Posted by Curt on 27 March, 2008 at 4:33 pm. 19 comments already!


Man, this election is going to be freaking great. Really….I haven’t laughed this hard in years. Todays hit? Obama doesn’t like the fact that human beings have to take care of themselves. Make decisions for themselves. Have to earn money to live by themselves. No…..the Government should be the one to do that:

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Presidential candidate Barack Obama, largely ignoring his Democratic rival for now, ridiculed likely Republican nominee John McCain on Wednesday for offering “not one single idea” to help hard-pressed homeowners facing foreclosure.

“George Bush called this the ownership society, but what he really meant was ‘you’re-on-your-own’ society,” Obama told a town hall meeting here, tying McCain to a president whose popularity is low. “John McCain apparently wants to continue this.”

Same old “big government” type of thinking. Our founding fathers stated that we could pursue happiness, not that we were entitled to happiness. If you make bad decisions, say for instance…on loans, then you must pay the piper. To expect the government to fix your bad decisions is ludicrous and the type of thinking that will only lead to Socialism and/or Communism. Owning a home is a responsibility. If you take on that responsibility and make bad decisions on how to fund the loan, or even how to live your life, then in a free society you better be able to handle the consequences without big daddy coming in to save the day and ensure you have no responsibility in the matter.

Interestingly, Allah at Hot Air recalled this same line being tossed about by Hillary last year. Is plagiarism the new bit from Obama or is their Socialist ties so strong they just spout the same nonsense?

[flv:hillaryoyo1.flv 400 300]


Steven Bainbridge wrote an excellent fisking of Obama’s speech:

The speech then segues to a history lesson on the debate between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, positing that we continue to struggle “to balance the same forces that confronted Hamilton and Jefferson – self-interest and community; markets and democracy; the concentration of wealth and power, and the necessity of transparency and opportunity for each and every citizen.” The requisite nod to free markets follows.

This is the sort of thing at which Obama excels and, I think, explains a large part of his appeal to the intellegensia. Obama’s speeches frequently include passages that flatter their listeners who aren’t quite intelligent enough to realize how shallow his thinking actually is into thinking that they are more intelligent than they are.


Speaking of Sarbanes-Oxley, Obama really went off the rails when he described Enron and Worldcom as being the product of “industry lobbyists tilting the playing field in Washington, an accounting industry that had developed powerful conflicts of interest, and a financial sector that fueled over-investment,” without once acknowledging the debacle that was—and still is—the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Presumably, because that would remind his more thoughtful listeners that regulatory medicine is often worse for the patient han the economic bug.

To be sure, Obama emphasized the need to create a “21st-century regulatory framework,” rather than turning “back the clock to an older era of regulation.” In particular, he is to be commended for apparently dispatching the idea, advanced by some of the more wild eyed commentators, of bringing back some version of Glass-Steagall.

Yet, in his speech, while recognizing that regulatory reform in the 1990s was appropriate, Obama complains that “campaign money all too often shaped policy and watered down oversight.” He repeatedly refers to the baleful influence of lobbyists on prior regulatory reform efforts. Obama nevertheless wants us to believe that he can achieve an aggressive set of financial market regulatory changes that will not be twisted by interest group politics. This is either hopelessly naïve or deeply cynical. Either he knows it’s not true or he’s succumbed to the messianic views of his candidacy held in some quarters. I’m sorry but a constant mantra of “change we can believe in” is not going to change the basic fact, as a famous Democrat once put it, that money is the mother’s milk of politics.

Speaking of the messianic undercurrent in the Obama campaign, I find his suggestion that the government can somehow prevent the “cycle of bubble and bust” troubling. Even if you don’t buy Day’s contrarian theory about the nature of bubbles, it’s worth remembering that what we call bubbles and busts are an inherent attribute of the process of creative destruction that lies at the heart of capitalism. Striving to eliminate the risk of occasional market blips risks of eliminating the space within which creative entrepreneurs function. Think of a child so swaddled in protective gear that they cannot even play. Put another way, there is both an economic and ethical case to be made for a limited social safety net. Attempting to drape a safety net under the entire economy, however, turns the federal government into an insurer of the entire economy and, as such, carries a serious moral hazard problem.


Finally, the end of the speech reflects Obama’s generally muddleheaded approach to economics. He claims that his policies “will foster economic growth from the bottom up, and not just from the top down.” Hence, for example, he proposes that:

To reward work and make retirement secure, we’ll provide an income tax cut of up to $1000 for a working family, and eliminate income taxes altogether for any retiree making less than $50,000 per year.

The bit about retirees strikes me as privileging the grasshopper over the ant. In any case, whether there are economic justifications for these proposals, I freely admit that there are moral ones. As a Catholic, I am conscious of the preferential option for the poor, which might well be cited as a justification for such proposals. Having said that, however, one of these proposals have to do with economic growth? With all due deference to working families and retirees, a tax cut for them creates no new wealth nor a incentivized his activities that create new wealth. Economic growth comes from incentivizing entrepreneurs to develop new or better goods and services. Jobs are created when such entrepreneurs start new businesses, not when working families or retirees spend a few bucks they got from a tax cut. By planning to raise taxes on upper income individuals, Obama thus undermines his hope for economic growth by penalizing the very people he should be incentivizing. (Elsewhere, Obama’s proposing to raise the capital gains tax from 15% to anywhere between 25 and 28%, which may not worry Warren Buffet but may well affect the decision making of some striving start up entrepreneur thinking about leaving his job to start a new business.)

While Steven gives him credit for some of his speech, he acknowledges that the majority of it was worthy of criticism rather then credit. Read the whole thing. It’s long but well worth it.

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