Wednesday, 05 May 2010

Crises in America? Big Government Is Not the Solution

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Barack Obama’s presidency has been plagued with crises that appear to be increasing more rapidly in the past few weeks. As if American involvement in two wars while struggling with one of the worst economic crises in the last 50 years wasn’t enough, Obama’s workload has been increased by a catastrophic oil spill, turmoil on the border of Mexico, and an attempted car bombing in New York City.

MSNBC says that in addition to the aforementioned, the Obama administration is still saddled with the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, appointing a new Supreme Court justice, and preparations to write financial reform.

All of this with just a few months away from midterm elections.

According to Stephen Hess, presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution and advisor to Presidents Ford and Carter, “Obama, in a sense, didn’t create any of these situations. But the public, as they do with all presidents, holds him responsible for all of them.”

Of course, one big reason why Obama and other modern-day Presidents have so much to do is that the Executive Branch has increasingly usurped powers that, under our Constitution, are delegated to Congress or are not delegated to the federal government at all. The President, for example, is not supposed to be busying himself managing the nation's economy. A former American President, Calvin Coolidge, once said that "the business of America is business." But he did not try to manage the market and presumably was a lot less busier than Obama. Yet, who could argue credibly that we did not have better government back then. Unlike President Obama, President Cooledge operated within the limits of the Constitution.

But Hess’ words still ring true, particularly when one considers how President George W. Bush was blamed for the problems that he inherited from his predecessor Bill Clinton, from an economy on the brink of recession, to a growing threat of terrorism and a weakened military. Yet little sympathy or leeway was afforded to Bush, neither from the media, nor from the Left. 

The question is, who in the future will take the blame for Obama’s current mistakes.

You see, it's fair to say that President Obama should not be assigned blame for America’s involvement in two wars, nor for the recession that he inherited from Clinton and Bush Jr., but Obama’s policies have certainly exacerbated America’s financial turmoil and if continued, has the potential to cause the American economy to collapse under its own weight.

Granted, President George W. Bush increased the federal budget by $700 billion through 2008, a once historic number. That is, until Obama took office. Since President Obama took office a mere two years ago, the federal deficit has increased by $1 trillion.

President Obama often blames President Bush for increasing the deficit through expensive financial bailouts, which may be true, but Obama himself has accelerated that course and made it worse.

While President Bush can be blamed for creating a Medicare drug entitlement that is expected to cost $800 billion in one decade, the down payment alone for Obamacare is $634 billion.

Obama’s defenders may cry, “He’s targeting the people responsible for the economic crisis: Goldman Sachs!” But the recent Obama/SEC slaps at Goldman Sachs (GS) are pure eyewash aimed at assuaging and manipulating public anger over the incestuous  Washington/Wall Street relationship. The Obama administration has continued the ongoing incest with Goldman Sachs (nearly $1 million in campaign funds from GS, and GS men appointed to key administration posts). In fact, Goldman Sachs stands to make a lot of money off of that relationship through the Chicago Climate Exchange, particularly if Obama succeeds in forcing “cap and trade” upon unsuspecting Americans.

So before Obama is absolved of guilt for our economic struggles, perhaps Hess should carefully examine the damage that Obama’s administration managed to cause in a mere two years.

Now how about blame for the oil spill? While British Petroleum bears the guilt for the explosion, our government officials failed to follow their own 1994 Response plan, which calls for the immediate burning of oil by use of hydro-fire booms. Had they done so, the effects may have been minimized. According to MSNBC, however, the government did not have one fire boom handy until eight days later when they found a single one at Elastec/American Marine, a Chicago company. They then were forced to borrow some from outside the country. How far have we sunk when we must resort to begging to borrow expensive equipment from another country?

An even better solution would have been to require private oil companies to have such equipment available as a condition of their oil lease agreement. It is, after all, their responsibility, not the federal government's, to ensure that their operations are environmentally safe.

Worse than the presence of the national crises is this. On the Wall Street Journal Digital Network in 2008, Obama’s Chief of Staff said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Everyday, we are seeing the truth of those words come to light. 

For example, what has been the federal government’s response to the massive oil spill? Stop off-shore drilling, of course! When the White House was asked if they might pause all off-shore drilling, Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior David Hayes admitted “everything is on the table.” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confessed “Could [the oil spill] possibly change [Obama’s] viewpoint? Well, of course.”

Stopping all off-shore drilling falls right in line with Obama’s radical green agenda. What luck! Not for the rest of America, though. Eric Bolling of the Fox Business Network estimates that if that were to happen, gas prices can rise to $10 a gallon.

When Americans faced crises related to healthcare, Obama’s solution was for the government to take over the entire health care program, one-sixth of the American economy. More big government? Jackpot. While they were at it, they tossed in the student loan program as well. Likewise, the housing market crisis has prompted the government takeover of 90 percent of housing finance.

The last time the American government attempted this much regulation was under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Unfortunately, as noted by Alonzo Hamby, distinguished History Professor at Ohio University and author of several books, “FDR quite simply failed to end the Depression.... The New Deal’s relief programs never provided for more than half the unemployed at any one time. Its first industrial recovery program, the National Recovery Administration, was a crashing failure. Roosevelt’s subsequent resort to polarizing politics of class conflict probably did him political good but surely got in the way of economic revival.”

Yet Obama argues, “Some of the criticisms are with the basic idea that government should intervene at all in this moment of crisis. You have some people very sincere who philosophically just think that government has no business in the marketplace and, in fact, there are several who suggested that FDR was wrong to intervene back in the New Deal.”

On the February 8 episode of Glenn Beck’s Fox News program, he compared FDR’s spending to Obama’s. In 1941, FDR spent 12 percent of the GDP, the highest percentage of his entire presidency. Obama’s lowest projected spending between 2009 and 2015 hovers around 25 percent, with a minimum of 22.8 percent for 2013. I think we have a winner.

Ronald Reagan had it right when he declared, “Government is not the solution to the problem — government is the problem.” And regardless of whether his administration actually put these words into practice, they are still correct. Until Obama comes to this realization, he will continue to shoulder the blame for the crises, particularly as he continues to aggravate them.

But then again, one man’s crisis is another’s opportunity to seize power and increase the size of the federal government.

Obama can probably rest assured knowing that the next president will have to shoulder the blame for Obama’s mistakes. After all, the media works itself into a frenzy rewriting history and defending Obama’s actions on a daily basis.

Unfortunately for him, as long as this reporter is writing and people like Glenn Beck are on air, we will not let America forget.

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