Wednesday, February 9, 2011 vs. Obama

Still an Obamunist? (nicolas genin)

My recent article published on the Atlanta Conservative Examiner page got a larger and more immediate response than anything I have published so far.  I would like to thank everyone who read and commented on the article.  All comments, even (or especially) those from contrarian viewpoints, are appreciated.  If you did not see the original article, you can read it here.  Given the large response to the article, I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to some of the comments left by readers.

First, many readers disagreed with my statement that “as Super Bowl shows go,” Sunday night’s effort by the Black Eyed Peas “was OK.”  Several readers wrote that it was the “worst Super Bowl halftime show ever.”  

I’m not a music critic.  Nor do I consider myself a fan of the Black Eyed Peas, although some of their songs are pretty good.  I usually view the Super Bowl halftime show as I view the Saturday Night Live musical guest’s performance:  a time to go to the bathroom or the kitchen.  Having said that, I don’t feel that saying it “was OK” was a ringing endorsement and it probably wasn’t the worst in history either.  Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction from a few years ago comes to mind.  That show was unsalvageable even before her clothes started falling off.  To the NFL I say, next year why don’t you find a nice marching band?

Second, some readers disagreed with my claim that government workers produce nothing except for paperwork and red tape.  I stand by that claim.  Government workers require taxes for payment.  That tax money is sucked out of the larger economy, preventing people and businesses from spending it on things that would grow the economy.  Money paid in taxes to the government cannot be used to hire new workers, expand a business, buy products, or save for retirement.

Some government workers are necessary.  I am not an anarchist or anti-government.  I am a constitutionalist who believes that government should be restricted to its constitutional role.  For the federal government that means things like providing for the common defense, regulating international and interstate commerce, and establish post offices and post roads. 

Other readers disagreed with my contention that the president cannot create private sector jobs.  There is very little that the president can actively do to foster job creation.  Primarily, he can get out of the way and foster an economic climate in which business owners create jobs out of their own self-interest, the profit motive. 

On the other hand, there is much that a President can do inhibit job creation.  We have seen numerous examples of this over the past two years.  President Obama’s agenda has led to a vast enlargement of the federal bureaucracy.  The health care bill alone created 159 new federal agencies which will in turn create countless new regulations.  President Obama is also developing a history of bypassing Congress to enact new regulation.  Net neutrality and carbon regulation could not pass Congress, but they are now law by the administrative law process.  Other unpopular bills such as card check, the attempt to take away secret ballot union elections, could become law in a similar fashion.

As stated before, higher taxes leave less money for business growth and job creation.  President Obama’s budget includes over a trillion dollars in new taxes, including another attempt to roll back the low Bush-era tax rates when the current deal expires in 2012.  Business leaders and individual Americans realize that taxes will have to go up to support the onslaught of record federal spending.

Further, President Obama’s rhetorical war on business has also cost jobs.  From criticizing Las Vegas and business jets to a hasty and ill-advised offshore oil drilling moratorium, Obama’s comments have cost jobs.  Businesses don’t have to invest or spend money.  In this case, they want to wait and see which way the fickle winds of change might blow.

We have nothing to fear but a new New Deal.
Readers were also split on the New Deal.  Obama’s economic policies mirror those of FDR in many ways.  Contrary to popular opinion, the New Deal did not end the Great Depression; it prolonged it.  Neither did WWII, which could be viewed as a massive wartime stimulus program, end it.  Had New Deal policies continued after the war, hundreds of thousands of demobilizing GIs would have caused the unemployment rate to go right back up to 1930s levels.  Instead, (drum roll please) Congress cut taxes.  Georgia Senator Walter F. George, a Democrat, said that if the tax cut has “the effect which it is hoped it will have, it will so stimulate the expansion of business as to bring in a greater total revenue."  It did.

As I noted in the original articles, tax and spending cuts have stimulated the economy repeatedly.  The formula was successfully used by Presidents Harding, Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush.  It has also been used successfully in the states.    States following the Obama model such as Michigan, New York, and California are on the brink of failure while low tax states such as Texas and the Carolinas are seeing strong economic growth.

Finally, some readers questioned whether, a longtime Obama supporter, was now opposed to the president’s policies.  I don’t know, but it seems to me that if still has to call on Obama to stimulate the economy two years after the stimulus was supposed to solve our problems, it is a tacit admission that he realizes President Obama’s programs are not working.  Unemployment has stabilized at a much higher rate than it was under President Bush.  President Obama’s seasonal numbers are overly optimistic and don’t reflect how bad the situation really is.  In Georgia, our unemployment remains even higher than the national average. and other liberals may not have turned on Obama, but many of them must be becoming disenchanted and disillusioned with his failing programs.  That leaves an opening for conservatives and Republicans to convince them that free market economics is the best way to move forward.  A majority of the country was willing to give us a chance in the last election.  It is time to reward the trust they have placed in us by doing the job they asked us to do:  Cut spending, cut taxes and shrink government.  If we can move forward with that focus, we will be rewarded again in 2012.

For the record, I prefer my black eyed peas with cornbread and onions.

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