This economy isn't going to get the medicine it needs
After President Obama toddled forth to once again extol the amazing stimulus powers of perpetual unemployment welfare - a stimulus that has been completely undetectable for the past five years, but Democrats assure us it will kick in any day now - people who don't wear leftist ideological blinders wrote a number of columns explaining what we should be doing. As Donald Lambro pointed out, we know what works, just as we know Obamanomics doesn't:
In Congress this week, the focus is on legislation that would provide funds for extended unemployment benefits, when the debate should be about growing the economy to produce jobs and higher incomes.
We know what’s worked in the past — cutting taxes on capital investment, on businesses that have the second-highest tax rate in the industrial world, and on income.
Right now, the government is taxing every nook and cranny of our economy, and Obama wants to raise taxes even higher so he can spend more.
In his second term, after carrying 49 states by ending a deep recession in two years, President Reagan signed a bipartisan bill to cleanse the tax code of corporate welfare and other loopholes. He used the increased tax revenue to lower income tax rates to further boost economic growth.
Reagan won bipartisan support from Democrat leaders who wanted job growth and a stronger business sector, too. If nothing else, Democrats of the day understood that a larger economy spurred by lower tax rates gave them more government revenue to spend, coupled with decreased public resentment of the spending. When the private sector is humming along, bad feelings toward the government tend to dissipate - a phenomenon Bill Clinton exploited with great success.
But today's Democrats don't think that way. Pro-growth policies are quite literally unthinkable to the Obama mindset. He craves the power of Big Government taxation and spending, uses divisive class-war politics to distract from his failures, and above all, he prospers in an environment of manufactured despair.
That's the most grimly ironic thing about Obama's old "Hope and Change" mantra: he's the maestro of hopelessness, missing no opportunity to assure his subjects this is as good as it gets, as good as they deserve. The country is capable of nothing better. In fact, Obama's not shy about suggesting that America has disappointed him in various ways, or at least the business sector has. The insurance industry is a recent example - he blames them for everything that's gone wrong with ObamaCare, while simultaneously muscling them into all kinds of crazy improvised policies that save his hide. That strategy only works if the American people see themselves as prisoners of Purgatory, with their heroic super-President the only thing saving them from a further decline into outright hell. And hey, if everyone would just stop resisting and obey him - not just the laws his government has passed, but his desires - we might just catch a glimpse of Heaven!
There's no way Obama would ever consider a growth plan that involved reducing government and increasing the size of the private sector economy. He doesn't like either of those possibilities, and he hates the combination of the two. People might start getting funny ideas about cutting the government back further, making their own life decisions, insisting on keeping more of their own money... talk about a polar vortex! That's a deep freeze for socialist ambition.
No, what's best is a moribund economy that Obama's Ruling Class can occasionally pretend is doing better in some vague, unspecified way... but high unemployment that generates political demand for more government welfare benefits, and gives Obama a chance to rail against anyone who points out the incontrovertible fact that endless benefits increase unemployment? That's Mission Accomplished, folks. That is the promised land for Obamanomics... provided the American people don't grow frustrated with this President's poor performance, and start demanding a change.
He's gotten away with it so far, hasn't he? Fifty-year highs in poverty, forty-year lows in the workforce, a welfare state bigger than most other nations on Earth, a public that will evidently swallow even the most cosmic levels of failure from Big Government... which only grows really cross when some portion of this deeply dysfunctional statist machine shuts down for a couple of weeks... what's not to love? Prosperity has a way of making people value independence, achievement, and risk. A subdued nation is much easier to rule, and the United States begins 2014 flat on its back. If Democrats do okay in 2014 despite ObamaCare's failure, it will be reasonable for statists to conclude that this American generation is truly willing to settle for less. Nobody's going to seriously talk about reducing the size of a government that controls health care, since every penny of spending cuts can be portrayed as a drop of blood squeezed from the poor.
And that will pretty much settle the debate between pro-growth Reagan-style liberty and command economics, won't it? The people will stop thinking about what could be, and settle for what they are told they deserve.