John Hinderaker shrewdly diagnoses the source of recent liberal paralysis of will in Washington.
Many liberals believe that government policies have little impact on the economy. A number have expressed that view to me privately. They think that the private sector will produce wealth regardless of what happens in Washington, and the only question is how to split it up. I think that is what President Obama and his advisers believed when he took office. The country was in economic turmoil from which it inevitably would recover, as it always does. When it did, Obama would get the credit.
In the meantime, the administrationâ€™s mantra was â€œnever let a crisis go to waste.â€ Obama saw economic decline as an opportunity to pave the way for socialized medicine, to enact a near-trillion-dollar payoff to public sector unions in the guise of â€œstimulus,â€ and to extend the governmentâ€™s control over various sectors of industry.
I think Obama and his advisers were genuinely surprised, not that their policies didnâ€™t bring about economic recoveryâ€“they couldnâ€™t have expected thatâ€“but that recovery didnâ€™t happen of its own accord. That is why they are so nonplussed today.
I think John is perfectly correct.
Barack Obama and the democrats in general thought the Panic of 2008 was just a bump in the economic highway, contrived by smiling liberal Fates intending to deliver them into power. A panicked public would accept the leadership of the left during a momentary crisis and find themselves soon after living in a European-style welfare state. The New Deal’s march in the direction of socialism would be completed. President Obama would join the pantheon of progressive builders of grand collective entitlements, going down in history beside Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. The economy would fix itself; it always does. And President Obama would receive the credit for both the recovery and for Obamacare.
But, then, the economy did not heal itself.
There comes a point in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, after the announcement of Directive 10-289, when the efforts of capitalist heroes Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden to keep the railway system operating and steel mills in production begin to fail.
Somebody like James Taggart, one of the leftist supporters of the regime, begs Dagny or Hank to keep the failing system afloat. The hero assures the collectivist that the burden of regulations and redistribution has made it impossible. But we want it, insists the second-hander looting collectivist. It’s your responsibility to make it work for us.
Barack Obama is no more able to understand than James Taggart the incompatibility of limitless liberal demands and a viable economy.