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Ed Driscoll

Obama: Industrial Age Solutions to Information Age Challenges

September 29th, 2012 - 8:00 am

In his weekly column, Mark Steyn writes, “One of the reasons why Barack Obama is regarded as the greatest orator of our age is that he’s always banging on about some other age yet to come – e.g., the Future!”

The excitable lads around the globe torching American embassies with impunity seem to have figured this out, even if the striped-pants crowd at Turtle Bay are too polite to mention it. Obama is not the President of the Future. He is President right now, and one occasionally wishes the great visionary would take his eye off the far distant horizon where educated women and fire-breathing Imams frolic and gambol side by side around their Chevy Volts, to focus on the humdrum present where the rest of us have the misfortune to live.

In the America over which Barack Obama has the tedious chore of actually presiding, second-quarter GDP growth was revised down from 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent – or, for in layman’s terms, from “barely detectable” to “comatose.” Orders of durable goods fell by 13.2 percent – or, as Obama would say, the future must not belong to people who own household appliances. Growth of capital stock (which basically measures investment in new equipment and software – or, as Obama would put it, investment in “the future”) is at its lowest since records began. There are 261,000 fewer payroll jobs than when Obama took office – in a nation where (officially) 100,000 immigrants arrive every month. A few weeks ago, an analysis of government employment data by the nation’s oldest outplacement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, discovered that, of the 4,319,000 new American jobs created since January 2010, 2,998,000 – or about 70 percent – went to people aged 55 or older. This is a remarkable statistic, even in a land of 31-year-old schoolgirls like Sandra Fluke. You’d almost begin to get the vague, unsettling feeling that the future does not belong to Americans aged 54 and younger.

But what’s Obama’s vision for the future? For a president who presents himself as a cutting edge, postmodern, don’t bother me with history kind of guy, he’s offering strictly Bing Crosby-era gray flannel squaresville one size fits all “Industrial Age Solutions to Information Age Challenges,” Michael Barone writes:

His favorite high-tech project is to build enormously expensive high-speed rail lines like the one Jerry Brown is pushing in California.

Meanwhile, Google is developing self-driving cars that will be able to move faster and more efficiently than current cars because their 21st century technology, like the 19th century technology of fixed rails, effectively prevents cars from colliding.

Nineteenth century fixed rails take you where the railroad, or its government subsidizer, wants you to go. Self-driving cars will take you where you want to go, with as many stops as you like along the way.

That’s in line with the way Millennials lead their lives. The iPod/Facebook generation fashions its own playlists and friends lists, rather than let central decisionmakers choose for them.

Obama’s policies, from Obamacare to high-speed rail, treat people as identical cogs in a very large machine, part of a mindless mass that would not be able to get along without government guidance.

Which makes his campaign’s kick-off “1984″ Apple rip-off mash-up ad from early 2007 even more ironic:

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But then, even before the economic downtown in the fall of 2008, Democrats warned that if they recaptured the White House, in addition to Congress and the Senate, which they already controlled since 2007, they’d taking the nation full-throttle “Barack to the Future,” as then-Congressman Paul Kanjorski admitted in May of 2008:

“All we’re doing is going into the basket and saying, ‘Damn, what did they do in ’32, what did they do in ’34, what did they do in ’36,’ and we’re pulling them out, dusting them off, giving them a paint job, correcting the fenders a bit, and we’re using them,” Kanjorski said. “To get us through the horrendous problems we may have over the next several years, we’ve got to make these old programs work, and we’ve got to be as inventive as hell.”

Even a die-hard leftist like Paul Krugman admits the New Deal failed, which is why he’s reduced to espousing the economic “miracle” of World War II and calling for goofy alien invasion fantasies to rally the American people. And yet, the left’s cargo cult obsessions with the New Deal seems impossible to break — despite the fact their competing obsessions with early-’70s-style environmentalism make such Hoover Dam-sized projects near impossible to build. But even that won’t end further attempts to build a bridge back to 1933.

(Originally posted at Instapundit.)

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