Human Events Blog

Faith in Obama, faith in the State

It’s always fun to watch Barack Obama, who added more to the national debt than most of his predecessors combined, suddenly grow concerned about deficit spending.  Money is no object when it comes to socializing medicine, subsidizing doomed “green energy” ventures, or cranking out food stamp cards… but when the discussion turns to Mitt Romney’s plans for tax simplification with a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut, suddenly there’s a thunderclap and a puff of feathers, and Barack the Deficit Hawk stands before us, muttering that we can’t afford the $5 trillion price tag he fantasizes for Romney’s tax rate reduction.

Even if Obama wasn’t pulling that $5 trillion number from the murky depths of discredited partisan studies, think about what he’s saying.  He blew through $6 trillion in debt in four years, with no detectable benefit to the American people.  But returning $5 trillion from the government’s coffers to those long-suffering taxpayers?  Why, that’s unthinkable.

That’s another way of saying that he squandered our tax cut during his first term… and now he wants another shot at the public purse, without even the pretense of returning to the days when $400 billion deficits were considered obscene.  He won’t consider shrinking government to the very bloated shape he found it in.  The State has been forever expanded, the private sector permanently reduced.  Forward!

Obama likes to make the occasional genuflection toward free-market ideals, as in the final presidential debate, when he said of places like Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan: “what we’ve also done is engaged these governments in the kind of reforms that are actually going to make a difference in people’s lives day to day, to make sure that their governments aren’t corrupt, to make sure that they’re treating women with the kind of respect and dignity that every nation that succeeds has shown and to make sure that they’ve got a free market system that works.”

But none of that “free market” stuff for America!  On the really important issues – health care, energy production, televising billion-dollar puppet shows – only the judgment of the State can be trusted.  Obama sees the marketplace as a barren tundra prowled by predators, and equates freedom with abandonment.  The public can only be allowed to frolic within carefully controlled spaces, where failure is not an option, and excessive success will be punished.  Obama’s faith in the wisdom and intelligence of free people to increase the general wealth of the nation, by discovering and exploring opportunity on their own, is virtually undetectable.  To him, ensuring “access” to something means forcing other people to pay for it.

It’s no surprise that Obama hasn’t talked about his second term agenda.  The closest he’s come is publishing a glossy brochure devoid of firm plans or new ideas, a laminated menu of nothingburgers… and he only did that because he’s desperate.  Keeping mum about what he would do in a second term is not just a political calculation – it’s an expression of his ideology.  You don’t have to know what he’d do, and you probably wouldn’t understand if he tried to explain it to you.  You lack the vision to appreciate the wondrous metamorphosis he has in mind for America.  Frankly, he’s a little tired of hearing you complain about how painful the process is.

To this day, after three highly-watched debates and hundreds of hours of campaign appearances, Obama has never conceded any errors during his disastrous first term.  He really doesn’t think he did anything wrong.  His phony admissions of “error” are actually self-serving insults directed at the electorate, as when he mildly chastises himself for being an insufficiently good “storyteller.”  The public is a vast nursery filled with squalling children, and Obama should have told them a better bedtime story.

As for what he’s actually done, as opposed to his marketing efforts, Obama is annoyed that anyone would even dare to criticize him.  Sprinkled through his speeches and debate performances are little hints that he plans to double down on everything the American public hates.  Solyndra?  More to come.  Regulation?  You ain’t seen nothing yet.  Taxes?  Not nearly high enough.  ObamaCare?  Not nearly complicated enough.  Medicare?  Ignore your lying calculators, it’s just fine the way it is.  How do we make America more competitive on the international stage?  Hire more unionized teachers.

No matter the question, the answer for Obama is always faith in the State.  He loves to throw money at things he doesn’t even understand, because government programs represent pure, unalloyed goodness.  Compulsory subsidies are the only way to demonstrate compassion.  Programs might run into a bit of trouble – becoming, in the memorably callous phrase he used to describe the dead of Benghazi, “not optimal” – but that doesn’t mean they should be terminated.  No, they should be “fixed,” and Those Who Have Not Paid Their Fair Share should cover the repair bills.  No refunds will be issued, ever.

In the second presidential debate, Obama claimed “there are millions of women all across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood for, not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings.”  Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms, but don’t expect Barack Obama to know that.  Planned Parenthood is a favored program of the super-State, made synonymous with “women’s health” through the sacred communion of taxpayer subsidies.  It is approved, and therefore it is good, and all good things flow from it.

Faith in the State is mandatory with Obama.  Some mild criticism of procedural issues may be permitted, but the central government’s spheres of influence can never be reduced.  Once it has moved into an area of American life, it resides there forever.  Restoring liberty to the people would be going “backward.”  Devolving power to state governments would create the possibility of escape for untrustworthy citizens.  Nothing nauseates the hard-core statist like the unseemly spectacle of small governments competing to attract investment and population.

Obama loves to talk about “nation building at home” – he deployed the phrase five times during the final presidential debate.  Nation building is normally carried out by soldiers.  There is no question about who’s in charge of the process – it’s the folks with uniforms, guns, and bayonets.  In earlier times of “hope and change,” the President spoke of “partnerships” with the private sector.  Nation building is not a partnership, even in the strained crony-capitalist sense of the word.  It’s something done to a wretched Third World hellhole.  America should have enough self-respect to reject that proposition.  Instead of professing boundless faith that Obama’s ideology will finally start producing results, if we just give him another four years and five trillion dollars to spend, we should demand leadership that has more faith in us.  And the only tangible demonstration of that faith involves the sacrifice of government power upon the altar of liberty.

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