June 16, 2009
Hell No, We Won't GoBy Randy Fardal
In a nationally televised address on August 4, 1964, US President Lyndon Johnson announced that North Vietnam had launched two unprovoked attacks on American military ships. Within three days of Johnson's TV appearance, lawmakers passed the bipartisan Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and Mr. Johnson had started the ill-fated Vietnam War.
Political analysts say the crisis helped Mr. Johnson defeat former military pilot and war veteran, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, in the 1964 presidential election. (Employing a Democrat gimmick still used today, Johnson also portrayed Goldwater as racist.) "Conspiracy kooks" charged that Johnson lied about the second attack and they also charged that even the first attack was not unprovoked. Eventually those kooks would be proven right.
Likewise, in the run-up to the 2008 election, Democrats provoked or at least exploited an economic crisis. In July, a Democrat Senator caused a run on IndyMac Bank. In September, the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, organizations that had been mismanaged under the guidance of Democrat lawmakers and their political cronies. Like a chain of falling dominoes, the Democrat-caused housing bubble also took down Lehman Brothers and AIG.
In response, the Democrat Congress rushed to pass bipartisan legislation called the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, a vague $700B bailout bill. Former military pilot and war veteran, Arizona Senator John McCain, foolishly suspended his presidential campaign and hurried to Washington to lend bipartisan support to his Democrat colleagues. On October 1, he voted for the bill, which helped elect his opponent, Barack Obama, and start a war on free enterprise.
The End Justifies the Means
Johnson's defenders argue that, conspiracy or not, the US government had to stop the advance of Communism in Southeast Asia, and the Vietnam War at least slowed that advance. Likewise, today's Democrats argue that, conspiracy or not, the advance of private enterprise must be stopped with more taxes, regulation and politicized bankruptcies.
Johnson's detractors say that the cost of the Vietnam War was too high -- 365,000 Americans killed, wounded, or MIA -- and the Communists ultimately prevailed anyway. Some claim that intervention actually made things worse, since the Cambodian Communists probably would not have murdered an estimated 1-3 million civilians had Americans not interfered in the region. Likewise, many economists now say that the cost of Mr. Obama's war on free enterprise is too high and companies like General Motors would have gone bankrupt anyway. Intervention only made things worse.
Those that philosophically support Mr. Johnson's Vietnam War still find it difficult to justify his tactics. Johnson's predecessor, President Kennedy, added military advisors until there were 16,000 of them in Vietnam at the time he was assassinated. If Kennedy's actions were an honorable quest to preserve freedom and prosperity for mankind, Johnson's were a selfish quest for money and power. Johnson narcissistically ran the war from the Oval Office to exploit the conflict for political gains.
Likewise, those that philosophically support Mr. Obama's war on free enterprise are growing uneasy over his tactics. Mr. Obama exploited populist demands for more regulations and billionaire taxes, but added payoffs to union cronies, seizures of private businesses, wage controls, trade restraints, oil and gas drilling bans, and massive tax increases on energy -- effectively, a national sales tax. And like Mr. Johnson, President Obama is attempting to run his war from the Oval Office.
War Profiteers Emerge
As in all wars, government contractors made a lot of money in the Vietnam War. And whenever the words "government" and "money" appear in the same sentence, there inevitably is a temptation for bribery, corruption, and waste. President Eisenhower had warned of a growing "military-industrial complex" and that term was used disparagingly about the Johnson administration as he escalated the war.
Today, pension plan managers and other bondholders protest that the United Auto Workers union is profiting unfairly from Obama's war on free enterprise. The UAW was a large contributor to Mr. Obama's presidential campaign. Union leaders argue that they "need" those billions in taxpayer-funded bailout money to cover their future healthcare liabilities. But if Mr. Obama's healthcare takeover is successful, the UAW will reap windfall profits by offloading those expenses to American taxpayers.
General Electric CEO, Jeff Immelt, claimed last month that his company sells "about 70" green products, representing about $18B in revenue this year. But it seems unlikely that all of those products would be economically viable in a free market without American taxpayer subsidies and tax credits.
Some say the global "green" movement is the new home of neo-Marxists. Others say it's a leftist organized religion. Under Don Obama, it seems more like organized crime.
GE owns NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, and CNBC television networks. NBC has promoted GE's taxpayer-subsidized products in its "Green Week" news features. For instance, NBC Nightly News ran segments with an FPL spokesman that advocated a nationalized electricity grid. But reporter Anne Thompson neglected to mention that NBC parent company GE supplied many, if not all, of FPL's installed base of thousands of taxpayer-subsidized wind turbines. She did report that a nationalized power grid would benefit the wind and solar utilities because most are located far from existing high voltage lines, but she neglected to disclose that many of those utilities are GE customers.
Imagine the leftist howls if Halliburton bought NBC and then sought to generate more profits by running a series of "Drill, Baby, Drill" news features. --Especially if it did not disclose any potential conflict of interest.
Mr. Immelt is a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Think of it as Mr. Obama's military advisors in his war on free enterprise. According to reports last month, 15 of the 16 board members are carbon tax advocates and at least six, including Mr. Immelt, stand to gain financially from the recommendations they give to Mr. Obama. The board's sole defender of free enterprise is Harvard economist Martin Feldstein. When 15 hyenas and one gazelle vote on what to have for dinner, guess who gets devoured.
Like the Vietnam War, Obama's war on free enterprise also has "chicken hawks". Lawmakers boldly demand that taxpayers sacrifice by paying more taxes, driving dangerous cars, surrendering their family businesses, and accepting lower quality healthcare. Meanwhile, they refuse to cut government spending, instead borrowing trillions of dollars to grow it by record amounts. Government bureaucrats also continue to get generous healthcare and retirement benefits. "Draftees" in Obama's war are crippled or killed in micro-cars while Obama enjoys taxpayer-funded limousines and jets.
During the Vietnam War, draft dodgers fled to Canada for asylum. Ironically, in the global war on free enterprise, Canadian "draftees" have been fleeing to America to avoid injury or death in Canada's government-run healthcare system. As Mr. Obama escalates his war on free enterprise to attack the American healthcare system, where will our healthcare dodgers go to find safety? Mexico?
Mr. Johnson's Vietnam War soon began to destroy his presidency. On April 15, 1967, 400,000 anti-war protestors gathered in New York's Central Park and shouted slogans such as "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" and "Hell no, we won't go!" Protests continued to intensify, and less than a year later, Johnson was forced out of the 1968 presidential race.
Will Mr. Obama suffer the same fate as Mr. Johnson? Similarities abound, as Mr. Obama carpet bombs American car dealerships and banks, runs up debt and inflation, and creates an elite class of war profiteers and government bureaucrats while a growing number of civilians are out of work. As Mr. Obama's micro-cars replace safer ones in dealer showrooms, perhaps outraged car buyers will picket and chant "Hey, hey, Obama CAFE, how many kids did you kill today?"
A little-publicized Rasmussen poll recently indicated that a plurality of Americans (45 to 36 percent) now thinks that Mr. Obama's trillion-dollar stimulus spending should be cancelled. Americans want the government to pull out of Obama's war on free enterprise. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama wants to escalate the war by spending the stimulus money even faster. He might as well start dropping it from B-52s.
President Johnson's media initially disparaged the Vietnam protestors as "extremists", just as President Obama's sycophant media disparage the Tea Party protestors today. But eventually, even the most influential partisan newscaster, Walter Cronkite, stopped supporting Mr. Johnson. Likewise, today's newscasters gradually will realize that Mr. Obama's war on free enterprise is unjust, costly, and divisive, and they will say so publicly. If that happens before the 2010 election, perhaps Mr. Obama's corrupt war can be stopped in just two years, rather than four, and Americans again will be able to enjoy free and prosperous lives.