Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Santa Obama

By Alan Caruba

I have probably listened to too many State of the Union speeches over my seven decades of life to get excited by talk of cutting the budget or the promises made. I am not a cynic. I am a realist.

What I heard was President Obama being anti-Wall Street, anti-bankers, anti-CEOs, anti-wealthy people, and anti-oil, and that is just the short list.

It was a classic populist speech intended to appeal to the have-nots. Those people who dropped out of school. Those who have failed to hold onto jobs because of bad attitudes. Those who have fathered children while still in their teens. Those convinced that the system is rigged against them. They’re right. America does not reward the lazy.

The State of the Union speech was, as is always the case, filled with the promise of new spending on everything; healthcare, education, so-called renewable energy, and even the very tired promise to find a cure for cancer. Richard M. Nixon made the same promise in the 1970s.

The President spent some time whistling passed the graveyard, promising that, “Slowly, but surely, confidence will return.” We’ll see.

The bulk of the vast spending programs of the so-called stimulus bill will not kick in this year or next. Most involve major construction projects that will require years of planning. The “stimulus” will go mostly to government. Many of the projects involve an upgrade to government buildings. That money will stay in Washington, D.C.

There are other projects spread around the map to make the spending look plausible, but what is needed is not scatter-shot federal spending for purely political gain, but a far larger effort to reduce the mind-boggling waste of federal spending and, of course, reform of the vast “entitlement” programs of Social Security, Medicare, et cetera. Santa Obama wants to expand entitlement, not rein it in.

Commensurate with federal spending is state spending. The only safe states are those that require a balanced budget. The vast burden of most state spending involves lavish pension programs for civil servants, far beyond what those in the general marketplace of jobs could hope for…unless, of course, they too belong to a union.

The unions killed the Detroit auto industry and the President declared his fealty to the unions. That’s not forward looking thinking. That’s a repeat of the mistakes made during the last Great Depression during the 1930s..

But this was Santa Obama speaking and no Democrat draws breath without the desire to spread the money around, even if that money comes from hard working Americans; which it always does.

Finally, there was, for a Democrat, the fairly unusual commitment to expand our military. While the field of battle will shift to Afghanistan and Pakistan, two of the most unforgiving places to wage war. Part of our problems has come from the itch to impose our will with military force. The urge to empire is a dangerous one.

Let me dust off my crystal ball and tell you what’s in store for the day after Santa Obama’s State of the Union speech.

The Dow will take another dive as investors flee the stock market. Foreign investors will look elsewhere to put their money. U.S. corporations and manufacturers will consider moving their operations to places where everything they do is not mini-managed to benefit the federal government at their expense.

We are not witnessing the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning to this recession. We are witnessing all the errors of the past, all the failed programs, all the same efforts to expand government as the ultimate answer to every problem.

The comparisons to Franklin Delano Roosevelt are going to prove true and FDR, the consumate communicator of his times, was still struggling with the Great Depression tens years into office. That does not bode well.


Guy said...

Excuse me, but what a load of S**T. That's all I have to say ....

Alan Caruba said...

Apparently, Guy, a lot of other people agreed.

As of Feb 25, my prediction that stocks would fall has come true. Reuters reports "Stocks fell on Wednesday as investors found little new in a major speech by President Obama on how he planned to stabilize the economy..."

Surprise, surprise.