Partisan in chief

Everyone knows that Barack Obama went to Columbia and Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Law Review. And though he may lack real-world experience -- so-called "life experience" -- he certainly got a good education. Much was made during the campaign of Obama's thin resume and his lack of leadership experience. But in reality, Obama is like many in the Congress for whom government and public service is not a new phase of their career, it is their career. Obama didn't enter politics after a successful decade as a corporate lawyer, judge or businessman. Rather, he came to politics in his mid-30s after spending time working the voters and religious organizations of Chicago's South Side, all as part of a coordinated plan to be a politician. . His success -- becoming President of the United States at the tender age of 47 -- is unprecedented. But rest assured that if it had taken another 20 years, Barack Obama would have stayed in the United States Senate, preparing and planning for a run at the White House. So, you'll have to forgive Mr. Obama for not knowing much about the practical, business side of economics. You see, Barack has never had a proper job in a corporation, had to hire or fire anyone or had to look at his balance sheet and make tough choices about strategy. And, of course, that goes for a large percentage of those in the U.S. House and Senate -- many of whom have been there for decades and don't have much experience at running anything. Our political class is largely divorced from real work of the kind that most voters do, and of the kind of economic challenges that most voters face. For them it is either an academic or an ideological exercise: throwing money at the problem makes people feel like something is being done. And if you can satisfy your social engineering agenda and pet projects in the process, so much the better.

And so it is that the new President and the Democrats in Congres have pushed through a "stimulus" package that has goodies for every pet cause, from environmental protection to family planning. In the process it rolls back many of the practical effects of welfare reform, and makes what is only a down payment on massive new spending on health care, alternative energy and redistributive social programs. The left now has a blank check to redesign our social structure the way it "should be" -- on the basis of equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity. It isn't enough to provide a level playing field; vast sums will now be spent to ensure that those groups that have been historically oppressed now have the opportunity to get their just desserts. Call it justice, retributive style.

Retributive justice thus explains why decisions are now being made that defy both economic logic and historical precedence. Everyone knows that trying to stimulate the economy by using massive government spending while forcing banks to loan money to those who can't repay it is a recipe for an even greater disaster -- where the cure is worse than the underlying disease. And history shows clearly that past experience with this kind of centralized control of the modes of production and credit -- both in Japan in the 1990s and during our own Great Depression of the 1930s -- only makes things worse. Surely, those who now advise Barack Obama know these facts better than anyone.

And of course it doesn't matter, because what we are witnessing now is a march of hubris fueled principally by a desire to remake the nation in a kinder, gentler form, with social justice for all. Obama's choices on the stimulus package show clearly that, despite rhetoric to the contrary, he sees his role as partisan-in-chief rather than as a sober steward of a nation with serious, systemic problems. What Obama, Pelosi and the liberals in Congress have done now won't help the economy, but it will further the liberal political and social goals that they are so certain this country wants and needs. Eventually -- three, five or ten years down the road -- the economy will recover, albeit saddled with $ trillions in additional debt. But the social goals that this stimulus makes a down payment on will live on forever.

I wrote often of my fear of Barack Obama and the Democrats during the campaign. Turns out now that I wasn't nearly scared enough.