An Op Ed over at the Wall Street Journal says what most thoughtful people now know: this is now Obama’s economy and his continuing attempts to blame everything on the previous President are resonating with fewer and fewer people. Very few of us who actually pay taxes are buying into his smoke and mirrors, though he does have a lock on the loser class.
As 2009 opened, three weeks before Barack Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9034 on January 2, its highest level since the autumn panic. Yesterday the Dow fell another 4.24% to 6763, for an overall decline of 25% in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama’s policies have become part of the economy’s problem.
Americans have welcomed the Obama era in the same spirit of hope the President campaigned on. But after five weeks in office, it’s become clear that Mr. Obama’s policies are slowing, if not stopping, what would otherwise be the normal process of economic recovery. From punishing business to squandering scarce national public resources, Team Obama is creating more uncertainty and less confidence — and thus a longer period of recession or subpar growth.
The Democrats who now run Washington don’t want to hear this, because they benefit from blaming all bad economic news on President Bush. And Mr. Obama has inherited an unusual recession deepened by credit problems, both of which will take time to climb out of. But it’s also true that the economy has fallen far enough, and long enough, that much of the excess that led to recession is being worked off. Already 15 months old, the current recession will soon match the average length — and average job loss — of the last three postwar downturns. What goes down will come up — unless destructive policies interfere with the sources of potential recovery.
I have said it before and I will say it again, President Obama clearly does not want an economic recovery right now, he needs the misery to continue so that he can continue his Chavez-like consolidation of federal government power and squelching of any opposition. The Op Ed continues with very specific indictments of Obama’s agenda:
So what has happened in the last two months? The economy has received no great new outside shock. Exchange rates and other prices have been stable, and there are no security crises of note. The reality of a sharp recession has been known and built into stock prices since last year’s fourth quarter.
What is new is the unveiling of Mr. Obama’s agenda and his approach to governance. Every new President has a finite stock of capital — financial and political — to deploy, and amid recession Mr. Obama has more than most. But one negative revelation has been the way he has chosen to spend his scarce resources on income transfers rather than growth promotion. Most of his “stimulus” spending was devoted to social programs, rather than public works, and nearly all of the tax cuts were devoted to income maintenance rather than to improving incentives to work or invest.
The markets are scared. They know that under the Pelosi/Reid/Obama agenda the economy is not going to get better; the markets know that the collectivist trifecta either knows nothing about economics or does not care when compared to the enhanced government power that they smell like blood in the water. I am not sure that I have ever seen a time where I think that American Freedoms are under threat more than now. Bill Clinton was a clear-headed centrist compared to this socialist President.
The market has notably plunged since Mr. Obama introduced his budget last week, and that should be no surprise. The document was a declaration of hostility toward capitalists across the economy. Health-care stocks have dived on fears of new government mandates and price controls. Private lenders to students have been told they’re no longer wanted. Anyone who uses carbon energy has been warned to expect a huge tax increase from cap and trade. And every risk-taker and investor now knows that another tax increase will slam the economy in 2011, unless Mr. Obama lets Speaker Nancy Pelosi impose one even earlier.
Have you ever gotten a job from a poor person?
The WSJ closes with an inescapable conclusion:
Listening to Mr. Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, on the weekend, we couldn’t help but wonder if they appreciate any of this. They seem preoccupied with going to the barricades against Republicans who wield little power, or picking a fight with Rush Limbaugh, as if this is the kind of economic leadership Americans want.
Perhaps they’re reading the polls and figure they have two or three years before voters stop blaming Republicans and Mr. Bush for the economy. Even if that’s right in the long run, in the meantime their assault on business and investors is delaying a recovery and ensuring that the expansion will be weaker than it should be when it finally does arrive.
Those of us who made good decisions, stayed gainfully employed, paid our mortgages, and secured our own health care coverage now get to pay for the stupidity of the societal parasites. Even though I had the sense to vote against Obama, the least qualified candidate for President in US History, I end up with the government that you Obama-voting idiots deserve. Galt’s Gulch is starting to look good.