Common Sense, Not Cult Worship Needed To Fix Our Economy
By Howie Rich
I'm all for optimism.
Inspiring hope and exceeding expectations is what America is all about, which is why it's sad that we find ourselves at a point in our nation's history when both of these things are in such short supply.
Lamentably, such is the debris of our new American order.
We live in a pseudo-socialist state, one in which multi-billion dollar government bailouts, out-of-control debt, secret backdoor earmarks and rampant corruption and influence-peddling continue to trump the needs of families and small businesses who want only to share in the prosperity enjoyed by their elected officials up in Washington.
Our political system desperately needs "change," which is why for millions of Americans President-elect Barack Obama has become something of a panacea in these turbulent times, positioning himself as an iconic source of hope and confidence amidst the drab backgrounds of increasingly dour economic news.
There's no denying the historical significance of Obama's victory last month, nor is there any doubt that thanks to the media's acclamation he has become nothing short of a "transformative" figure, producing the same "Morning in America" feeling that guided President Ronald Reagan to successive landslides and brought America back from the brink of an economic disaster.
Of course, that's where such comparisons come to a screeching halt.
Reagan confronted our nation's fiscal woes by slashing a bloated federal budget and cutting taxes on a level never seen before (or since) in this nation.
Obama, on the other hand, is seeking to duplicate the failures of the President he is replacing, only on a far greater scale.
Rather than investing directly in families and businesses, Obama has chosen instead to support the same flawed government interventionism that capped George W. Bush's eight-year decent into deeper deficit spending and greater fiscal recklessness.
Amazingly, the fawning press corps that "covered" Obama's campaign never bothered to point out the remarkable similarities between these two politicians.
Nor did they ever substantively engage Obama on the fact that he took more money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government-sponsored mortgage giants who started this downward spiral) than any other politician in Washington.
Apparently, turning Obama into "just another politician" wouldn't have sold newspapers, or network TV advertising.
Plus, the media narrative was established early on that Obama was running against Bush (i.e. against Washington), which meant that an honestly assessment of their commonalities became even less likely as the campaign wore on.
So ingrained in our heads was the dichotomy between Bush and Obama that by the time both signed on to support a failed $700 billion federal bailout, nobody even noticed that they were standing on the same sideline.
Bush believed incorrectly that if government would just "do something," the crisis would solve itself. Similarly, Obama's approach is to elevate that interventionism by "doing something big."
Today, people across the nation are so enraptured with Obama that schools have already been named for him and paid government holidays enacted in his name - despite the fact that he has yet to even take the oath of office yet.
Such is our need for instant gratification, apparently, and questions about Obama's past associations and present lack of experience are simply put out of mind.
Of course, great speeches and a religiously-maintained cult of personality won't fix our economy. Nor will they secure our freedoms in a destabilized world. Nor will they address the next fiscal cliffs our nation is about to fall off of: Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security.
Only a return to Reagan's common sense, right-thinking wisdom can fix those things and truly make it "Morning in America" again.
The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.