Saturday, July 30, 2011

Unleashing Americans

By Alan Caruba

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” -- Thomas Jefferson

My father was a certified public accountant, as is my older brother. I not only lacked any arithmetical skills, I spent much of my early years ignoring the ups and downs of the economy, thinking that these matters were beyond my comprehension. What I failed to understand was that the economy was as much a creature of meddling politicians as economic theories.

I was born in the midst of the Great Depression and have now lived long enough to be caught in a new one. I know that economists and others say we are in a Recession, but it feels like a Depression to me and to the millions of other Americans who are out of work and being laid off weekly. It feels like one to those who suffered foreclosure on their homes. It feels like one every time we go to the supermarket and gasp in disbelief at the cost of groceries.

The unimaginable debt that Americans have incurred by borrowing far too much as a nation and as individuals with credit cards, and the ease with which one could borrow against home equity, has now forced us to deal with the reality of a financial crisis that began in late 2008 when the housing bubble burst.

Historically, it started far earlier when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, elements of the 1930s New Deal, were created to bring “social justice” to the housing market. By the time of the 2008 implosion, they owned more than half of all mortgages issued in the nation.

While the politicians seek to position themselves to blame the other party, the saving grace is that in 2010 voters returned power in the House to Republicans; doing so by electing a large number of “Tea Party” candidates pledged to reduce the debt and reverse what have been the disastrous policies of the Obama administration.

Despite the breathless reporting of the 24/7 news channels, the parade of politicians on both sides explaining their positions, the real news is that Americans are finally engaged in a real debate over the debt and the nation’s future. In 2012 they will vote to change course and, just as European nations that also borrowed too much, they will have to accept austerity measures.

A lot of government programs and, indeed, whole agencies and departments should be ended.

It’s not the death of socialism in America, but it is the recognition that a government that seizes and redistributes the wealth of working Americans must be reversed, revised, and reduced in size and scope.

Too much taxation, too much regulation, too much borrowing, and too much wasteful spending is what the national debate is all about and it is a long overdue debate.

In the land of the brave and the home of the free, Americans want to be free to decide what kind of light bulbs they can purchase, what kind of cars they can drive, and end all the other restrictions that make doing business in America an expensive, unrealistic nightmare.

In a way, the infatuation with a completely unknown, untested, and inexperienced president has been a wake-up call. Barack Obama was packaged to be a celebrity, a “messiah”, when all he really was, was an ill-prepared, standard issue Marxist. He surrounded himself with economic advisors and unvetted “czars” who shared his belief that one last, big push could “transform” a nation that was more in need of a sensible budget than grandiose and failed socialist solutions.

The result was the appalling Obamacare law that attempted to seize twenty percent of the nation’s economy. The House has voted to repeal it. Twenty-six States have gone to court to have it nullified. A Republican president and Senate in 2012 will end it.

Obama and the “green economy” advocates around him have dumped billions into wind and solar energy companies that could not exist without government subsidies coupled with government mandates for their use. Combined, wind and solar provide less than three percent of the nation’s electricity and will never meet its needs.

The nation’s auto industry, once the envy of the world, is almost entirely controlled by the government that, even in the midst of the debt ceiling debate, was being told it must produce lighter, more dangerous automobiles to meet unrealistic demands that they provide more mileage per gallon. You cannot get more energy from a gallon of gasoline than you can from any other source of energy that is ruled by the laws of physics.

Openly scornful of fossil fuels, the Obama administration has rendered the nation more dependent on foreign oil and waged war on coal and now natural gas.

The Obama moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has wreaked havoc on the oil industry, pursuing the same policies of earlier administrations that have thwarted exploration and extraction of the billions of barrels of U.S. oil that go untapped and unused. Oil rigs have been departing the Gulf to other nations, along with thousands of jobs and millions in the revenue they contributed to the economy. The vast resources of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge remain off-limits even though only the tiniest part of the refuge would be affected.

We suffered a socialist “stimulus” that stimulated nothing but an increased multi-trillion dollar debt.

I think America has turned an invisible corner and that as soon as we rid the nation of President Obama and his tax-and-spend Democrat supporters in Congress, the nation will begin to correct its borrow-and-borrow-some-more profligate ways. A smaller, less intrusive government may emerge in the years, the decades ahead.

The entrepreneurial energies of Americans will be unleashed if that occurs. The present Recession/Depression will join all the previous ones we have been through. We have all been chastened and we will conclude it wasn’t just Barack Obama’s policies, but decades of socialist policies dating back to the earliest days of the last century.

If that occurs, our children and grandchildren will have the excessive burden of debt lifted from them and American’s energy, innovation, and optimism will prevail.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


TJP said...

Wise words, Alan, but what a path of hot coals, broken glass and thorny thickets Americans yet have to cross just to GET to election day 2012 and take the first tiny steps to reverse BO's (and others') damage to this nation. God help us over the next 15 months.

Ronbo said...

When you hit the bottom, the only way out is up!

Alan Caruba said...

Election Day 2012 is just around the corner. Now that far away really. Obama has essentially been neutered politically. The power has passed to Congress and the leaders in the Senate and House are working out the details of debt reduction.

America has been through many financial crises and this is just one more unfortunate example of what happens when too much credit is available. Nations and people will spend too much easy money.

J Johnston said...

I do not understand how Obama can steer America in such a way that he looks at a win/win situation for himself time after time. He demands that any increase in the debt ceiling gets him past the next election. If that does not happen he will withhold payment to the fighting troops and blame another crisis on the Republican party for not compromising. His strategy is: “Do it my way or I will create a crisis and blame it on someone else!” The House supposedly controls the purse strings of the government.... yet Obama in effect “controls” the House. How can this be????? He will get his debt ceiling increase to carry over into 2013. As great as the Tea Party element in the House is....... it is still not getting us on the right track.

The Congressional District I live in has a democrat in office that has been in office for over 16 years. He has been reelected by saying, “Look what I did.... I brought you mounds of bacon on top of bacon.” No one voting down here hears what he is really saying, “Look what I did....... I brought you debt on top of debt.”

Conclusion: There truly is no cure for stupid.

Gustav said...

I can't say Obama has been neutered politically, until I see him failing to get what he wants.

Recently, the budget negotiations proved to be a farce, with Republicans talking about big savings that proved to be . . . what, I can hardly remember now. $100M?

We are likely to see that again with the debt ceiling: Verbal victories for Republicans, and victories in substance for Obama. It blows my mind that the $830B stimulus, which was supposed to be a one-time thing, has with nary a word been incorporated as an annual expenditure that cannot even be trimmed until . . . years into the distant future. In just 18 months, the debt-to-GDP ratio will have gone from 100 percent to 120 percent. Obama is not neutered. Rather, Americans are asleep.

Donna Harris said...

@Gustav - I'm not sure Americans are "asleep", I think they truly feel entitled to other's hard work and energies. Americans (not all, but enough to cause a lot of trouble) are not willing to go through the hardships that balancing the budget and paying off the national debt will require.

Too many Americans, in short, have grown up expecting the entitlements and will vote for BHO and anyone else who promises them free bread and circuses. We have a long, difficult road ahead of us.

Travis sez said...

@J Johnston: We should form a club. I live in the 13th Congressional District of CA, where an aging Democrat is about as unbalanced as Nancy Pelosi. I've actually considered reclassifying to Independent so I could do mischief in the primary it's so lopsided. If "Tea Party" were actually a party, I'd register there.

DHL said...

Pure, unmitigated, nonsense. To believe any of this is to disregard the balance of the world political systems that are fine and have bright futures. Their only weak points have to do with their ties with the US in the aftermath of the Bush years. Without the threat of a failure in the US economy the current downturn would be a minor issue. Take a look at Brazil, India, China. Centralized planning, sensible regulations and economies with the proper mix of social democratic principles look the best at the worst of times.