By turning up the dial on towering oratory, President Barack Obama did his best recently to make Americans overlook the astonishing mediocrity of his economic performance during the last four years, and make the case for expanding the power of the State.
If you listened past the flowery language and sniffed out the coded Washington lingo, it was actually a very revealing speech.
You heard how impressed he is with the American people, and how those who have risen - with the help of government programs - have served to give him hope.
It was a speech that underscored a deep belief in the power of government to rebuild our economy, and intervene in every aspect of our lives. Lastly, it was a speech dripping in antagonism towards energy companies, corporations, and America’s wealthy.
The packed arena - filled with union members, public sector employees, and pro-government partisans - showered the President with cheers and applause each time he lifted the State and expressed not-so-subtle digs at the private sector.
You heard him implore that if only, if only damnit, we would heed his call for “fairness.” If only we would set aside our selfish, market-based notions of “the past,” and look to FDR-style government experimentation, we could begin to bring about the change that he dreams for us.
It topped a long line of speeches with similar themes.
Even San Antonio’s Mayor Julian Castro triumphantly exulted with observable conviction, unfounded as it was that Supply Side Economics has failed. Never mind, that Ronald Reagan, a supply sider extraordinaire, had a GDP growth rate of 7.2 percent in his 4th year on the job, while President Obama registered an anemic 1.5 percent GDP growth just this past quarter.
Never mind, that Americans wanted an economic boom, not a boom in government programs, taxes, and regulations; But that is exactly what President Obama has called on Americans to support.
The President also said “…because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it,” but it is clear he only endeavors to grow its size and scope. His signature legislative reforms have only served to hinder the private sector and last night’s speech presaged more of the same.
They are the very things he pushed for in his first two years as president, and we are all worst off for it.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform unleashed a fury of excessive, arbitrary regulatory impositions on the finance sector with almost no checks and balances on unelected bureaucrats to act as sovereigns of the markets.
The truth is financial institutions are needed to build companies, corporations and the economic opportunities that build societies and entire communities.
If you choke it with excessive regulations, taxation and unfair competitive practices like political cronyism, we all suffer. Yet he openly mocked tax cuts and any notion of rolling back any regulation with a joke. Literally, he made a joke out of it.
His centerpiece legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has already failed at capping the cost of our health care system, guaranteeing no American would lose their current plan, and reducing the national debt before its fully implemented.
Now, we’ll see if the new subsidy will make rationing the new normal and access is restricted like it is in every other nation with socialized medicine. Was it any wonder he made no mention of it?
On Feb 23, 2009 President Barack Obama famously vowed to reduce the federal deficit in half by the end of his first term.
Yet almost four years later no one has borrowed and spent more money in history than the current Administration, and consequently, the nation faces a precipitous fiscal cliff that has only gotten steeper.
In his speech he promised more and more things for more and more people, while presuming he will reduce the debt by $4 trillion.
Then came an interesting admission last night when he said, “..and yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet— because climate change is not a hoax.” So get ready for round two in an effort to pass the job-killing concept known as Cap and Trade.
It will be the mother of all battles, for it is the greedy and self-interested horde of irresponsible business owners, it is the insatiable profit-seeking, hunger of corporate America that has ruined the rest of us in the President’s mind – and his moral duty now is to radically alter their behavior.
The President made it clear last night more taxes and more regulations will save us. More state control, and more government programs are the light we must move towards, and that unelected bureaucrats are our only defense from a world ravaged by gluttonous, out of control, polluting corporations.
The speech just might do the trick. It just might make Americans overlook a record where there have been no attempts to reduce unsustainable discretionary spending, absolutely no push for badly needed tax reform, and one in which regulations have come in mammoth, monstrous bills with a scope and reach we are barely beginning to comprehend.
Americans might even overlook a record that has shaken the pillars of family, church, and individual freedoms to the core and threatens to redefine them. I wonder, will it be enough for Americans to overlook 42 straight months above 8 percent unemployment, doubling of gas prices, a 4.5 percent drop in median household incomes, a measly 1.5 percent growth in GDP, and a continuing drop in the labor force in which a mere 96,000 jobs were created in August?
We’ll know soon enough.
Daniel Garza is the Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative and former White House staffer from 2001-2006.