Monday, May 11, 2009

 

Hope & Change

Bad and dangerous

So says David Frum:
In barely four months, Barack Obama has nudged the United States toward a future in which government will be bigger and more assertive -- where taxes will be higher and government unions more powerful -- where legal rights are less secure and contracts more uncertain.

In California, he is pushing a state toward the fiscal edge in order to favour a union ally. At Chrysler, he has put at risk the security of every contract in the country to please another union.

Meanwhile, his administration is planning changes to the regulation of finance that are likely to leave the United States less dynamic and less innovative in the years ahead -- at the same time as taxes rise and educational levels decline.
I must quibble with his use of the word "nudged." Consider the Chrysler bankruptcy negotiations. From Business Insider:
Creditors to Chrysler describe negotiations with the company and the Obama administration as “a farce,” saying the administration was bent on forcing their hands using hardball tactics and threats.

Conversations with administration officials left them expecting that they would be politically targeted, two participants in the negotiations said. …

The sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed to cajole them into acquiescing to plans to restructure Chrysler. One person said described the administration as the most shocking “end justifies the means” group they have ever encountered. Another characterized Obama was “the most dangerous smooth talker on the planet- and I knew Kissinger.” Both were voters for Obama in the last election.

One participant in negotiations said that the administration’s tactic was to present what one described as a “madman theory of the presidency” in which the President is someone to be feared because he was willing to do anything to get his way. The person said this threat was taken very seriously by his firm.
A President issuing threats to private citizens who are acting lawfully is change we can believe in. Via Ed Morrissey, who comments:
The story now has more than one source, and mounting testimony — albeit understandably anonymous testimony, at least at this point — that the White House tried threatening senior creditors instead of doing their job in enforcing the law. Not only do they not realize that their responsibilities do not include building business plans for private enterprises, but also don’t include assuming the role of Michael Corleone and acting like organized-crime thugs. Actually, the way the White House made Obama sound, maybe Sonny Corleone is a better analogy … or perhaps Fredo.
If only this were fiction. And keep in mind this Washinton Post chart on Obama's budget deficit, which Obama's own budget director admits is unsustainable:

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