I am a sales guy from west Texas, so I can filter bull shit when I hear it, especially when Dear Leader, His Royal Obamaness, says things like, “Our economy only works if we recognize that we’re all in this together, that we all have responsibilities to each other and to our country,” and “We’ll recover from this recession, but it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that, when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interest to a wider set of obligations we have towards each other, that’s when we succeed, that’s when we prosper, and that’s what we need right now.”
Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard calls it “pablum”, I call it Obama Socialist Bull Shit (OSBS) and requires that we don our OSBS Filters to hear the truth. Pablum is defined at Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as, 2: intellectual sustenance, 3: something (as writing or speech) that is insipid, simplistic, or bland. It is neither “intellectual sustenance” nor “insipid, simplistic, or bland”, well, it may be delivered as the latter, but in reality it’s HRO’s way of making you think his socialist engineering and policies are achieving the successful accomplishment we want during the economic crisis. All he is really saying is that the socialist and marxist tenets that he was taught all of his life, and that he believes in, can be passed along through congressional law making and passing of his absurd and mammoth budget (that will add a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for the next ten years) without you and I, the American Taxpayers, knowing what’s happening until it’s done and too late.
So maybe this “pablum” will nurture those Obamatrons, the FarLEFT and the stupid idiots (is that redundant?) that still get a thrill down their legs at his very presence and appearance, but for me I’m donning my OSBS filter and listening straight to his line of crap, knowing that he means to continue his destruction of the American Way; our Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness; and the business model of personal responsibility and entrepreneurial capitalism that has served, grown and prospered in this country so well for over two and a quarter centuries. What he wants is the U.S.S.A., the United Socialist States of America, and he won’t stop the “pablum” for the masses until he gets it.
The language of Obamanomics.
by Fred Barnes
03/26/2009 12:00:00 AMPresident Obama insists he’s a free-market guy. But you have to wonder whether he understands how a free economy really works. His policies and his words–especially what he said at his press conference this week–suggest his sense of what makes economies grow and how people are affected by government policies is surprisingly weak.
Some of what Obama says is just pablum and isn’t supposed to be taken as serious economic thought. At least I hope not. Rather, it might be called economic morale-boosting. Nothing wrong with that, unless he actually believes what he’s saying.
He said at his press conference, for example, that prosperity won’t return unless we’re all working together for a higher purpose than ourselves. Adam Smith, the guru of free markets, would disagree heartily with this, since he believed a strong economy grew out of individuals acting in their own behalf. But Obama talks as if he knows better. Pablum.
“Our economy only works if we recognize that we’re all in this together, that we all have responsibilities to each other and to our country,” he said at his press conference. Yes, we do have responsibilities to others and to our country, but are they the key to an economic recovery?
Smith didn’t think so, nor does any free market economist I’m aware of. But the president seems to. He elaborated: “We’ll recover from this recession, but it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that, when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interest to a wider set of obligations we have towards each other, that’s when we succeed, that’s when we prosper, and that’s what we need right now.”
That wasn’t a snap answer to a surprise question. It was the closing thought in his opening statement, read by Obama from a prepared text on a large screen behind the press corps gathered at the White House. A nice thought, for sure, but hardly a time-tested recipe for economic growth.
Obama also seems misinformed about America’s economic record in recent decades. Prosperity was “fleeting,” he said, but “our strategy is to ensure that we do not return to an economic cycle of bubble and bust.” Again, this was in his text.
If he’s talking about the past quarter-century, most Americans would love to return to that era. From late 1982 well into 2007, we experienced one of the greatest economic booms in the history of the world, interrupted only by two shallow and brief recessions. Prosperity wasn’t fleeting. It was practically non-stop–until the housing bust and credit crisis hit last year.
In his budget and public statements, Obama makes the argument that rising health care costs, along with dependency on carbon fuels and an inadequate education system, must be dealt with first–or the economy won’t recover. His domestic agenda and rejuvenating the economic are “inseparable,” he said. Sorry, but there’s no empirical evidence for this.
During those prosperous decades, health care spending surged, bigger cars emitting more greenhouse gases were popular, and education reform made progress only in the past several years. So these were not major impediments to economic growth, nor are they now. Instead, Obama is seeking to exploit the slump to justify congressional passage of his non-economic agenda.
That may be acceptable as a political tactic. But on either intellectual or economic grounds, it doesn’t pass muster or even come close.
Obama envisions a large role for government in shaping private investment. This, too, is not a principle of free market economics. During his press conference, he declared: “What we have to do is invest in those things that will allow the American capacity for ingenuity and innovation–their ability to take risks–but [to] make sure that those risks are grounded in good products and good services.” This is industrial policy with the government deciding which industries merit investment. It’s the opposite of free market capitalism.
Nor is Obama up to speed on tax incentives. He dismissed the fear of charities that a proposed reduction in the tax deductibility of donations by upper middle class and wealthy Americans would curb giving. “If it’s really a charitable contribution, I’m assuming that that shouldn’t be a determining factor as to whether you’re giving that $100 to the homeless shelter down the street.”
That’s easy for him to say. Every charity from museums and arts groups to hospitals is terrified by the proposed tax change. And it’s a fair assumption that they know a tax disincentive when they see one. The question is whether Obama does. Perhaps not.
David Brooks noted in his New York Timescolumn the near-absence in Obama’s White House staff and cabinet of folks with experience as entrepreneurs or business executives. It’s a shame. Given the state of Obama’s knowledge of free markets, which he says he supports, he would benefit greatly from their advice.
Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.