Free Markets, Free People
Per the NYT – How Obama could save Obama (and the Democrats)
This magic formula for doing what the title suggests is courtesy of a New York Times editorial. After the appropriate amount of "the obstructionist GOP", and "poor Obama inherited this mess" whining, the NYT gets down to what it considers to be the brass tacks of the situation:
The question then is whether Mr. Obama will lead. He cannot force Congress to act, but he could pre-empt Republicans’ diatribes — on the deficit, on small business, on taxes — with tough truths and a big mission that would tie together the strategies and the sacrifices that will be needed to put the economy right.
The first sentence pretty much shoots the whole thing in the foot, doesn’t it? Even if you agree 100% with the NYT formula for political success, getting Obama to lead on anything is simply not very likely. He’s not a leader in a job that demands such a type. He’s, at best, a policy wonk. And judging by his economic policies not a very good one.
But back to the magic show that the NYT claims could save the left. Per the editorial, the country needs “tough truths” and a “big mission” with which to motivate the people enough to “put the economy right”.
Here’s an idea – how about policies which enable businesses by providing incentives to get off the cash they’re piling up, expand and hire? Settle the markets down by backing off government regulation, and intrusiveness. Back off new taxes and roll back some old ones. Stop spending money we don’t have. Make a real attempt to address the deficit.
Mr. Obama also needs to inspire Americans who have been ground down by the economic crisis and Washington’s small-bore sniping. He needs to rally the nation around a big idea — a project that is worth sacrificing for, worth paying for, worth working for. One that lets them know that there is more ahead than just a return to a status quo of lopsided growth in which corporate profits surge while jobs and incomes lag.
That mission could be the “21st century infrastructure,” that Mr. Obama mentioned on a multi-city trip this month, “not just roads and bridges, but faster Internet access and high-speed rail.” It could be energy independence, with high-tech green jobs and a real chance for addressing global warming. Either of the above would make sense, economically and politically.
Mr. Obama and his economic team had clearly hoped for an economic rebound in time for the midterm elections. They are not going to get it. The economic damage they inherited was too deep, and the economic stimulus they pushed through Congress, for all of the fight, was too small. Standing back is not doing the country or his party any good. We believe Americans are ready for hard truths and big ideas.
Wait – didn’t we just pour almost a trillion borrowed dollars into that “big mission”? Wasn’t it all about shovel ready infrastructure projects? And hasn’t it been a spectacular failure.
Certainly there are “infrastructure” needs that require addressing. But when you have an official unemployment rate of 9.5% (and an unofficial and much more accurate one well into double digits), people aren’t going to be impressed by “faster internet” and “green projects” that never seem to get anywhere and cost and arm and a leg. And high-speed rail? Really?
Oh, and the “chance to address global warming” is what – a chance to increase taxes, cripple businesses and make it even less likely that unemployment will improve. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Anyone who thinks people hurting economically would be impressed with this nonsense, even if Obama could and would lead, have to be living in an ivory tower somewhere. People want jobs, not high speed rail or faster internet. They don’t care if their job is a ‘green job’, they just want a freakin’ job. And global warming – the majority of the population doesn’t even agree it’s happening much less wanting costly government programs that address it by taking money from them.
Why is it the left doesn’t seem to understand that it is time to put the agenda aside and focus on the nuts and bolts of creating jobs? The need is immediate – not some 5 to 10 years away.
The reason is because such a focus would mean actually admitting that their present agenda is hurting such an effort as well as acknowledging that government may not be the answer (instead, getting government out of the way actually is the answer).
So we get these sorts of pathetic pleas to a man who couldn’t lead a group of 5 year olds to an ice cream truck to essentially keep the agenda alive by disguising it as something it is not – a way to fix our economic problems.
Clue to the NYT. Yes, the people are open for tough talk about shared sacrifice. The rally in DC this weekend underlines that. Here’s the problem for the left – the sacrifice they first want and expect to see is at the expense of this bloated, wasteful and ineffective national government that has its fingers in way to many pies. Until they see real spending cuts, real downsizing and real governmental reform that benefits them and the engine of the economy – businesses – they’re uninterested in any nonsense about more government or more government spending or 21st century agendas.
To continue a theme, this ain’t rocket science, but it certainly is something that seems to be beyond the capacity of the left to grasp. As it turns out, November will most likely reward them properly for their consistent inability to do so.