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Works and Days

The Fantasy House of Barack Obama

September 23rd, 2012 - 9:27 pm

It All Failed?

By Fantasy House I do not mean — or rather only mean — Barack Obama’s La-La land in which Austrians speak Austrian, Hawaii is in Asia, Afghans speak Arabic, the Maldives lie off Argentina, there are seven additional states, servicemen are zombie corpse-men, and Kansas twisters kill 10,000 at a time.

Rather I refer to the fantasies that Obama employs to deal with a very real world he inhabits. The president just told Univision that you “cannot change Washington from the inside.” In other words, the president just shattered his own four-year fantasy that he, like Lincoln, would take the train from Illinois to D.C., not just to remake America, but also to change the very way things are done there.

Now Obama accepts that the second coming of an Illinois savior has failed, not because he tried to change the ethics of Washington (he never did), but because upon arrival he almost immediately did in Washington what he was used to doing in Chicago. And so lobbying, insider politics to help campaign bundlers, private deals to pass health care, the revolving door, and nonstop campaigning all replaced hope and change.

I suppose in place of change from the “inside,” he now envisions more “outside” executive orders like the de facto Dream Act, having the EPA shut down more coal plants, stopping more federal energy leases, granting more recess appointments, and extending more executive privilege. 

Shattering Glass

The president’s illusions about the economy have, one by one, been exploded. Do we even remember the 2010 “summer of recovery”? Or “millions of new green jobs” that ended in Solyndra-like realties? “GM is alive, Osama bin Laden is dead” — well, sort of, in the sense that the government can take any insolvent company, inject $25 billion into it, and keep it alive until the next election.

Somehow we are to console ourselves that 43 months of 8% plus unemployment is success. The president keeps bragging that he has created 4.6 million new jobs. But who cares about the actual number created, if the number lost is the far greater figure? Do businesses brag that they grossed $4.6 million when their bottom line is a net loss of $500,000? The jobs fantasy has also evaporated in the reality that we have lost more jobs than gained under Obama, millions no longer look for work, and the percentage of adults working is at near-record lows. Where did the fifteen million more on food stamps come from?

Check your tire pressure; tune your cars up; “bankrupt” coal companies; “skyrocketing” electricity prices, Steven Chu’s dream of gas prices at “European levels” — all that only ended up at $4 a gallon gas. Yet we still don’t know whether that price spike is supposed to be welcomed, in the green sense of helping to sell subsidized Volts and “cutting our carbon footprint.”

The deficit? What deficit and debt? The president insists to David Letterman that he doesn’t know what the aggregate debt is — only that whatever it actually is, George Bush caused it! He barnstorms on the idea that ending the war in Afghanistan (where was the supposed “peace dividend” from Iraq that was supposed to cut the deficit?) will help pay down the $1 trillion-plus he borrows each year. Yet taking 39.5% from top incomes and hiking capital gains taxes will not even give us a 20% reduction in the annual deficit. So after the next tax hike, then what? We go to 50%,  55%, 60% — to pay our fair share for millions of more green jobs?

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