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Time for Something Completely Different
National Review Online ^ | July 13, 2010 | Rich Lowry

Posted on 07/13/2010 9:01:55 PM PDT by Delacon

November will be a contest between the status quo and change, with Obama representing the former.


If there’s a characteristic American trait, it’s moving ahead. Our great 19th-century chronicler, Alexis de Tocqueville, noted how Americans would leave their new homes — onto the next thing! — even before they had a chance to finish the roofs.

That’s why Pres. Barack Obama’s new theme of “forward vs. backwards” is so obvious, David Axelrod could have come up with it in his sleep. Obama rolled it out at a campaign event in Missouri last week. “It’s a choice between the policies that led us into this mess and the policies that are leading us out of this mess,” Obama said of the midterm elections. “It’s a choice between falling backwards or moving forward.”

This is paint-by-the-numbers campaigning. It’s also ham-handed and faintly ridiculous.

What were the policies that created this mess? Obama assails the Bush tax cuts, although he wants to retain them for families making less than $250,000 a year. In fact, Obama brags about his own prowess as a tax-cutter. “We cut taxes — didn’t raise them, we cut them — for 95 percent of working families and small-business owners,” he boasted in Missouri.

There’s no theory for why tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 would have caused a housing crash in 2007 and 2008. Perhaps it was the tax cuts for savings and investment? But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was on CNBC the other day saying that the administration doesn’t want rates on capital gains and dividends — now 15 percent — to rise above 20 percent; this was part of his ongoing my-boss-really-doesn’t-hate-business tour.

Did the Bush tax cuts fuel the deficit? In 2007, the budget deficit was a puny $160 billion. It’s true that George W. Bush handed over a recession-bloated deficit of more than a trillion dollars to Obama, but deficits are better than surpluses in a weak economy, according to Obama’s boosters. Obama added as much new deficit spending as he plausibly could as quickly as possible, and still wants more.

Maybe the lax regulation of Wall Street was blameworthy? The key piece of financial deregulation was negotiated between then-senator Phil Gramm and then–Treasury secretary Larry Summers — now a key Obama official — and signed by Bill Clinton in 1999. It’s a stretch to blame this bipartisan, pre-Bush legislation for the crisis, which had the housing bubble and bust at its root.

Maybe the regulators were asleep at the switch? Yes, the economy’s most important regulator, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, kept interest rates too low for too long. Obama has retained him as his Fed chairman. The bubble and the perilous state of the banks caught Geithner, the head of the New York Fed with direct oversight of Wall Street, flat-footed. Obama promoted him to Treasury secretary.

There’s a vein of continuity in the bailouts and stimuli, too. The Bush administration instituted TARP and began the bailout of the car companies; the Obama administration picked up where it left off. The Bush administration embraced tax rebates and tax credits to stimulate the economy; so has the Obama administration.

On several fronts, it’s the sheer magnitude of the Obama agenda that constitutes its radicalism, not its direction. In Missouri, Obama touted subsidies to green energy as his forward-looking economic development agenda, as if the landscape weren’t already littered with such programs. BP alone gets $600 million in subsidies for ethanol. That’s the former wonder-fuel that has proven both uneconomical and unenvironmental.

The new departure in American politics is represented by the tea partiers. They are hell on lawmakers who voted for the bailouts; they consider both Bush and Obama spending anathema; and they have endorsed candidates who have said things about entitlements — the driver of our long-term deficits — that no establishment Republican or Democrat would ever dare utter. This is something truly bold and refreshing.

The president will try to beat them back in November. It’s a contest properly defined as the status quo vs. change, with Obama’s engorged federal establishment in the unenviable position of representing the former.

TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: democrats; gop; obama; republicans; teaparty

1 posted on 07/13/2010 9:02:00 PM PDT by Delacon
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To: Delacon

2 posted on 07/13/2010 9:04:31 PM PDT by Flavius
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To: Delacon

You know, I am still blasting everyone in the House & Senate who voted for the Stimulus, the Tarp, & the Deathcare. Dem or Repub - they are OUT as far as I’m concerned. I’ve had it with RINOs & even semi-RINOs.

3 posted on 07/13/2010 9:10:49 PM PDT by Atom Smasher
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To: Atom Smasher


4 posted on 07/13/2010 9:13:06 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: OneWingedShark

Thanks for the link....I wish we could get the satisfaction of seeing heads roll, but alas!

I guess we’ll have to settle for November instead!

5 posted on 07/13/2010 9:49:27 PM PDT by Atom Smasher
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To: Delacon

he sucks.

6 posted on 07/13/2010 9:50:23 PM PDT by bitt ( "Obama - He’s last year’s boy band." (steyn))
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To: Flavius

My thoughts precisely.

7 posted on 07/13/2010 10:08:00 PM PDT by Lexinom
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To: Delacon

It is too late in the financial arena. Everyones personal financial are about to be handed over entirely to the control of the Fed Reserve via passage of the finance bill and its NON PROTECTIVE Consumer Financial Protection Act:

All consumer “protection” functions, to be administered via the Bureau of Consumer Financial

Protection to be established WITHIN the Federal Reserve, transfers the data and

micromanagement of all financial transactions of 308 million US citizens to a foreign corporation

by Congressional legislation.

A larger, more definitive piece on how the globalization and financial de-nationalization of each

US citizen is accomplished by this move:

In addition, note Sen Dodds comments especially and also Sen Shelbys’:

“The Senate voted 59-39 on Thursday to pass the bill – the chief aim of which is to more-heavily

regulate the financial industry – sending it to a conference committee in the House of

Representatives, where differences between the House and Senate versions will be ironed out.

The bill, if it becomes law, will create the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and empower

it to “gather information and activities of persons operating in consumer financial markets,”

including the names and addresses of account holders, ATM and other transaction records, and

the amount of money kept in each customer’s account.

The new bureaucracy is then allowed to “use the data on branches and [individual and personal]

deposit accounts … for any purpose” and may keep all records on file for at least three years and

these can be made publicly available upon request.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said that Democrats who claim this new bureaucracy will protect

consumers are misleading the public.

“[T]he American people are being misled,” Shelby said on the Senate floor on Thursday night.

“The authors of this bill are telling them that this legislation has been drafted to address the

recent financial crisis and that it will ‘tame’ Wall Street. I am afraid that they are going to be


Shelby slammed the new consumer bureaucracy, saying that it was meant not to protect

consumers but to “manage” them by monitoring their behavior.

“Mr. President, make no mistake, behind the veil of anti-Wall Street rhetoric is an unrelenting

desire to manage every facet of commerce under the guise of consumer protection.

“They may be interested in protecting consumers, but they are more interested in managing

them,” Shelby said.

Shelby also criticized the idea that Americans need government to watch over their every

financial move, saying that it was better to allow people the freedom to make their own choices

and fail than to never allow them the freedom to choose at all.

“Mr. President, I have faith in the American people and their ability to make good choices,” said

Shelby. “Granted, we do not always choose well. But I believe that a poor choice freely made is far

superior to a good choice made for me.”

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., right, and the committee’s

ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., emerge from a meeting on Capitol Hill in

Washington, Monday, April 26, 2010, ahead of a crucial test vote for the financial reform bill. (AP

Photo/Charles Dharapak)
“I am afraid that the architects of this bill do not share this sentiment,” he said. “Nor do they

share my faith in the American people.”

Shelby further said that the ability of the Federal Reserve to collect such detailed information

about the most basic of financial transactions was the beginning of an effort by government to

regulate every financial action of every American citizen.

“This new consumer bureaucracy is intended by its architects in the Treasury to begin the

process of financial regulation with the intent of changing the behaviors of the American

people,” said the senator.

Shelby appears to be correct. The bill allows the bureau to collect any and all information on any

person operating in the financial markets.

As it reads: “[T]he Bureau shall have the authority to gather information from time to time

regarding the organization, business conduct, markets, and activities of persons operating in

consumer financial services markets.”

8 posted on 07/13/2010 10:13:31 PM PDT by givemELL (Does Taiwan eet the Criteria to Qualify as an "Overseas Territory of the United States"? by Richar)
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To: Atom Smasher

“I guess we’ll have to settle for November instead!”

As much as I appreciate the foundations which give us the right to our self-determination, my sympathies lie with the torch and pitchfork crowd. Has our government become irreversibly corrupt and tyrannical, though? It is a question I ponder every day. I think the answer lies in the fact that we would have to reach a point where we had nothing to lose. If our government pushed us to a point where we would have nothing to lose, then it would be on like Donkey Kong. I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

9 posted on 07/13/2010 10:41:45 PM PDT by lmr (God punishes Conservatives by making them argue with fools.)
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To: lmr

“.....I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”


No, we’re not there yet....but when the time comes, I too shall have my pitchfork in hand!

10 posted on 07/14/2010 11:55:42 AM PDT by Atom Smasher
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To: lmr
The scary thing is if we change from the tyranny despising torch and pitchfork crowd to the “angry because the government cant afford to give me my socialist payout” torch and pitchfork crowd. Much like what is going on in Greece and a lot of Europe. If Obama gets us all dependent on socialized medicine then a decade from now, after private medicine has been wiped out and the government realizes it can't afford it, people will grab their pitchforks not for less government, but for more government and to hell with who has to pay the bill.
11 posted on 07/18/2010 3:20:13 PM PDT by Delacon ("The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." H. L. Mencken)
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