Public opinion can be very fickle. Barack Obama has ridden a positive wave of opinion all the way to the White House. The public has welcomed him into office in that same spirit of hope in which he ran. Since the inauguration, however, the President is showing he has different plans than the ones he spoke about during the campaign. It should come as no surprise when the public turns on him just as easily as he has turned on them.
The contradictions between Obama's words and actions are many. He opposes big government, and then he vastly expands it. He says he favors bipartisanship, but doesn't practice it. He says he is against earmarks, and then signs the largest pork package in history. And that is just to name a few.
Such inconsistencies are contributing to a lack of confidence in Obama and his economic policies. The budget deficits he proposes are staggering. The trillions of dollars he wants to spend are incomprehensible. There is no evidence that stimulative government spending even works. Obama is apparently racing to remake America in a socialist mold before public sentiment turns against him. One wonders whether his political capital will run out before financial capital of the country runs out.
There is simply no way the government can pay for this level of spending unless it prints money it doesn't have and debases the dollar. His numbers do not add up. Larger deficits are not the solution to a debt crisis.
Not that it is Obama's fault, but throw in Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, and we effectively have placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy. Obama addresses this looming crisis only in generalities, but his spending plans bring national bankruptcy closer to reality
Obama's overriding goal seems to government control of more of the society and economy. He claims that by redoing health, education and energy policies he can cure the economy. It is a ruse by which government can control ever more of our daily life.
If he truly wanted the economy to improve, Obama would simply make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Having some certainty about low tax rates would do much to help the economy. But that does not fit with his plans to enact the most radical social change we have ever seen.
Over the past decade, the United States has become ever more dependent on foreign investment in its Treasury Bills, primarily by China and Japan. The willingness of these investors to continue to purchasing trillions in U.S. debt has become ever more questionable as they have seen the U.S. economy deteriorate. If they ever walk away, our economy could collapse.
So, where does this all leave Barack Obama?
In the past, excessive taxation and spending policies have caused the economy to contract. High unemployment then followed, and increased government spending caused the budget deficit to soar. The central bank then tried to solve the problem by printing more money leading to higher inflation, punishing family budgets and the dollar.
Usually by this point an alarmed public turns to conservatives to clean up the mess. Think Margaret Thatcher in 1979, and Ronald Reagan in 1980. Could this pattern portend the end for Barack Obama? Not necessarily. Before conservatives can recover, Obama is hoping to shift the fundamental structure of our economy away from individual self-reliance toward a type of Euro-socialism. We will see which way it plays out.
It's a shame Obama uses his oratory gifts to punish rather than inspire personal achievement. He will likely continue on his merry path until his polls collapse and the public rejects him. The tipping point may be an international incident such as an Arab-Israeli war, Russian aggression, or some other crisis. With the weak domestic economy, and an Obama kumbaya response in a time of emergency, the whole illusion of "change you can believe in" could be laid bare.
By the time the bloom comes off this fanciful presidency, will conservatives have found their voice? Will Obama then reinvent himself with some Bill Clinton-style triangulation plan? Probably not. More likely, he has already shown us his best act and will slowly morph into a finger-pointing demagogue as his polls fade. If anyone else were president and deceptively trying to enact his programs, a full-scale revolt would already be underway.
But for now, Obama is still a curiosity to whom many are willing to give a chance. Political correctness still holds sway, and Tea Parties are about as rebellious as it gets. In due time, the public will judge this man and his policies more clearly, and calls to stop him will grow louder. Let's hope it's not too late before that happens.