Obama's New Deal II Lark

Nothing could have encapsulated better the vast divergence between economic reality and the Obama administration's agenda than the events of Thursday. On the one hand, the Dow dropped another 280 points to close below 6600, a 4% loss. On the other, President Obama was conducting a dog-and-pony health care show at the White House. This raises a fundamental question: is he mad? Really, the economy is smoldering in ruins and the president is rushing to find more matches?

The Republicans reacted in horror to the prospect of further taxes and government expansion, especially now. Minority Leader John Boehner declared:

We all know that health care costs are putting a tremendous strain on American families' budgets. Republicans believe that every American should have access to affordable, quality health care.  However, we have serious concerns about the plan outlined in the president's budget. Taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize a bureaucratic takeover of health care with a massive tax hike on all Americans, particularly in these troubled economic times. In addition, we believe families and their physicians should make decisions about what treatments are "appropriate," not government bureaucrats. We welcome the dialogue and look forward to working with the president to come up with a plan that will work for all Americans.

And even Democrats like Sen. Max Baucus are slightly nervous, reminding the president that America is not Canada.

But the more fundamental question than the contours of his health nationalization plan is whether the president has his priorities straight. Even those sympathetic to his long-term policy goals are criticizing his lack of focus on -- if not downright hostility to -- wealth creation. Jim Cramer, defending himself against another media attack from the White House press office, explained:

I actually embrace every part of Obama's agenda, right down to the increase on personal taxes and the mortgage deduction. I am a fierce environmentalist who has donated multiple acres to the state of New Jersey to keep forever wild. I believe in cap and trade. I favor playing hardball with drug companies that hold up the U.S. government with me-too products.

But these are issues that we have no time for now, on the verge of a second Great Depression. This is an agenda that must be held back for better times. It is an agenda that at this moment is radical vs. what is called for. I am proud to have voted for the Obama who I thought understood the need to get us on the right path, and create jobs and wealth before taxing it and making moves that hurt job creation -- certainly ones that will outweigh the meager number of jobs he's creating.

In short, it has become apparent that the president would rather spend his time reinventing America than reviving the American economy. It might be smart politics to ram home as much of his far left agenda as possible before the next congressional election, but it raises two significant problems.