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Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Radical Presidency


When I laid out my reasons not to elect Brack Obama, I specifically said:
I woke up this morning and realized that America up and vanished on me like a fart in the wind. In the year 2008, we are on the cusp of electing the most unqualified candidate that has come to the plate in decades.

We’re on the verge of electing a candidate who advocates blatantly socialistic policies he describes as, “spreading the wealth,” policies “based on fairness” rather than personal liberty.

We are literally standing at the rim of a precipice, staring into an abyss that looks a whole lot like communism and not at all like free market capitalism.
I'm sad to say, it seems I was spot on - and that was four and a half months ago. Even sadder is that this country is a month into Obama's presidency and the economy is faring far worse than even the most pessimistic of his critics could have ever predicted. Sadder still is the economy isn't just tanking, it's being fundamentally altered into something quite unrecognizable. Obama's administration is rapidly increasing the federal government's stake in the economy to such an extent I am in perpetual awe at those who would scoff at conservative concerns of growing socialism.

At some point, the numerous people who voted for "Hope" and "Change" are going to have to snap back to reality and admit they were wrong. At some point, these people will have to crack a history book (one not written by a liberal revisionist) and take a long hard look at FDR's failed economic policies. At some point in the not so distant future, Americans will have to look at the Rise and Fall of Socialism and understand that it doesn't work - ever.

The first step on the journey to reality is for everyone to wake up out of their "Messiah"-induced trance of apathy. The "fundamental changes" Obama promised are here. His brand of radicalism is coming to fruition and Americans will have to decide whether they want to follow Obama like a mindless herd of cattle on its way to the slaughter, or stand in opposition to the socialism being forced down our throats.

Below is an article from The Wall Street Journal which I think does a nice job of outlining Obama's radicalism:
A Radical Presidency
February 26, 2009
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his Jan. 4, 1935, State of the Union speech, seeking authority to create jobs for persons then on relief











When Barack Obama delivered his 44-minute acceptance speech in August among the majestic columns of Denver, it was apparent his would be an expansive presidency. Some wondered whether his solutions for a very long list of problems was too ambitious. On Tuesday, before Congress, he made clear across 52 minutes that the economic downturn would not deflect him from his Denver vision.

Instead, the economic crisis, as it did for Franklin D. Roosevelt, will serve as a stepping stone to a radical shift in the relationship between the people and their government. It will bind Americans to their government in ways not experienced since the New Deal. This tectonic shift, if successful, will be equal to the forces of public authority set in motion by Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. The Obama presidency is going to be a radical presidency.

Barack Obama is proposing that the U.S. alter the relationship between the national government and private sector that was put in place by Ronald Reagan and largely continued by the presidencies of Bill Clinton and the Bushes. Then, the private sector led the economy. Now Washington will chart its course.


Mr. Obama was clear about his intention. "Our economy did not fall into this decline overnight," he said. Instead, an "era" has "failed" to think about the nation's long-term future. With the urgency of a prophet, he says the "day of reckoning has arrived." The president said his purpose is not to "only revive this economy."

In fact, people would probably coronate Mr. Obama if he merely revived the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow's fall since the Sept. 14 collapse of Lehman Brothers and sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America has eviscerated the net wealth of Americans across all incomes. Many are in the most dispirited state in their lifetimes.

Yesterday, the post-Obama Dow lost another percentage point. No matter. In his worldview, "short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity." His speech did include a plan to address the market crisis. It consists of a program to support consumer and small-business loans; a mortgage refinancing mechanism; and the "full force of the government" to restart bank lending. Mr. Obama delivered that last element with a rather crude pistol-whipping of the nation's bankers and CEOs, thousands of whom have been operating their companies in a responsible, productive way.

This was just the prelude. Notwithstanding the daily nightmares of the economic crisis, now is the time to "boldly" rebuild the nation's "foundation." The U.S. budget he released today isn't just a budget. "I see it as a vision for America -- as a blueprint for our future." With it, Mr. Obama becomes the economy's Architect-in-Chief.

This blueprint will reshape energy and health. With energy, it proposes a gradual tear-down of the existing energy sector and its replacement with renewables. This vision has foundered before on the price disadvantage of noncarbon energy. Mr. Obama says he will "make" renewable energy profitable. He'll do this with a cap-and-trade system for carbon. The goal here is to "make" renewables economic by driving up the price of carbon.

The once-private auto industry, now run by federal "car czar" Steve Rattner, a reformed investment banker, is about to be ordered to produce "more efficient cars and trucks." Americans, like it or not, will buy these government-designed vehicles with government-supported car loans.

Mr. Obama believes health-care costs cause a bankruptcy "every 30 seconds" and will drive 1.5 million Americans from their homes this year. Therefore, the budget's vision on health is "historic" and a "downpayment" toward comprehensive health insurance. This "will not wait another year," he said.

He announced "tax-free universal savings accounts" as a solution to Social Security's crisis. This is a savings plan supported by federal matching contributions automatically deposited in individual accounts.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that this spending -- which in the public sector's new vocabulary is always "investment" -- will be costly. His read-my-lips moment was that no family with an income under $250,000 will pay a "single dime" in new taxes to support the construction of this new federal skyscraper. If that's still true in 2015, Mr. Obama will be walking back and forth across the Potomac River.

He told Congress he does not believe in bigger government. I don't believe that. It's becoming clear that the private sector is going to be demoted into a secondary role in the U.S. system. This isn't socialism, but it is not the system we've had since the early 1980s. It would be a reordered economic system, its direction chosen and guided by Mr. Obama and his inner circle.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's postspeech reply did not come close to recognizing the gauntlet Mr. Obama has thrown down to the opposition. Unless the GOP can discover a radical message of its own to distinguish it from the president's, it should prepare to live under Mr. Obama's radicalism for at least a generation.

Write to henninger@wsj.com
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