Free Markets, Free People


Dear Obama: Really?

The NYT’s White House reporters got an exclusive interview with Pres. Obama, and one of the pressing questions on their minds was what his ideology is.  They asked if, given his spending priorities, he is a socialist, to which he said no, and when they asked if he was a “liberal” or a “progressive” or any other one-word answer, he declined to comment.  I can understand him saying that.

But then, after the interview, the president called the reporters back, like he’d thought up a really good zinger after the fact:

It was hard for me to believe you were entirely serious about that socialist question. I did think it might be useful to point out that it wasn’t under me that we started buying a whole bunch of shares of banks. It wasn’t on my watch. And it wasn’t on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement – the prescription drug plan without a source of funding. And so I think it’s important just to note when you start hearing folks thro[w] these words around that we’ve actually been operating in a way that is entirely consistent with free-market principles and that some of the same folks who are throwing the word ‘socialist’ around can’t say the same.

Q. So who[se] watch are we talking about here?

A. [*Chuckle*] Well, I just think it’s clear by the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system. And the thing I constantly try to emphasize to people is that if, coming in, the market was doing fine, nobody would be happier than me to stay out of it. I have more than enough to do without having to worry the financial system. And the fact that we’ve had to take these extraordinary measures and intervene is not an indication of my ideological preferences, but an indication of the degree to which lax regulation and extravagant risk-taking has precipitated a crisis.

This is bittersweet, because on the one hand, he clears up any misconception that Bush was effectively conservative (or as John Kerry claimed, extreme libertarian).  He says, to his credit, that buying up shares of banks and passing a massive new entitlement (or at least one financed by borrowing) are inconsistent with free-market principles.

I like how Obama says that the financial bailout wasn’t on his watch, when he voted for it as a Senator.  But he’s right about Bush.  With Obama’s help, a Republican president did dump mountains of wealth into the thermal boreholes of the most heavily regulated sector of the economythat’s the financial sector, dear reader, although health care is way up there.  And afterward, Bush was frank enough to admit that he had “abandoned free-market principles,” although he had the monumental cheek to say he had done so “to save the free-market system.”

But on the other hand, Obama claims that his team’s been operating in a way that is “entirely consistent with free-market principles“!  I feel like launching into one of those “Really!?!” segments from SNL, only less funny and more desperate.

Really, Mr. President?  And you’re not shoveling piles of taxpayer money into the financial system?  You’re not planning any massive expansions of entitlement spending?  Really? And you’re going to come up with a source of funding for all of this?  Without taxing anyone but the top two five percent?  Really.

Really, Mr. President, all you’ve talked about since this crisis started is how everyone in the private sector needs a regulatory cavity search deep enough to do a ventriloquist act.  As if what we really need is more Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC and FASB rule changes because it was our lax regulation that all those businesses ran overseas to escape.

And if I’m putting together a line-up of who caused the “extravagant risk-taking” like the massive overborrowing that inflated the residential real estate bubble, shouldn’t my first suspects be Fannie & Freddie, the Fed and government subsidies?

Your response to this crisis is to borrow more money to subsidize energy, public transportation, public education and state-mandated health care, and really, isn’t that what the free market is all about?  Thanks for the assurances that you’re not in favor of bigger government.

Your budget, the stimulus, that second stimulus you hinted at, and rescuing all those giant institutions, some of them for the second and third time: these are all entirely consistent with free-market principles?  I mean, really.

Someone help me out.  Exactly which free-market principles has the president adhered to, either in his campaign promises or in his actions in office?  Tell me why Obama is not mistaken or lying.

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14 Responses to Dear Obama: Really?

  • Really Mr. President?  You just had a “health care summit” where not one single free market advocate was invited, yet your administration is operating entirely within free market principles?  Really?

  • Its amazing he can claim it wasn’t his problem when he voted for it. Why doesn’t a reporter ask him about it? Same with the “inherited deficit” business. Did he or did he not vote for budgets was Senator?

  • TAO has figured it out: MiniTru will accept anything he says at face value and pass it along as fact.  Whether they are doing this out of stupidity, laziness, or as part of an ongoing effort to continue to cover for him is a matter for debate.  The fact remains: as far as MiniTru is concerned, if he says it, it must be so.

  • Politicans are in the business of lying.  Obama is a VERY good politican.

  • He’s gonna ride the “It’s Bush’s Fault” horse until it collapses.

    Was he a Senator for the past couple years? I forget these things sometimes. I suppose he does also. And the media as well

  • I’m still certain that he thinks capital gains are either a population increase in D.C. or the start of a comeback in a capitals game.

    • Heh, you must have really enjoyed his “profits to earnings ratio” comment.

  • Amateur hour continues.  To call his presidency “Jimmy Carter II” is an insult to Jimmy Carter.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • Here I am back with my every-so-often reminder of how postmodernist thought permeates the political left, and how that explains so many things that don’t make sense to Enlightenment thinkers.

    With postmodernism, it’s perfectly acceptable to redefine terms to mean what you want or need them to mean. If words had fixed meanings, that would be a “fact”, and postmodernism is based on replacing the Enlightenment concept of “fact” with “viewpoint”, i.e. opinion.

    So a postmodern leftist sees no contradiction in redefining “free market” to mean something other that what it used to mean or still means to some people. Obama isn’t lying; he’s just using postmodern principles of argument.

    For an even more obvious example, refer back to this thread, in which Harry Reid completely redefines the word “voluntary”. Even though he sounds like a dishonest idiot in the video, as I discussed in the comments:

    If you strapped a lie detector to Harry Reid during this exchange, I’m convinced it would show that he thought he was telling the literal truth. There’s no deception in his mind in redefining “voluntary” to mean whatever he needs it to mean, as long as his ultimate objectives are moral in his mind. His long term objectives are in line with leftist, government-control principles, and he will *literally* say anything to defend those objectives.

  • WHO is calling the shots for Obama? Seriously. It’s beyond apparent we have a sockmonkey as President who requires teleprompters and Others to advise him on what he should think. Soros, are you behind this again? Kudos man, if you pulled this off.

    • HatlessHessian – WHO is calling the shots for Obama? Seriously. It’s beyond apparent we have a sockmonkey as President who requires teleprompters and Others to advise him on what he should think.

      While it’s not difficult to suspect that TAO is a sockpuppet, I think that this gives him too little credit (blame?) for what’s going on.  What we’re seeing out of the administration in the way of ruining the economy and the truly amateurish fumbles in foreign affairs doesn’t have the hallmarks of a guiding, master brain, either on or behind the throne.  Rather, they bear the marks of… well… a vain, lazy dilettante who substitutes a twisted ideology for a practical understanding of the world (when he’s not too “exhausted” to do anything but munch on Wagyu, that is).  If TAO has any “saving” grace, it’s laziness.  From a few articles we’ve read in the British press, he has no interest in foreign affairs.  Can you imagine the outcome if he applied himself to diplomacy as he has the economy???

  • Someone elsewhere made the wonderfully astute observation that Obama hasn’t *inherited* anything…

    … he *bought* it.

  • My opinion is that from what he promised during his campaign and what he’s been doing about those promises, he’s doing a good job so far and he isn’t a big liar (after all, I believe most if not all politicians lie and are crooks at some point) as many perceive. How his projects are turning out is a whole different story. Some are working, some aren’t, and some need intensive debates before being carried out (and totally different than originally intended, mind you).

  • It’s also an indication that Obama realizes just how accurate and *dangerous* to him the socialist tag is that he’s making special calls to the NYT to try to deflect