As Obama acts, Atlas shrugs weary shoulders

For almost nine months during the 2008 campaign I wrote about the dangers of Barack Obama's socialist views and liberal voting record -- both in the Illinois State Senate and United States Senate. I argued that his goal of "spreading the wealth" around would amount to a new socialist era in America, with tax and spend policies that were designed to transfer wealth from a shrinking percentage of tax payers to a growing percentage Americans "on the dole". Critics of my views kept telling me that I was wrong -- that Obama is a "new style" politician -- one who understands the importance of compromise and who would govern as a pragmatist from "the center". I was highly skeptical. Nothing in Obama's record led me to believe that he was anything other than a classic "tax and spend" liberal interested in using government for social engineering purposes. "Prove me wrong" I said on many occasions to images of Obama on the television (I said many other things to him as well, but this is a family blog).

Sadly, Obama has instead proven me right. Though he has mastered the image of bipartisanship -- inviting conservative Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration, having Republicans to the White House for tea and cookies -- his actions have shown him to be true to his liberal roots. The so-called "stimulus package" now before the U.S. Senate has become an increasingly unpopular pork-laden spending bill served up by Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts, designed to enact social change rather than economic growth. Rather than choosing a truly bipartisan process for creating the bill -- to include targeted infrastructure spending and tax cuts to stimulate job creation -- Obama chose to throw a bone to every left-wing social and environmental cause, using tax payer money to "stimulate" social policy objectives. As opposition from Republicans grew, Obama chose to attack rather than compromise, lashing out at Republicans for their "tired old ways" of arguing that "government is the problem and that tax cuts are always the answer". To Obama, of course, government is the answer and tax cuts are for the rich -- exactly what you'd expect to hear from a socialist.

It is amazing to me that Obama calls this a job creation bill, for the only jobs this will create are in the public sector. Doling out cash to people to spend is not the same thing as creating an environment where employers will start to hire again. Businesses require structural relief -- tax relief -- to create the economic incentives necessary to spur new jobs. But Obama doesn't see the private sector as the real engine of growth -- he pointedly sees government in that role. For Obama, an economic stimulus that leads to New Deal-style public works programs is the ticket to getting out of this recession. Never mind that the original New Deal in the 1930s only served to prolong the Great Depression. In the minds of big-government liberals, FDR is a hero, and the conventional orthodoxy that government can solve the people's problems is alive and well.

It is hard to stomach what is going on now in Washington -- from the continued wasting of taxpayer's hard earned money to the hypocrisy of Obama's cabinet nominees who don't mind raising people's taxes because they apparently don't pay their own. Now we have the specter of the Federal government telling companies how much they can compensate their top executives because they took public funds -- funds that in certain cases the government forced them to take against their will. It's all so reminiscent of Atlas Shrugged: collectivist action denying the ability for those who create wealth to do so, and then confiscating their gains in the name of societal "good". This cannot -- and will not -- end well.

As I've said many times, elections have consequences. We shall see if a newly resurgent Republicans can use concrete proof of Obama's socialist plans to regain some momentum.