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Obamanomics: Simply Insanity or Crazy Craftiness, Too?

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On February 12, 2008, in a campaign speech delivered to a packed, thunderously approving crowd, then candidate Barack Obama provided a glimpse of Obamanomics. As in his later encounter with Joe The Plumber, the first term Illinois senator preached government control of wealth. The specific example he used on both occasions was wealth redistribution. But, that is merely one type of wealth control. There are others and Obama has also pursued them in his first term. They’ve all failed or we wouldn’t be surveying their smoldering wreckage from our perch on the brink of a double dip recession.

And yet Obamanomics hasn’t changed one whit. No lessons learned, not even a slight course correction. It’s still all about government control of wealth through taxing and spending, regulating, granting unfair advantage to handpicked businesses and industries, etc. Take Obama’s jobs proposal, or Stimulus 2.0, unveiled in his September 7 speech. The payroll tax cut is merely an extension of the current one-year reduction. It won’t improve hiring because it’s not a cause of unemployment. But, it is convenient diversionary dressing around a window the White House can’t break through.

And then there’s infrastructure spending, redux. In 2008 and 2009, Obama preached the importance of shovel ready jobs so much he practically turned it into a religion. But in a September 2010 interview, published the following month, Obama admitted those jobs don’t exist in the public sector. One short year later, he’s pushing them again.

The tax increases in the president’s just announced debt reduction plan are nothing new, either. He’s pressed the issue of increasing taxes on the rich since his first term candidacy days. But, at this juncture, even Democrats are having a difficult time supporting them. The reason is obvious. The economy cannot be fixed by taking money out of it. Increasing taxes on those who invest their incomes in growing businesses is much more than merely foolish.

Obama’s persistence in the face of these failures is very like Einstein’s definition of insanity. That is, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. It doesn’t happen in physics and it won’t happen in economics, either. But, is Obamanomics just insanity or is it also the slick strategy of a president desperate to win re-election?  The facts are stacking up in favor of the latter.

From the moment of his first presidential campaign appearance, Obama has clung to the politics of blame like an addiction. Now, in these beginning days of his re-election bid, with his poll numbers sinking faster than the Titanic, he desperately needs a distraction to hype; anything that will get the electorate more upset with Republicans than with his mishandling of the economy. So, he offers proposals that couldn’t get through Congress with a battering ram in order to contrive blame scenarios.

His jobs plan is a typical example. Before its delivery, he set the stage by characterizing it as bipartisan, which of course is wrong, since it takes two parties to create bipartisanship. No matter, in his Saturday address to the nation, Obama stated his intention to extort GOP support for his new stimulus proposal. His grand scheme is to blame House Republicans for continuing high unemployment if they oppose it. What he’s not saying is that, if Republicans do support his plan, he will include them in a circle of bipartisan blame when it fails. Using blame like a flamethrower is what got Obama elected, and blame is what he believes will get him re-elected. Meanwhile, we’re getting much too cozy with double dip.

In another favorite blame pitch, Obama pits the rich against the “little guy” over the amounts of money they earn and taxes they pay. But, concocting divisions and wielding them like weapons to get re-elected merely underscores his unsuitability for the office he holds. He ignores the fact that the rich pay most of the federal income tax while about fifty percent of wage earners pay zero dollars.

Obama also fails to mention that many in his crosshairs are small business owners who employ the majority of the American workforce. Taking more money out of their pockets leaves them with less to invest, which means businesses stagnate and the unemployment rate remains high. It also depresses tax revenue.

But, it works for Obamanomics, which holds that government, not the private sector, is the engine of economic growth. As if on cue, the Solyndra loan scandal, presently engulfing the White House like a Gulf oil fire, belies that argument. Taxpayers, courtesy of the Obama administration, guaranteed $535 million in venture capital loans to the handpicked company. One thousand new jobs were supposed to be created in return.

Fourteen months later, the company folded, laying off eleven hundred workers and leaving taxpayers holding an expensive bag. At a cost of over $535,000 per job, the loan guarantee is being criticized as crony capitalism. One of the Solyndra investors is a high-profile Obama campaign contributor. Regardless, the whole debacle highlights the inability of a government bureaucracy to drive an economy anywhere but off a cliff.

In an unusual public chastisement, former Clinton strategist, James Carville, scolded Obama last week for not firing his staff and completely changing his direction. Press secretary Jay Carney responded that the American people know Obama is doing all he can to grow the economy and create jobs. At last, we all agree on something. We know Obama’s doing all he can. And it’s not working.

In that February 2008 speech, candidate Obama promised to remake this country, block by block, precinct by precinct, county by county and state by state. If you’ve had enough of that, get your shovels ready. You’ve got a job to do come November 2012.

See you in the mirror.

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About Sidney and Riley

  • The Visitor

    It’s rather obvious the question should be positioned above the answer in the comic panel, so why should anyone trust your assessment of something much more complex like political and economic matters…

    …so wonders The Visitor

  • Glenn Contrarian

    What a wonderful example of bringing up a scattershot of talking points, but no real details on any of them. I could easily spend an entire day debunking the bunk in this article…but I just don’t have the time. But I’ll leave off with one of my favorites, the statistic that no conservative or Republican has touched in the dozen or so times I’ve posted it.

    One of the Republicans’ biggest complaints is how much we’re being taxed; indeed, what does the acronym TEA stand for in the Tea party? “Taxed Enough Already”.

    But how many of these Republicans and Tea Partiers realize that as of 2009, the American taxpayer had the lowest tax burden since 1950. That right! After all the cuts and deductions and exemptions and so forth, taxes are lower under Obama than under the past FIVE Republican presidents: Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Bush.

    So that begs the question – since Republicans are SO convinced that low taxes are the cure for all that ails our economy, then WHY isn’t our economy going gangbusters?

    The answer? It’s not going gangbusters for the SAME reason that our economy wasn’t working real well in 1950 – taxes were too LOW. Truman then raised taxes, particularly on the rich who were taxed at 90%, and what happened? Well, according to Republican dogma, our economy SHOULD have gone bust…but instead it went BOOM, with a nationwide effort towards infrastructure that included a little something called our interstate system.

    But not a single Republican or conservative will pay attention to any of this. Why? Because they will not care how low our tax burden is. They will not care how many teachers are thrown out of work. They will not care that if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, America will continue to have 100% of the 50M or so uninsured in first-world nations. They won’t even see what a shame that is – in fact, in Ron Paul’s world, that’s “freedom”!

    All that today’s Republican will care about is getting the evil Democrat out of the White House, and opposing to their final breath everything – absolutely everything! – that he proposes, even when he’s proposing what were Republican ideas!

    Dogma uber alles! Welcome to today’s Republican party!