American Elephants

America in Decline. Thanks a Bunch, Obama! by The Elephant's Child

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America, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, right?  America is no longer the home of a free economy. We now rank internationally 17th in economic freedom — a truly shameful situation. The United States should have the freest economy in the world, and constantly be encouraging other nations to catch up.

In 2013, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Bahrain are judged to have freer economies. Also Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Zealand. “The Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report,” a joint effort of the Cato and Frazer institutes, even judges Chile, Jordan and Estonia to have freer economies.

What happened? The explanation rests on a government than cannot resist its urge to expand. America has fallen in every area that the report measures. In size of government, it is ranked 59th out of 152 countries. Our property rights and legal system  rank 30th, and our freedom to trade internationally is 43rd.

Now the U.S. has become a true regulatory state, ranking 121st in credit market regulation and 33rd in business regulations. And Obama can’t find any regulations to get rid of, except the same old spilled milk one.

Economies that are less free have universal poor performance. The more free a country’s economy, the more prosperous her people. The less free, the more miserable. That old “pursuit of happiness” thing —nevermind.

ISSfree_130923.png.cmsAt the bottom are nations like Venezuela, Myanmar, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Chad, countries that are clearly wretched places to live.

Economic freedom makes people richer, but also happier. In spite of the clear advantages of an open economy and freedom, the United States is moving in the wrong direction. We have an administration in the White House and its allies in Congress who clearly want greater government control of the economy. You can question whether they believe that an administrative state is a preferred form of government, or if they just think they’re smarter than the rest of us, and it’s an exercise in hubris.

Hope and Change isn’t what it was cracked-up to be.

The Backwash of Inept Policy-Making? Or Just a Lack of Common Sense? by The Elephant's Child

Not since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, and prior to that the fall of France in 1940, has there been so swift an erosion of the world influence of a Great Power as we are witnessing with the United States.

The Soviet Union crumbled jurisdictionally: In 1990-1991, one country became the 16 formerly constituent republics of that country, and except perhaps for Belarus, none of them show much disposition to return to the Russian fold into which they had been gathered, almost always by brute force, over the previous 300 years.

What we are witnessing now in the United States, by contrast, is just the backwash of inept policy-making in Washington, and nothing that could not eventually be put right. But for this administration to redeem its credibility now would require a change of direction and method so radical it would be the national equivalent of the comeback of Lazarus: a miraculous revolution in the condition of an individual (President Obama), and a comparable metamorphosis (or a comprehensive replacement) of the astonishingly implausible claque around him.
………………………………Conrad Black: New York Sun

President Obama lost the US-Syria war of 2013 before firing a shot. He did it by leaving no doubt that he had not thought through what he meant to accomplish by attacking Syria, nor what effect the attack would have, nor what the consequences of the attack would be, nor how he planned to deal with those consequences. His departure from the common sense of war and peace was so stark, so unmistakable, that it forced the American people to confront that common sense as they had not done for a hundred years.
……………………………..Angelo M. Codevilla: Liberty Lawsite

It is entirely understandable that Barack Obama’s way of dealing with Syria in recent weeks should have elicited responses ranging from puzzlement to disgust. Even members of his own party are despairingly echoing in private the public denunciations of him as “incompetent,” “bungling,” “feckless,” “amateurish” and “in over his head” coming from his political opponents on the right.

For how else to characterize a president who declares war against what he calls a great evil demanding immediate extirpation and in the next breath announces that he will postpone taking action for at least 10 days—and then goes off to play golf before embarking on a trip to another part of the world? As if this were not enough, he also assures the perpetrator of that great evil that the military action he will eventually take will last a very short time and will do hardly any damage. Unless, that is, he fails to get the unnecessary permission he has sought from Congress, in which case (according to an indiscreet member of his own staff) he might not take any military action after all.
…………………………..Norman Podhoretz: Wall Street Journal

Now, nearly nine months into the president’s second term, Obama is already developing the symptoms associated with lame duck syndrome. Most of Obama’s predecessors who were not wrestling with an unpopular war or a debilitating scandal had already or were on track to achieve their legacy accomplishments by this point in their second terms. But this president seems to be captive to events. Never having had the best relationship with Congress, Obama’s every effort to pass major legislative reforms has been stymied by unwilling allies and unhelpful adversaries. Furthermore, the president appeared to lack concentration. Before the debate over this reform or the other was complete, the president had shifted focus to the next all-consuming crisis. As a result, Obama’s political capital is today greatly diminished.
……………………………..Noah Rothman: Mediate

So the corner that Obama has painted himself into is now inescapable. Defying Congress will put the country into a Watergate/Monicagate mess. Not doing anything will confirm the administration’s impotence and only enhance Russia, Iran, Assad, China, Islamists, and almost anyone else who does not like the U.S. Doing something small, with or without congressional approval, will be looked upon as a cynical waste of human lives to restore Obama’s credibility, the sort of craven, immoral political act that a younger Obama made a career out of mocking. Doing something big will invite public and global outrage if only moderately successful, and doom the Obama presidency if unsuccessful.

How did Obama get himself into this mess? It was bound to happen, given his past habits. All we are seeing now is the melodramatic fulfillment of vero possumus, lowering the rising seas, faux Corinthian columns, hope and change, the bows, the Cairo speech, and the audacity of hope. Hubris does earn Nemesis.
……………………………..Victor Davis Hanson: National Review

Just a sampling of the commentary that is out there. But why and how did President Obama get himself into such a mess? As a radical leftist, he always believed that America had been a destructive force in world affairs. He counted on the war-weariness of the American people to let him get away with drastically downsizing the military. He assumed that the American people voted for him because he opposed Bush’s wars and wanted to get completely out of those entanglements.

But he was elected as the first black president. I’m not sure anyone took seriously his pre-inauguration statement that “We are just five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”Nor all his talk about  redistribution of wealth.  Unless the American people have been “fundamentally transformed” as well, they will not go for an America in decline. Nor of an America that despots around the world feel free to deride and insult. He has misjudged the world and he has misjudged America and Americans.

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