Wednesday, November 7, 2012

America past the tipping point

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Americans have chosen by a narrow margin not to change horses in midstream. They have given Barack Obama a second chance. Hopefully, Mr. Obama will prove himself worthy of their trust.

It seems that America has reached the proverbial tipping point where there are more takers than people to take from. Under President Obama, 75 people went on food stamps for every single person who got a job according to the Weekly Standard. The growth in the welfare state has been so great and so fast that it can no longer be contained. If the tipping point has not yet been reached, it certainly will have been by 2016.

Having won fewer states and a smaller percentage of the vote than in 2008, the president can hardly claim that the voters have given him a clear mandate to stay the course. Instead they have given him a chance to fulfill the promises of bipartisanship that he made in his first presidential campaign.

Obama’s victory may well say less about the promise of his second term than about the failings of Mitt Romney. Even though he did well in the debates, Romney frittered away much of the summer as the Obama campaign launched endless negative ads against him. Romney had little to say as he was portrayed as an out-of-touch rich guy who strapped his dog to the roof of the car. In the end, it wasn’t enough for Romney to promise a repeal of Obamacare, still hated by a majority of Americans according to Rasmussen, and hope that Obama’s incompetence would speak for itself. Romney was right about the 47 percent. It just turned out to be slightly more than 50 percent.

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Obama’s victory is that he will be left in office to take the full blame for his failures. The upcoming economic recession or stagnation will not fall upon the shoulders of Mitt Romney, the Republicans, or George Bush. That will be cold comfort for the unemployed and for those who see their incomes lag or wealth deteriorate.

Even though Obama will stay on as president for another four years, he will not have the free reign that he did for the first two years of his first term. He will face a hostile congress where even Democratic senators and representatives distanced themselves from him in the election.

In his first term, President Obama resisted compromise with the Republicans even after the Democrats “took a shellacking” in the 2010 midterm elections. He must change if he wants to move the country forward.

Much of the time, a stalemate in the federal government is a good thing. This year it is not.

The first test of Obama’s second term comes on January 1 when the country reaches the fiscal cliff. President Obama must work with the lame duck congress to fix this problem as soon as possible or the fragile recovery will end abruptly and another, even worse recession will strike the country. President Obama must work with Republicans to avert this fiscal disaster for the good of the country.

In the campaign, President Obama paid lip service to fixing the problem of the federal deficit. We cannot tax our way out of debt. One hundred percent taxes on the wealthy would not fund Obama’s past budgets. If the president is serious about the debt, which is now more than 100 percent of GDP for the first time since WWII, he must agree to cuts in the federal budget as his own deficit commission recommended.

Finally, the most pressing international problem that we face is Iran. Over the next few weeks, President Obama will decide whether to renew sanctions on Iran. If he is serious about preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, weapons that threaten the U.S. homeland as well as Israel, he should do so. He should also commit to a military option if sanctions do not work and voice support for Israel if they decide to strike. Ambivalence and mixed messages to the Iranian government will almost certainly lead to war.

My concern is that none of this will happen. My concern is that Dinesh D’Souza may be right, that Obama is, at heart, an anti-colonialist who wants to bring the United States down to a third world level. He will continue to mount up federal debt until the economy breaks. He will stand aside as Iran arms itself and turn on Israel when they try to defend themselves.

My belief is that under President Obama, unless Republicans in congress are joined by enough Democrats to stop him, will continue on the same wrongheaded course that he has followed for the first four years of his presidency. If the United States manages to avoid lapsing into another recession or depression, the best we can hope for is to muddle through a Lost Decade of high unemployment, rising energy costs and anemic growth. American influence abroad will wan and with it we will see the rise of dictators and the decline of freedom around the world. At home we will lose more freedom as well, from the freedom to follow our religious beliefs to the freedom to own a gun.

If America has reached the tipping point. This election was our last, best hope to return to prosperity. My children will be left with less freedom, few opportunities, and less hope than I had. I and many others will continue to fight the good fight, but with every election lost, every additional entitlement recipient, every activist judge appointed, the tide is harder to turn back. The Republican Party may never win another major national election. If they do, it will still be impossible to roll back all the damage of the Obama years.

Perhaps Atlas is about to shrug.

Originally published on

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