PostHeaderIcon The Real Obama

Charles Krauthammer warns us not to be fooled by Obama’s foreign affairs cabinet picks. He is focused on domestic affairs:

As Obama revealingly said just last week, “This painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people.” Transformation is his mission. Crisis provides the opportunity. The election provides him the power.

The deepening recession creates the opportunity for federal intervention and government experimentation on a scale unseen since the New Deal. A Republican administration has already done the ideological groundwork with its unprecedented intervention, culminating in the forced partial nationalization of nine of the largest banks, the kind of stuff that happens in Peronist Argentina with a gun on the table. Additionally, Henry Paulson’s invention of the number $700 billion forever altered our perception of imaginable government expenditure. Twenty billion more for Citigroup? Lunch money.

Moreover, no one in Congress even pretends that spending should be pay as you go (i.e., new expenditures balanced by higher taxes or lower spending), as the Democrats disingenuously promised when they took over Congress last year. Even some conservative economists are urging stimulus (although structured far differently from Democratic proposals). And public opinion, demanding action, will buy any stimulus package of any size. The result: undreamed-of amounts of money at Obama’s disposal.

To meet the opportunity, Obama has the political power that comes from a smashing electoral victory. It not only gave him a personal mandate. It increased Democratic majorities in both houses, thereby demonstrating coattails and giving him clout. And by running on nothing much more than change and (often contradictory) hopes, he has given himself enormous freedom of action.

Obama was quite serious when he said he was going to change the world. And now he has a national crisis, a personal mandate, a pliant Congress, a desperate public — and, at his disposal, the greatest pot of money in galactic history. (I include here the extrasolar planets.)

Are you ready for a socialist paradise? â—„Daveâ–º

11 Responses to “The Real Obama”

  • As much as I wish the country were swinging towards smaller government rather than larger, I think both of the big parties are now socialist. We have our choice between tax and spend Democrats and spend and don’t tax Republicans. If Obama runs the country as well as he ran his campaign, then the next four years will see us on a better path than the last four. If he screws it up worse, I really hope we can just scrap the whole system and start over.

  • Thanks for stopping by. I hope to hear more from you. I suspect that the start over will be required. Bush’s Administration has done a lot to trash the Constitution and our Capitalist economic system, but the moment Obama is sworn in will probably be the stake in the heart. There is no question that, by definition, he is ineligible for the position of POTUS, because he is not a natural born citizen.

    Beyond that small detail, we are so far down the trail toward hyperinflation that I don’t see any hope of economic recovery, even if he wasn’t planning the massive new New Deal. The government, no matter how well managed, could never be the solution, because it is the problem. â—„Daveâ–º

  • I’m not terribly concerned about the grey areas of citizenship. I understand why you take the stand you do, but I think it a bit outdated in the modern world. Presidential vetting is a whole different animal than it was in 1787, and the president is still elected by the will of the people, who have apparently decided that he isn’t going to sell the country to France (or wherever) upon inauguration. Are we a Federal Republic, or aren’t we?

    Obama spent a dozen years as a constitutional law professor. I’d like to hope he will continue to allow us to cling to our guns and religion and do a bit less constitution trashing than Bush, but we will see. He is already talking about closing up Gitmo, which I think is a victory for the constitution (although admittedly another grey area).

    The hyperinflation road is an interesting one. Bernanke is far more afraid of deflation at the moment. He is hoping that by flooding the market with credit, he can keep people buying things so that people have things to make, so thatthey keep their jobs, so that the economy doesn’t stall out and put us in a deep depression. On the one hand he may be right. On the other, it is a continuation of what got us into this mess in the first place, and continuing down this road may just mean we will have farther to fall. His plan is being foiled by the banks he bailed out. They haven’t used the money for lending, they have used it to buy up their competitors. The rest of the money they are just sitting on. If the banks don’t start doing something with it, expect the feds to find another way to flush that money quickly into the system.

    In the end, the inflation will win, we did after all, increase the money supply by 24% in a month, but at the moment, the dollar is stronger than it was a year ago. All of our foreign debt is in dollars (suckers), so if we fall, they fall with us. None of this solves the fundamental problems of a credit economy and porky government, but it may mean we aren’t in as deep as it looks.

  • If you’ve ever sat through a modern Constitutional Law class, you would know that few people do more Constitution trashing than ConLaw profs. Or law professors in general.

  • From what I have seen at Volokh, I don’t doubt it. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

  • I must admit I have not, nor do I intend to.

    Apparently I’m reading Volokh wrong. I’ve been a reader (off and on) there for a long time and haven’t felt like the constitution was under fire.

    Time will tell.

  • I was referring to the discussions in Volokh’s comment sections, more than Gene himself. I have wasted hours perusing them on subjects that interest me. Present company excepted (Orrin is one of the good guys), it is more the whole legal mindset that bothers me. At some point, Constitutional law devolved from upholding the document as the basis of our organic law, and testing legislative statutes against the original meaning and intent of the contract; to the primacy of case law precedent, however flawed, used for getting around that original intent.

    At least 90% of Congressional Acts are clearly unconstitutional with regard to original intent; but they can always find a ruling by some partisan dominated appellate court, on which to hang a denial for a modern appeal. Eventually, bad law gains the status of virtually unappealable precedent, with the doctrine of stari decisis. I reckon it is time to wipe the slate clean and start over – in more ways than one. â—„Daveâ–º

  • I couldn’t agree more; unfortunately, in order for enough of the populace to come around, things are going to have to get a whole lot worse. This is why I vote against the center; they think they can fix things with small changes. Succeed or fail, we needed to elect someone with big ideas to either fix the system or bury it.

  • Succeed or fail, we needed to elect someone with big ideas to either fix the system or bury it.

    That is an interesting perspective, which I had not considered before. I’ll allow my mind to chew on it for a bit. Thanks. â—„Daveâ–º

  • On the other hand, big and bold change, if it turns out to be a mistake, takes that much more time, money, and effort to fix. That’s the glory of Federalism. Let CA fail, and let AK succeed.

    And we need a leader less than we need to re-build up the virtue of personal responsibility. It needs to be shameful once again to live in Mom’s basement – and it should be no less shameful when “Mom” is Uncle Sam.

  • Agreed… and then there are the Judicial appointments… â—„Daveâ–º

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