A Disastrous Presidency
After almost three years of disastrous governance, all Barack Obama and the Democrats have left is the politics of bitterness and envy. He can't run on his record -- not with unemployment high and the economy in shambles.
It didn't have to be this way. Obama let Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and every other crackpot Democrat write his Stimulus Bill. In the end, he spent a trillion dollars insulating union members and government employees from the effects of the economic downturn, while the rest of us suffered.
The Stimulus could have consisted of permanent tax cuts for business, allowing capitalist competition to direct funds to its most profitable uses, thereby accelerating economic growth and providing jobs, but Barack Obama does not like profit and its trickle-down wealth.
Instead, in service of Obama's preferred policy of trickle up poverty, we funded non-shovel-ready construction projects and flushed billions down the low-flow toilet of green energy, while giving the rest of the Stimulus funds to the states to cover their budgetary shortfalls. Stimulus dollars bought us green energy boondoggles, un-built roads, and more government, with zero economic growth and increased unemployment. Millions of private citizens lost their jobs, while the government added 230,000 workers and crony capitalists grew fat.
The administration diverted TARP funds to rescue GM and Chrysler, while flipping the order of secured and unsecured creditors. Obama may have saved the UAW, but at what cost? The UAW was made whole, while some secured creditors had to take fifteen cents on the dollar. Will any investor ever purchase secured debt from GM again? If secured creditors don't have primacy in bankruptcy, what is the point of being a secured creditor?
Fresh from roiling the credit markets with the auto bailouts, the president then encouraged and signed into law the Dodd-Frank financial reform, a law so complicated that no one knows what's in it. The uncertainty felt by financial markets won't abate until the administration finishes writing the rules. In the interim, homeowners can't get mortgages and businesses can't get loans.
In 2007, the last year with a budget controlled by a Republican Congress and president, the deficit was $161 billion. The non-stimulating Stimulus exploded the budget baseline, raising the percentage of GDP consumed by the government from 20% to 25%, resulting in the $1.6-trillion deficits we have today. Looking at employment and the economy, it's clear that the nation has received nothing for the $5 trillion Barack Obama has added to the national debt. Instead of capitalist competition, we've had an explosion of crony capitalism. With the government picking winners and losers, we have replaced Adam Smith's invisible hand with Barack Obama's thumb.
Take solar panel manufacturer Solyndra as an example. The administration put a half a billion dollars into a company with financial ties to a group headed by Obama campaign donor George Kaiser. The administration structured the loan to give the group's investment precedence over the American taxpayer now that the company is being liquidated through bankruptcy. Its business plan consisted of producing a product for $1 and selling it for $0.75, while hoping to make up for the deficit in volume.
The entire green agenda, which the president has been pushing since day one, is flawed policy. Alternative energy sources such as wind and solar are too expensive to be price-competitive with coal, natural gas, and oil. Yet Obama's plan is not to find a way to get the cost of alternative energy down; it is to make the price of fossil fuel energy "skyrocket" until alternative energy is cheap by comparison.
Liberals tried to make this happen with Cap and Trade, an insanity that died an ignoble death in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Well, as Barack Obama said, there's "more than one way to skin a cat." The administration is working diligently through the EPA, the Department of the Interior, and myriad other agencies to destroy all energy production in America. Take for example the president's war on coal. Barack Obama has famously said that he would "bankrupt" coal-fired power plants. Coal, which produces 50% of the nation's electricity, could be replaced by nuclear power, with its zero emissions, but the administration won't allow that, either. The president's plan is to remove coal without replacing the generating capacity. This will reduce America to a land of rolling blackouts.
Energy is also about employment. The gulf lost 40,000 jobs when the president decided it was best to shut down all oil production after the BP oil spill. The approval for Keystone XL Pipeline sits on his desk, awaiting his signature. It would connect Canadian oil from the tar sands of Alberta with refineries in Cushing, Oklahoma and Nederland, Texas, while providing 20,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs.
With recent discoveries and improvements in drilling techniques, some have called America the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. America also has the largest oil reserves in the world; the Bakken Formation alone is said to contain more than 11 billion barrels. Home heating costs, electricity, and gasoline are expensive because our leaders have for years instituted policies to make it so. If we as a nation were allowed to tap America's abundance of fossil fuel reserves, not only would we realize energy independence, but we could probably get unemployment down to the 5% level liberals once derisively called the jobless recovery of George W. Bush. But Barack Obama doesn't care about jobs. He is an ideologue, and in his mind, we should be willing to suffer for what he believes in.
This is a deliberate policy by the administration in response to global warming, which in essence is a scheme by which we destroy our economy today to prevent what might happen a hundred years from now. If given another term, Barack Obama will spend all his time shutting down energy production. In a few years, his policies will give America $10-a-gallon gasoline and electric bills triple what they are today. And none of it will make a difference, because the world's biggest polluter, China, is not as willing as Barack Obama to sacrifice prosperity on a possibility.
Last year, the president and his minions pushed Obamacare down the nation's throat, taking over one sixth of the economy. The health care legislation was written by the same people who wrote the Stimulus: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and every other crackpot Democrat. It is such an abomination that some estimates say it has already cost the nation 800,000 jobs, and it has not even been fully implemented yet.
As a result of his administration's endless stream of anti-business regulations, failed stimulus, scandals, the pro-union NLRB, all the executive orders and signing statements, the endless class warfare, the accusations of racism from his supporters, the obvious incompetence of the president and his appointees, his elitism, and all the vacations and golf, Obama has gone from messiah and the one "we've been waiting for" to an abject failure of a president.
Barack Obama is a perfect storm. If he had intended to destroy the economy and trash employment while exploding the deficit and the national debt, he couldn't have done a better job.
There will be no more hope and change from Barack Obama. It will be the politics of bitterness and envy from here on in. After all, that's the only thing Obama's good at.