Leftist journalists and intellectual insist that Barack Obama is a moderate, and even credit him as a defender of capitalism, in an effort to refute the charge he is leading America toward socialism. A recent article, "How Obama Saved Capitalism and Lost the Midterms" by Timothy Egan in the N.Y.Times is a perfect example of the disconnect between the elitist left, in this case a Pulitzer Prize winning one, and reality.
I have personally encountered variants of the same argument from progressives around me. The argument usually goes something like "Obama has done nothing that Bush himself did not do (bank and auto company bailouts), therefore you cannot call him a socialist." Excuse me? We, TEA Party types, are not usually accustomed to defending George W. Bush as he started the ball rolling down the hill with his Medicare Part D fiasco among other concessions to the Democrats and establishment Republicans in Congress. However, we must draw a line somewhere between what Bush stood for and what Obama has been shoving down Americans' throats.
It might be useful for Mr. Egan to re-visit history.
Bush was told by just about everyone around him that the $700 billion TARP was a necessity for the survival of the financial markets. Whether you supported it or not, TARP at the very least unlit the fuse of financial Armageddon global markets were faced with. More importantly, the U.S. Treasury got repaid, with interest, by everyone but a couple of companies. At the end, TARP will have cost a small fraction of its original price tag to the tax payer.
As far as the bailouts of G.M. and Chrysler are concerned, after much consideration and in part as a concession to have TARP passed, Bush threw an ill conceived temporary lifeline to G.M. Nothing more. It was the Obama administration that blackmailed and skewered the bond holders of those companies in favor of the unions.
Head fakes, like pointing to the stock market performance over the past two years by likes of Mr. Egan to prove that Obama has been good for capitalism, may fool the inattentive and the liberals but unfortunately the American consumers and businesses are not buying them as witnessed by business confidence surveys, and lack of private sector job creation despite record low interest rates as well as nearly $2 trillion in cash sitting on the sidelines. The reason? Toxic (and uncertain) regulatory and tax environment created by the policies of Obama administration. In contrast to President Bush, Obama supported and signed the economically destructive ARRA (stimulus), healthcare reform, financial reform, and equal pay legislation among other, lesser known, bills. Perhaps more revealing were some of the bills he wanted passed but did not succeed: card check that would amount to forced unionization, and Waxman-Markey (aka cap and trade) that would have cost average American family approximately $3,900 annually besides costing millions of jobs to the U.S. economy. Even putting his radical pre-presidential history aside, Obama has proven by his rhetoric as well as actions that he is nothing short of a hard left ideologue with Marxist inspirations.
You can skin a cat in many ways, but any which way you skin this one, President Obama has been as toxic to the U.S. economy as no other president has been in recent memory.