February 16, 2009
President Obama and the Politics of FearBy Monte Kuligowski
In an unprecedented campaign to sell his trillion-dollar taxpayer spending plan, President Obama has gone beyond talking down the economy. During his first nationally televised news conference, President Obama warned of a pending economic "catastrophe" if Congress doesn't immediately pass and implement his $800 billion-plus economic "stimulus" plan.
Obama's use of fear and coercion to implement his plan of loading the country with insurmountable debt is shockingly reckless and blatantly inappropriate, to say the least.
With the exception of the housing and mortgage industries (which were corrupted by government intervention for social "reinvestment") the aggregate economy was not at crisis level in 2008. Not only was John McCain correct in saying that the fundamentals of the total economy were sound during the campaign; he was also being responsible with his words and with his expression of faith.
Yes, faith. Any economist will tell you that a large component of the free market economy is purely psychological and unscientific. The market goes up and down based on a society's level of confidence. An unshakable confidence will send the market through the roof, whereas fear and insecurity will drive it down into miserly despair.
Though the current recession's "misery index" is half of what it was during the recession of the Carter years, President Obama, according to Fact Check, continues to falsely say that: "We also inherited the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression." One doesn't have to go back to the Great Depression to find a higher unemployment rate. It is currently 7.6 percent. In June of 1992 it was 7.8 percent. In 1982 it reached 10.2 percent.
If Obama keeps talking down the economy with fear mongering and false assertions, I suppose things could eventually get to the misery level of the 1930s.
In case you haven't noticed, the market is scared to death of Barack Obama and his central-control economic plans. On Jan. 20, 2009, the stock market saw its worst Inauguration Day drop in U.S. history -- losing 332 points, sliding the Dow to 7949. On Feb. 10, the day the Senate passed its version of Obama's $838 billion spending plan, the Dow plunged 382 points.
President Obama speaks well of capitalism, correctly noting that the creation of jobs and economic growth "is the role of the private sector." Obama has a way of saying what most people want to hear while doing the exact opposite (like his rhetoric of tax cuts for 95% of Americans). At this point, it should be no surprise that Obama believes "the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life."
By "resources," we must assume Obama is speaking of future tax revenue from which the private sector will attempt to pay back Obama's present and future spending mania.
How burying the tax payers in unprecedented stimulus and reinvestment debt will "jolt" the economy back to life remains to be explained by Obama. Neither has he provided any specifics as to how his "Reinvestment Plan" will translate into ("saving or creating") four million private sector jobs. He can't be speaking of government jobs inasmuch as they produce a tax burden, not economic prosperity.
The word "reinvestment" is code for "spread the wealth around," and those of Obama's mindset believe that taking from the producers and giving to non-producers somehow produces wealth.
In order to reinvest taxpayer money, though, Obama needs the public to believe that without trillions in government intervention the country is doomed to an "irreversible" economic "catastrophe."
The liberal and conservative sentiments as to what the federal government can do to help the economy are as conflicting as night and day. Nevertheless, Obama paints a simplistic picture of conservatives setting "aside smaller differences in service of a greater purpose."
Mr. Obama attempted to both woo and coerce conservative lawmakers into setting aside their core values to prevent a "catastrophic emergency." Republicans were supposed to hastily pledge themselves to The One without the benefit of full scrutiny and disclosure (as to where the money will go) of the plan to the American people. With the exceptions of Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Republicans have stood strong against the frantic rush to "stimulate" the economy.
Obama is Chicago streetwise enough to want Republicans to own with him his plan that is destined to failure (in the sense of reviving the economy). Perhaps sensing the pending catastrophe of his plan, Mr. O adds the disclaimer, "I can't tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope, but I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis...." He doesn't know whether it will work, but has "complete confidence" that things will worsen if it's not passed -- right now.
Obama has been able to control his self-fulfilling prophecy of a worsening stock market by fear mongering and talking down the economy. And, the looming threat of his monstrous, debt-inducing spending package itself is enough to make investors queasy.
President Obama believes that only government can rescue people out of these difficult times. That, unfortunately, is the antithesis to the American spirit as expressed by Thomas Jefferson years ago: "A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free . . . to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.”
The economic crisis is providing Obama with a window of opportunity to “remake America” in one fell swoop. Liberals are rushing in where angels dare to tread.
Monte Kuligowski is an attorney who writes on topics of faith, culture, policy and law. His blog site is duelingnations .com.