American Elephants


The Hero of His Own Myth-Making. by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama at the White House

It has often been said that there are only so many stories, and we just keep repeating the same ones over and over. In children’s books there is always the ugly duckling who, teased and bullied, grows up to be a swan. Another version is the Cinderella story, the beautiful girl in rags, cleaned up, is discovered by the prince and becomes a queen, or the ordinary boy who one day pulls Excalibur from the stone and is recognized as Arthur the King of Britain.

I suspect that this is Obama’s story. He always knew that he was destined for something transcendent, and now he is there — in the center of the world’s stage, destined for true  greatness. He has assembled a team of wise courtiers to cope with lesser matters, and he is reforming his cabinet to go forth and accomplish his goals, defeat the Republicans utterly, give them no quarter, provide a least a trillion more for Obama to spend in proving his transformational generosity and importance.

Although he has held the nation’s highest elective office for four years, James Freeman suggests, it is if someone else has been presiding over the record federal spending and deficits. Just this last week, as the federal government bumped up against its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, Mr. Obama demanded the ability to borrow even more. He spun it this way: “While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed.”

An amazing statement, not only for its sheer arrogance, but because there in no spending reform over which Barack Obama will negotiate in good faith. His goal is to defeat Republicans completely, not negotiate with them. He does not grasp the notion of being president of all the people, though he sometimes treats national unity with a rhetorical flourish. He has attempted at every opportunity to go around Congress, and accomplish his goals by executive order, so they are his very own accomplishments, unsullied by constitutional or legal restrictions.

Congress, of course, can pass any laws it chooses to, but they do not become law without the president’s signature. It wasn’t Congress that was pushing funding on Solyndra, nor Congress who denied the Keystone XL Pipeline. Can Obama possibly get away with blaming congressional Republicans for his spending increases that they opposed?

But there is no spending problem. Obama has said so. There is only the threat of a Republican House not extending the debt ceiling enough. Senator Jeff Sessions has pointed out that the president proposes growth in spending over and above the Budget Control Act baseline, of approximately an additional $1 trillion.

He wants more than $170 billion in stimulus spending, including $26 billion for extended unemployment benefits, $50 billion for transportation spending, and $90 billion for an extension of the payroll holiday (which is considered on budget spending.) The unpaid for “doc-fix” to Medicare reimbursements is $394 billion.

Stimuluses don’t work. Extending unemployment benefits keeps the unemployed from finding work. If the transportation spending is California’s train to nowhere, we don’t need that; if it’s roads and bridges we’ve been there once too often. More payroll holiday? Social Security is already in enough trouble without depriving it of more funding. And when you pay doctors less, fewer doctors will see Medicare patients. Policies have consequences, and bad policies have bad consequences.

The goal of the Left is power. They tell themselves that reducing “inequality” will help the poor, but we’ve been down this path before. The aim of community organizing was to get banks to make more loans to people who could not afford to pay them back. When you get someone into a home where they cannot afford to pay back the mortgage, they also cannot afford to keep up the property and such homes gradually become slums. You cannot take enough money away from the rich to make the poor completely comfortable. It doesn’t work.

What does work is a growing, healthy economy. Jobs become more plentiful, people go back to work, and when government is smaller and less intrusive, people can manage their lives just fine. Freedom does work. We have the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression specifically because of the Obama administration’s policies, of relying on Keynesian economic stimulus which didn’t and has never worked, and an assortment of other bad liberal ideas.

Small business, 50 employees and up, is the engine of growth in an economy. The Obama administration has deluged them with regulations, taxes, rules, overcriminalization, health care costs and complete uncertainty. They don’t know how to plan, they don’t dare hire or expand because they don’t know what to expect. Will the economy tank? Will the next EPA regulation increase costs too much? Will some department suddenly decide that my operation is somehow illegal? We have seen examples of all of these things.

Those who don’t understand the limits of power, the consequences of their actions, or the results of their arrogance and ignorance — are guaranteed to fail. Those who do not understand human nature and man’s need for individual liberty do immeasurable damage.

Roosevelt made the Great Depression last far longer than it should have, with bad policies, and with his policy of “bold experimentation.” Obama said in a recent aside that maybe he would try some bold experimentation just like FDR.  I’m afraid that he meant it.

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