From the President’s news conference last night:
"So my whole goal over the next four years is to make sure that whatever arguments are persuasive and backed up by evidence and facts and proof, that they can work, that we are pulling people together around that kind of pragmatic agenda."
Sounds kinda cool, no? An Administration which makes decisions based upon fact, not ideology. Wow.
And it’s happening already!! In his recent testimony, Leon Panetta felt compelled to eat his words about "rendition": the policy of sending nasty people to foreign countries, initiated by Clinton, pursued by Bush, and flagellated unmercifully by the loony left throughout the late campaign. He also backed off the wacko Left’s profoundly idiotic views on "aggressive interrogation."
"If we had a ticking bomb situation, and obviously, whatever was being used I felt was not sufficient, I would not hesitate to go to the president of the United States and request whatever additional authority I would need."
Welcome to the wonderful world of "torture", Mr. Panetta. This, of course, is producing whole litters of kittens on the Left, but it demonstrates that this Administration – however moronic the campaign it just ran – may, in fact, listen to "evidence" and act pragmatically. Just like Bush. "Change we can believe in."
Would that they would apply that "pragmatic" approach to the fraudulently-named stimulus package.
Here, we find Obama channeling Bernie Madoff, selling the electorate a Ponzi scheme. (Interesting, isn’t it, how many liberals got caught up in that particular boondoggle?) Each dollar of governmental spending, Obama’s theory holds, will create $1.65 in GDP. The more government borrows and spends, the greater the "stimulus", because people will take the governmentally-bestowed gift, spend it, and businesses that sell products will sell more. The new demand will enable them to hire employees, etc.
Unfortunately for the President and this "evidence" based regime, precisely no evidence supports the stimulative effect of governmental spending. That’s N-O-N-E. It’s all based upon Keynesian economic models which, alas, have no real world support whatsoever. Not that they haven’t been tried. Progressives Hoover and FDR tried precisely this sort of thing to end the Great Depression; they failed utterly. Japan tried it to end its "lost decade"; abject failure. While much historic precedent exists for the attempt – massive governmental spending to end economic downturns – no evidence exists of success.
Advocates, like Paul Krugman, contend that this unbroken record of failure results from timidity: FDR didn’t borrow and spend ENOUGH. This recalls the die hard communist lament, that it never really failed, because it was never tried. Enough evidence exists from (relatively) small scale trials to extrapolate that their more grandiose cousins would produce similarly horrific results.
What, for instance, might the stimulative effect of additional unemployment payments be? The recipients will spend it buying products, the theory holds, enabling businesses to thrive. Sounds like the real beneficiaries are supposed to be said businesses. If so, why not cut out the middle man: cut business taxes, permitting them to retain their employees, cut prices on their products (thereby increasing demand), distribute dividends, offer raises, etc.
The obvious answer is that you can’t buy the votes of the unemployed unless you send them checks directly. Folks appreciate you, as a politician, when you hand them a check or pay for their health insurance; they don’t when your policies create the kind of economy in which they don’t need that assistance. It’s akin to the difference between a tax rebate and a tax cut. A cut amounting to $10 a week passes unnoticed, and the pols get no credit. A rebate – a check – of $500 draws attention and engenders gratitude. Same fiscal result, markedly different political result. Which option do you suppose a politician prefers?
We see, then, that the purpose of this "stimulus" package has nothing whatsoever to do with helping the economy, and everything to do with expanding government to buy votes. The "evidence" for Obama’s plan is that when more people depend upon government, Democrats prosper. And to that evidence, the President is paying strict attention.
Obama is a skilled, left-wing Chicago pol, fluent in liberal double-speak. While (quite properly) condemning Bush and the GOP for profligacy, his proposed "solution" is to make things exponentially worse. While lamenting "ideological restraints", he enters the debate ideologically blinkered. His view of "bipartisanship" requires adversaries to accede to his foolish proposals, rather than him reconsidering his own preconceptions. After all, sayeth he, "I won".
Economic stimulus forms no part of Obama’s rationale; he favors this proposal because he thinks that’s what government ought to do. It should, quoth he, "spread the wealth around". Curious, isn’t it, that all of the nifty, left-wing spending proposals that he’s always favored in their own right are suddenly essential to "stimulate the economy"?
We conservatives have always been "evidence based". We see that low tax, economically free societies ALWAYS outperform their socialist-statist neighbors, and we conclude that the evidence supports our policies. Not a single example exists of a socialist society thriving at a level anywhere near that of a free society. Not one.
In short, based upon the evidence, conservatives win the economic debate; our policies produce prosperity. The left’s policies are not about producing prosperity or building wealth, but redistribution. Forced to choose between a dynamic, growing economy, which rewards talent and drive, and a governmentally-mandated "fair" society – the two are mutually exclusive – the left chooses the latter.
Obama’s plan stimulates nothing but Big Government, sets the stage for massive tax increases, and undercuts the economic engine which produces prosperity. It should be rejected by anyone who favors prosperity and considers "evidence" important.