Obama: Nihilist or Just Incompetent?

 

Three things so far have saved Obama’s otherwise unfortunate tenure; all came over his own objections.

One, after the 2010 midterm tsunami, the newly elected House Republicans put a lid on spending -- ratified by the wins of 2014. Sequestration is a crude blunderbuss and slashed defense, but it at least slowed down Obama’s disastrous serial $1 trillion-plus budget deficits. In spending terms, it certainly has vastly reduced the government’s share of GDP. We know that because Obama occasionally brags of falling deficits, as if to say, “Thank you for not letting me be entirely myself.” When he leaves office, we will have $20 trillion in debt and nearly 100 million permanently out of the work force, as well as uncontrolled and unaddressed entitlement spending on life support through zero-interest rates. But we will still be alive for now, thanks to sequestration. Shutting down the government may have been politically unwise (or not -- given the 2014 midterm elections), but it kept the debt financeable.

Then there is energy. Obama once bragged of sky-high electricity costs to come -- echoed by Steven Chu’s dream of European-level gas prices. Obama mocked “drill, baby, drill” and claimed it was no solution to the energy crisis, as he tabled Keystone and put millions of acres of federal lands de facto off the market for energy exploration. He tried to “bankrupt” the coal industry. The EPA became a rogue agency. Almost all his crony-capitalist Solyndra-like projects failed.

And? Gasoline and natural gas prices have plunged, thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling.

Private-sector entrepreneurs were apparently energized by new technologies and the specter of profits in an uncertain oil market -- and a combative new sense of self-reliance that they were on their own without much government approval. Grimy, forgotten men on rigs have saved Americans trillions in lower energy prices and import costs -- and all despite, not because of, Obama.