With No Hope for Change, Obfuscate!

With every Keynesian trick having failed to bring the economy out of its post-meltdown Great Recession, and having apparently concluded that there’s no more conjuring they can do to improve it before the election, President Obama’s re-election strategists look to be latching firmly onto social issues.

Really? In an era of continuing depression-level unemployment (masked only by workers giving up the search for jobs), galloping domestic government spending and debt unbound from reality for the past decade, and the very real specter of a global meltdown in our future, the most important issue for the President of the United States to weigh in on—and for national media to devote untold ink and bytes to—is same-sex marriage: a policy the president has no authority over?

Meanwhile, President Obama used the delivery of his commencement address to graduates of Barnard College to continue foisting the myth of Obamacare as pro-woman legislation:

Of course, as young women, you’re also going to grapple with some unique challenges, like … whether you’ll be able to fully control decisions about your own health.

So, let’s see: a 2,000+ page piece of legislation that mandates the terms of exactly what kind of healthcare coverage every single woman in America must purchase or be provided by her employer or the government (a/k/a her “daddy state”); that includes the provision for an unelected panel of political appointees subject to no citizen or representative oversight to review and decide what medical procedures should and should not be “approved” for coverage under this new legislation—represents decisions individual women will “fully control”?

And, by the way, there actually is something the President could do about the economy, and that would have an impact before the election: he could do as Truman did following FDR’s death that brought about the end of the Great Depression following World War II: end regime uncertainty by reversing the endless recent piling on of legislation and regulations that has frozen the engines of the American economy—as evidenced by businesses sitting with over $2 trillion of cash on the sidelines. America would get back to work now just as it did then: with the post-World War II economy growing at double-digits even as 10 million unemployed (soldiers released from military duty) were dumped into a market that hadn’t previously been able to use them, government spending dropped 60% over two years, and the “New Deal” was abandoned wholesale. A recipe Keynesians predicted would return the U.S. to the Depression instead fueled the Happy Days longed for by the New Dealers and the rationed, conscripted World War II-era citizenry.

The fortunes of imperial Washington and that of the people are inversely correlated. Today’s Baby Boomers—and their children and grandchildren now reaching adulthood—would thus do well to learn the lessons of what created the “Baby Boom” of the post-War era, refuse to be duped by the political pandering currently standing in for solutions, and demand change that makes a difference.

A good start would be to accept that no one who has or will live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the savior, and establish the institutions and associations that have been the hallmark of Americans’ as innovatively solving social issues as economic. Case study examples and models for the provision of medical care, unemployment insurance, sickness insurance, etc.; universal education; security services and criminal justice; hospitals, schools, and libraries; alleviating human organ shortages; and far more can be found in The Voluntary City, Democracy in America, Entrepreneurial Economics, and more.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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Beacon Posts by Mary Theroux
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