Just to be clear, I'm not trying to be an obstructionist Republi-can't who mearly stands in the way as their only political option [no matter how well that actually works]. Nor am I influenced by 'Astro-Turffed' special interests who are trying to push particular agendas around the obstructionist party faithful.
No, I'm speaking to the bi-polar country, and the bi-polar State of the Union speech I heard last night. President Obama, on one hand, recognized how America is tired of the same old crap out of Washington. And while Mr. Obama was making little digs at the Republicans...
"Saying "no" to everything is not leadership."...just as he was telling everyone how upset everyone was at the playground crap in Washington. Bi-polar for sure. on the other, tasked his party to grow the size of government interference and also [somehow] create jobs.
Let me be clear - the government doesn't make jobs! If you don't understand this - please write me a comment or just keep reading.
But why am I not excited about the President's plan? Because all his other plans were no good, that's why. Take the $787 billion stimulus package. Fifty-six percent of Americans now oppose the stimulus, with only 42 percent supporting it. A year ago, those numbers were reversed. The American people have learned what economists such as Robert Barro and Valerie Ramey could have told you a long time ago: that a dollar increase in government spending results in no more (and almost certainly less) than a dollar increase in economic activity. The Administration's estimates about how many jobs would be "created" by the stimulus package—a term of art later modified to "saved or created," then downgraded further to "funded"—have been slippery, unconvincing, and wildly off-base. The same goes for their estimates on the unemployment rate, still in double digits and not improving despite confident predictions that the stimulus would cap the bleeding at 9 percent. And then there's a report that construction jobs don't stimulate anything.
And then there were the bailouts. Bush and now Mr. Obama have taken from the people of 'Main Street' and given it to their buddies in 'Wall Street'. For some reason, I'm a little bitter about that. There's been no accounting of what happened to the money - but everytime I see a golden parachute deploy or if I hear of a bonus that's more than I brought in last decade -- yeah, I get a little bitter about that. And I'm also aware that every dollar spent is leveraged on our future. You're taking money from the current and future economy. You're merely postponing a larger crash...
The President's spending priorities are less than compelling. He campaigned on a promise to enact a "net spending cut" in federal outlays. Yes, that's a good reaction to the free-spending days of George Bush, to be sure. But then why has overall federal spending in fiscal year 2009 increased 32 percent over the previous year? And that's not counting our ongoing wars.
Tack onto all this the slow-motion car wreck that was health care "reform" (His word, not mine). He discussed the need to contain costs and introduce choice and competition into the system. Forget tort reform, or single payers -- if the Health Care Reform just simply broke the link between employment and insurance, so that individuals can shop for and own their own policies regardless of their work situation, or State they live in - you'd see some fantastic Change!
I won't even bring up the broken promises and dashed hopes on closing Guantanamo, reversing discrimination against gays, and paring back our overseas military commitments, but the headline story of your presidency is about one crucial thing: economic policy and results.
If the President has any chance of winning back the shinny glow that got him elected, he would start by taking those promises seriously, rather than treating them as short-term fixes for long-term drops in popularity. Stop campaigning, start governing. Take the American people seriously. Acknowledge that differences of opinion spring from genuine place. [With the exception of the lady wearing the homemade airbrushed Sarah Palin T-Shirt.] And try something that no president since Bill Clinton has even attempted: Scale back ambitions. Pay as you go. Limit the growth of government. You know, just like the rest of us!
Prosperity isn't something the government creates, it's something the government can enable, by establishing a set of simple rules and getting the hell out of the way.