Liberal commentators were recently having a great, big if indignant chuckle at the expense of all those tea party yo-yos who didn’t get it that President Obama had a tax cut in mind for them, and that, hey, it was conservatism that brewed the current mess.
There was a lesson in this, namely that at least some if not all pundits of leftist stripe are not infrequently outthought by people of far less pretentiousness, by men and women who understand, for starters, what’s headed our way under Obama’s agenda.
The fact is that the thunder and lightning of the so-called stimulus package is only the first part of an Obama storm. Next comes a budget meant to include domestic spending of a kind we’ve never seen in this country. It would come on top of deficits piled up during the Bush administration and tens of trillions of dollars owed Social Security and Medicare, and, at some point, there will be a price to pay.
That price will be gigantic, and the Obama claim that he can somehow deal with it through taxing the rich, finding greater efficiencies and building a stronger economy through his varied programs is a fraud so big it would embarrass the 19th century showman P.T. Barnum, alleged to have said there’s a sucker born every minute.
If you confiscated 90 percent of the income of the rich every year, it would not be sufficient to pay more than a fraction of the Obama bill, least of all when he is offering tax reductions for everyone else. His administration has yet to detail a single new efficiency that would be more than negligible. As for his restructuring of the economy, here is my advice: Run for the hills.
His health insurance plan is more likely to be economically ruinous than helpful — does anyone take seriously the savings he plans to get through preventative measures? His energy ideas are little short of catastrophic. Restrictions on carbon emissions will affect everyone’s pocketbook adversely. At some point, people will get it that all those new, subsidized "green jobs" will come at the expense of other jobs. They will get it, too, that wind power is pretty much a joke, and solar unbelievably costly.
There will come a day of reckoning, as the tea party attendees emphasized more than just about any other point — evermore gargantuan deficits yanking money out of the private economy, unemployment levels typical of welfare states, higher taxes for everyone and liberty lost in the unfulfilled hope of better serving the common good.
The new, Europe-imitating initiatives are false on many grounds, including the notion that living conditions are better in the semi-socialist states there, that we’ve had a laissez faire economy here in recent times and that, even prior to the current recession, the middle class in this country was suffering as never before and the poor getting poorer because of social inequities.
Poverty numbers have been sustained largely because of cultural issues such as unwed motherhood and have increased largely because of immigration. Government grew and became more economically intrusive in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, and the gap between rich and poor actually grew far more under Clinton’s policies than Bush’s.
Our economy has been freer and therefore more productive than Europe’s, but a country mile’s distance from laissez faire. And despite some real problems such as the cost of homes, typical, individual middle class families had overall been getting richer.
What the left assiduously avoids in its description of the current mess is the major role played by the government in encouraging banks to extend mortgages to bad risks and a congressional failure to heed the Bush administration when it sought reforms at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama-style interventionism has horrendous costs, as many of those people at the tea parties could tell you.
(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. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay(at)aol.com.)