American Elephants

The Progressive Project Simply Does Not Work! by The Elephant's Child

I think the Progressive Project is over.  The election, of course, is not decided, but that’s not what I mean. Barack Obama came in to the Presidency trailing banners of progressivism left over from FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society. He embarked immediately on health care. The liberals long dream of government-controlled single-payer health care was going to be fulfilled. They had control of House, Senate and the Presidency— so they gathered behind locked doors to produce their ultimate in wish-fulfillment. Their greatest success.

And everybody hates it.

But that’s not the point either. The point is that it doesn’t work,  and even with endless “tinkering” cannot be made to work.

To give Obama his due, he inherited a bad recession. No, it wasn’t the worst since the Great Depression — Obama simply hoped that FDR’s glory would rub off on him. But it was a bad recession, and Obama rolled up his sleeves and with the help of the discredited Lord Keynes, got an $825 billion stimulus package passed to jolt the economy and create jobs.

The stimulus was a flop. It cost an amazing $280,000 per job created if you use the administration’s inflated estimates of jobs “created or saved.”  Five times median pay, and far more if you use actual data rather than administration estimates.

There was the Public-Private Investment Partnership to buy toxic assets from the banks; “Cash for Clunkers;” the home buyers credit; record spending and budget deficits, and exploding debt; the auto bailouts; five versions of foreclosure relief; numerous lifelines to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; financial regulation and health-care reform; energy subsidies, mandates, moratoriums, and constant demands for higher taxes on “the rich” and on business. And the auto bailout is far from a success, Volts don’t sell, and GM is begging to get government out of their hair so they can try to avoid another bankruptcy.

Cash for clunkers cost $32 billion, shifted car sales forward for a few months and wrecked the used car market, as well as the used parts market. The Public-Private Investment Partnership, in spite of cheap federal loans, generated 3% of the $1 trillion claimed, and many financial institutions still are stuck with toxic assets.  The Dodd-Frank financial reform failed to address “too big to fail” which remains a huge problem, but managed to institutionalize greater concentration of banking assets and mortgages in Fannie and Freddie. The foreclosure relief modified only a small percentage of the four million promised. And the president has admitted that the shovel-ready projects that were supposed to increase construction work weren’t shovel-ready.

The constant stream of new regulations, new prosecutions, new mandates and moratoriums has left business fearful to take a risk, even when offered extraordinarily low interest rates. Long-term unemployment has continued to grow, and the Obama team’s claims of 4.5 million jobs “created” neglects to subtract the millions who have given up and left the labor force entirely. The grand total of new jobs is nearer 300,000.

Obama’s soaring oratory with its perpetual promises and failure to deliver demonstrates a record of failure unmatched in history. The recession was weak, but it ended in June of 2009 according to the economists who date such things. What has happened since then is a direct result of Obama’s policies.

Obama believed that his efforts were necessary immediately to save the planet from the threat of global warming, which he addressed by giving government grants and loans to his cronies to invest in new businesses to create “green jobs.” The energy ventures followed in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy. He continues to push wind and solar where long term jobs are rare, while forcing unemployment by continually shutting down coal-fired power plants and coal mines — our cheapest form of energy.

His moratorium in the Gulf sent hundreds of jobs overseas and killed thousands of jobs here at home. Failure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline meant many thousands of high-paying jobs never appeared. And American Airlines just announced the layoff of 4,400 more workers. Bank of America plans to lay off 16,000 by year-end.  And Bloomberg announced that once again more Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits.

And here is what is to me the most astounding news: according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center only 15 percent of Democrats believe that recent economic news is mostly poor, a significant drop from the 31 percent who thought economic news mostly bad last month.

FedEx and UPS are forecasting economic decline worldwide. In this country we have a looming economic cliff, and only 15 percent of Democrats have noticed? The United States of American has slipped to 18th on the list of countries rated on economic freedom.

The states are a clear barometer of the effects of the progressive project. People are fleeing the progressive-run states for states with lower taxes and a more favorable business climate. And it’s not just people but they are taking their businesses with them.

Progressive policies have never worked. Woodrow Wilson was despised by the end of his term. The massive experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt forced on the country made the Great Depression far worse than it should have been, and created far more misery. LBJ’s Great Society was a terrible flop, rescued only when Republicans forced Bill Clinton to sign the Welfare to Work program which helped many dependent welfare recipients to find meaningful work and feel responsible and capable.

The Progressive Project is designed to make people dependent on big government, by showing them how much the Progressives care. If you are paying close attention you will notice that the Progressives responsible always manage to excuse themselves from the mandates, the rules and the programs.  Those nice progressives who wrote ObamaCare  excluded themselves from any participation. They will keep the excellent government program under which they are currently insured.  It’s just the rest of us who get the true benefits. The uninsured, nearly 6 million, will get to pay around $1200 each if they don’t buy insurance.

Progressives promise low-cost or free housing, and it turns into a slum. They promise health care, but there are no doctors and it costs many times the promises. They promise jobs that never appear. They promise job-training, but the field is already full.  For the future of health care, just watch Britain, where they are farther down the progressive slide than we are. NHS is telling their doctors to talk women giving birth out of having epidurals to save NHS money. So there’s a future promise for all those concerned about the War on Women. Oh wait…

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