it, and they have a whole range of new protections they never had before.” (Emphasis added.)
This continuing push reflects an accidental or deliberate misreading of the message being delivered by the American voter. White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said this on NBC’s Meet the Press:
He'll be able to set forth his priorities, and they will be focusing on the middle class. Our middle class is struggling out there. They're frustrated, they're angry, they're working hard to try to make ends meet. They're having to make terrible choices between paying their rent and putting food on the table and paying for their health care and sending their kids to college. These are the same principles that the president advocated in the course of the campaign.
These are the tactics of diversion. Obama recently told George Stephanopoulos, “I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values. I think the assumption was, if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on the, you know this provision, or that law, or are we making a good, rational decision here, the people will get it.”
Since his inauguration, Obama has made more than 400 speeches and held over 150 interviews, mostly about his healthcare bill, and somehow “the people” didn’t “get it.” Obama went on to mischaracterize the win in Massachusetts: “The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they’re frustrated, not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.” In a talk recently at Lorain County Community College, Obama said: "You’re running headlong into special interests and armies of lobbyists and partisan politics ... aimed at exploiting fears instead of getting things done, and then you've got ads that are scaring the bejesus out of everybody."
Nothing was mentioned about the American voter’s unhappiness with back-room deals, lack of transparency, increasing government power over people, or spending the country into bankruptcy through unconstitutional takeovers.
According to the Weekly Standard, “It’s full speed ahead on the Obama agenda.” When David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, returned as a member of Obama’s inner circle of advisors last week, his first recommendation was to “pass ObamaCare.”
Former Clinton advisor Dick Morris just exposed a Democratic plan hatched by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi “to sneak Obamacare through Congress, despite collapsing public approval for healthcare ‘reform’ and disintegrating congressional support in the wake of Republican Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. President Obama [and the two congressional leaders] have agreed to the basic framework of the plan.”
Obama’s State of the Union message will continue to offer more government strategies and programs “to get the economy back onto a firmer footing,” according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, including:
• Requiring companies to offer retirement plans to their employees
• Increasing tax credits for retirement savings and child care
• Forcing companies to follow new rules on 401(k) plans
• Increasing child care funding
• Increasing home care funding for aging relatives
• Forcing lending institutions offering student loans to reduce payments on those loans
In other words, Obama is offering to do more of what governments always do: force, require, extend credits, intervene, and spend. These programs never work, according to an editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette “because government creates a job at a cost to the economy that exceeds the cost and value of the job. Money for the job must be raised through taxation, inflation of the money supply, or borrowing. Each option comes at a direct cost to private businesses and individuals in the marketplace.” It added:
A jobs program that costs $10 billion will create jobs. But the $10 billion taken from the economy will eliminate other jobs, and possibly more than were created by government. That’s because private players spend money more efficiently than high-overhead government bureaucracies do.
New jobs created by government are high profile, while jobs lost to pay for them are scattered far and wide.
Mark Ahlseen, economist for The Freeman magazine, wrote, “The political appeal of government spending stems from the fact that the jobs created are noticeable to the average voter, while the handful of jobs lost here and there are not attributed to the government spending program.”
Ron Paul put it this way:
Government attempts to boost the economy through measures such as stimulus packages merely take money from hardworking taxpayers and throw that money into unproductive endeavors, into the sectors of the economy that already suffer from malinvestment or into make-work projects. Washington is throwing good money after bad, wasting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and accomplishing nothing.
Lew Rockwell confirmed the inability of efforts by government to create jobs and stimulate the economy:
As [famed economist] Frédéric Bastiat emphasized, the enormity of the costs of the state can only be discovered in considering its unseen costs: the inventions not brought to market, the businesses not opened, the people whose lives were cut short so that they could not enjoy their full potential, the wealth not used for productive purposes but rather taxed away, the capital accumulation through savings not undertaken because the currency was destroyed and the interest rate held near zero, among an infinitely expandable list of unknowns.
Two Democrat Congressmen offered a tentative first step towards sanity: extend the Bush tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year. Reps. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.) and Mike McMahon (D-N.Y.) sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to the other 433 congressmen: “Allowing these tax rates to expire during this recession runs the risk of curtailing economic expansion just when it begins to pick up and could lead to a ‘double-dip’ recession.” Under Obama’s current budget, the top two tax rates of 33 percent and 35 percent would rise to 36 percent and 39.6 percent respectively in 2011. In addition, the 15 percent rate on capital gains and dividends would rise to 20 percent.
This would hit the class of entrepreneurs and professionals who are most productive in our society.
Apparently the administration is still worried more about the distribution of the golden eggs than the health of the goose. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire is a tax increase for everybody. Much of the burden will be borne by small businesses, which create most of the new jobs. No one has ever gotten a job from a poor person.
That would just be a beginning, of course, and isn’t realistically likely to happen. But it is one more voice of reason, echoing the distress and frustration of the American voter. The people are speaking. The President can’t, or won’t, listen. And so, on Wednesday evening, it will be more of the same.
Photo: AP Images