American Elephants

Another Unfortunate Nomination. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama will nominate his Chief of Staff, Jack Lew, to the office of Secretary of the Treasury, to replace Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. President Obama is assembling for his new cabinet a team of liberal and ideological loyalists whose job will be less to offer independent advice than to further advance his agenda for a larger, more redistributionist government.

Most modern Presidents have selected men with a significant amount of credibility in the business or financial worlds. Mr. Lew, on the other hand is a Washington lifer whose expertise is politics. He brings to the office no special knowledge or experience in economic policy, private industry or global finance. Treasury’s traditional role as the voice for pro-growth policies is out the window with this nomination. The Wall Street Journal says:

Mr. Lew is not the economic general you choose if you’re looking for tax reform or a bold growth agenda.

He’s the man you pick if you expect months of political trench warfare over taxes and spending. He’s the partisan you nominate if your overriding political goal is to destroy House Republicans in the midterm elections, not strike a deal with them.

Mr. Lew’s nomination would continue the post-election trend of Obama Unfettered. There’s no more restraining his progressive agenda, as during the last two years. Chuck Hagel will be unleashed to shrink the Pentagon and reduce America’s global military footprint. John Kerry will be dispatched to give engagement with Iran and other U.S. adversaries another try, whether or not they’re interested.

But Mr. Obama’s main project is to reorder the relationship of Americans to their government. His goal is to extend and entrench entitlements into the daily expectations of the middle class—from cradle to college to health care during the working years to retirement and then the grave. The productive engines of the private U.S. economy are to be reoriented to finance this income redistribution.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) the ranking member on the Budget Committee released a statement yesterday that said in part:

Jack Lew must never be Secretary of Treasury. His testimony before the Senate Budget Committee less than two years ago was so outrageous and false that it alone disqualifies…. His original statement, to a national television audience, was as follows:

Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we’re not adding to the debt anymore; we’re spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt.”

To “look the American people in the eye” and make such a statement remains the most direct and important false assertion during my entire time in Washington…

It’s time for a Secretary of Treasury to look the American people in the eye and lay out an economic plan for America that will end our debt path that has endangered our future and which will find support among the American people and the world’s financial community. Far from being a positive force towards this essential good, Mr. Lew has given priority to the political interests of the President, in whose White House inner circle he has now served for several years.

When he was first inaugurated, President Obama made several statements about how he was going to bring America together, remarks that were long ago thrown under the bus. Obama has been the most divisive president of my lifetime. The Lew nomination is only the most recent evidence of Obama’s determination to crush Republican opposition in the nation’s capitol.

Republicans who have dealt with Lew in negotiations on taxes and spending regard him as the most partisan, ideological and uncompromising of Obama’s aides, which is undoubtedly why Obama selected him. He has brushed aside any proposals for trimming the deficit or controlling the national debt. His contribution has been to add to the culture of lies, dishonesty and lack of transparency that characterize the Obama administration.

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