Incompetence, malevolence, or both? or Why Obama's policies are pink, not green (with a coda on my new favorite section of the U.S. Constitution)
I was having lunch yesterday with a prominent critic of the Spender in Chief, and he raised a possibility that many of us have entertained over the past several weeks: that Obama is simply out of his depth: that he hasn't a clue about what makes the economy tick and his talk about the "profit-to-earnings ratio" was not a slip of the tongue but a worrisome confirmation of the suspicion that he is an empty suit floundering around in the dark.
We kicked around that possibility for a few minutes: certainly the Obama administration seems like a monument to incompetence. Consider the multiple appointment fiascos. Consider his treatment of Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the country that has been our staunchest ally. Consider, if you can stand it, the economy: That sucking sound--the only palpable trace of the once-mighty U.S. stock market--reminds us what the market makes of Obama's plans to raise taxes on "the rich," the middle class, business. It reminds us what the market thinks of his efforts to shove the coal industry into a death spiral with absurd cap-and-trade carbon emissions regulations. And that's all before breakfast, before he sets about wrecking the U.S. health care industry by turning it, too, over to Washington for ruination.
Yes, we agreed, it certainly looks like incompetence and, judged by its results, is effects, its consequences for this great country, it is incompetence on a breathtaking scale.
And yet, is it only incompetence? Remember, shortly before the election, Obama boasted to his mesmerized supporters that "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." Is that not what he has set about doing--with a vengeance?
And here's where we began talking about another possibility: that Team Obama was deliberately targeting the U.S. economy, deliberately impoverishing millions of Americans, deliberately angering our closest allies while coddling dictators like Putin and his puppet Medvedev and funneling millions to terrorist organizations like Hamas.
Maybe that young person the financial journalist Jim Cramer spoke to was right and "We've elected elected a Leninist" whose "agenda is destroying the life savings of millions of Americans"?
Is President Obama intentionally attempting to bring the stock market to its knees?
Well, is he? Mr. Ross asks us to "Consider that, in the teeth of a devastating recession, Obama has:"
• Raised taxes on small businesses, the engines of entrepreneurship and job growth
• Raised the capital gains tax
• Lied about "tax cuts for 95% of Americans," offering instead $13 a week, achieved not through tax cuts, but by changing the federal withholding tables!
• Destroyed charitable giving by axing the tax breaks for 26% of all giving (or $81 billion in 2006)
• Proposed a carbon cap-and-trading scheme designed to punish oil [and coal] companies and further tax consumers
Why would Obama inflict these destructive policies while the economy is collapsing? Simple. Each step strengthens the role of government in people's lives.
And here we have the ’enry ’iggins moment: "By George, I think he's got it!" "Each step strengthens the role of government in people's lives." That's exactly what Lenin sought to do. In a cheery volume called State and Revolution, for example, Lenin explains how:
And the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists.
Lenin, too, wished to "spread the wealth around." And Obama, like Lenin, has been perfectly frank in recommending that we need to go beyond the "merely formal" rights enunciated in the Constitution in order to "bring about redistributive change" in society.
That's where Obama's much heralded--and astronomically expensive--"green" initiatives come in. Only they aren't really (or are only incidentally) "green," i.e., concerned with the environment. At bottom, they are pink, i.e., they are political weapons in a socialist battle against "greedy" business interests.
Who, I wonder, was the political genius who saw the advantages of exploiting people's sentimental gullibility about the environment for partisan profit? We've long known that environmentalism, as the philosopher Harvey Mansfield put it, is "school prayer for liberals." But I wonder whether even Professor Mansfield could have foreseen what a tool pseudo-environmentalism would be for the radical wing of the Democratic party? The inestimable value of a green, that is, a pink, philosophy is that you can never be green enough. And in pursuit of zero-carbon-emissions purity a government can impose crippling sanctions in order to force compliance. And don't say Obama didn't warn you: as I and many others pointed out during the campaign, he promised that, if elected, he would do all he could to "bankrupt" the coal industry.
And this brings me to my new favorite section of the Constitution of the United States: Article II, Section 4, "Disqualification":
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
What we need now is some clever legal talent to show how deliberately sabotaging the United States economy counts as Treason, a high Crime, or at least a Misdemeanor. Any takers?