The Befuddling Cluelessness of The Obama Administration
The befuddling clueless of the Obama Administration begins at the top. Again, it must be asked: does the man actually believe the blather he says, or is he just attempting to get an effect (reelection)? Unlike the run-up to the 2008 elections, Obama can no longer credibly play the ‘trust me’ card; America has seen what he’s done to the country and he no doubt feels the situation must be addressed in some manner.
(Note: I set up my own Obama-like straw man with the above question because there is no reason it has to be an “either or” question. It can be an “and” question, that is, that he believes his own blather and is trying to get a reelection effect.)
Consider three consecutive paragraphs from his speech in Osawatomie, Kansas:
Today, even higher-skilled jobs, like accountants and middle management can be outsourced to countries like China or India. And if you’re somebody whose job can be done cheaper by a computer or someone in another country, you don’t have a lot of leverage with your employer when it comes to asking for better wages or better benefits, especially since fewer Americans today are part of a union.
Today, the only unions that are making a go of it seem to be those organized by employees of the government, that is, teacher unions and government employee unions at every level. Obama’s double-down on class warfare as an early campaign theme is self-evident, but I’d bet if you asked the President and he replied truthfully, he’d say he believes in Darwinism: self-selection, beneficial adaptations, and survival of the fittest… except as it applies to economics.
In the case of the economy, he’d offer that massive government intervention is not just useful, but that it’s necessary. The President probably has a whole shelf full of trophies, plaques, and ribbons from his childhood which say “Participant,” which he incorrectly equates with “Winner.” The lesson, to me, and I may be a voice crying in the wilderness, is that there are winners in China and India and America needs to be able to compete in the marketplace, and as Darwin might say, or die.
Next, it is politically useful to try and co-opt the name of a revered member of the opposition, and having tried to use Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower in the past, Obama now attempts to draw on Teddy Roosevelt (never mind that TR could be thought of as the very opposite of Obama’s own crony capitalist meme, yet in other regards, it seemed TR was as economically intrusive as were “conservative” Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls. With Nixon, and of course, Carter, perhaps Obama truly shares more).
Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.
“There is a certain crowd” is one of Obama’s favorite straw men. He must have a nearly unlimited supply of straw men given his nearly unending use of “Some say (something ridiculous) but I say (something profound).” While that’s merely disingenuous, a bigger problem seems to be Obama doesn’t think the market will take care of much of anything, and that’s why it has to be massively regulated by the government. However, the lessons of history show when the market takes care of nothing, totalitarianism, black markets, and human suffering follow. It’s practically mathematical in its precision, even though the timeline varies.
At this point, Obama provides more evidence of his truly dizzying intellect:
Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.
This is where the true befuddling cluelessness of Obama stands alone. Parsing out his statements (scripted, staffed, coordinated, and read from a teleprompter), you can derive this: he doesn’t think that we should have a healthy skepticism of too much government. You can also see Obama ignores or dismisses many economic elephants in the living room and other inconvenient truths: postwar, much of the world (except the U.S.) lay in ruins, incapable of even feeding itself; there was massive pent-up U.S. demand following the war. Finally, the “boom” of the ‘60s was fueled by deficit government spending: emerging transfer programs; the Vietnam and Cold Wars; the space program. In the ‘70s, we reaped the whirlwind of such foolishness and given the President’s lame ideas, appear ready again today.
Merging the befuddling cluelessness and inexperience of the President with the Chicago-style politics of Obamaland means the diet always starts tomorrow. Two obvious issues are that 1) problems seldom age well and 2) Obama’s methods are unsound.