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Monday, March 9, 2009

What the First 50 Days Say About President Obama

They say he is enamored with power. Now, let's make sure everyone understands what I mean. I certainly don't mean that he is consumed by power the way that Vladimir Putin is. I don't know if he loves power because he is driven by it (I am no psychiatrist and I don't know the man). He may simply see power as his means of getting things done. Ultimately, his rational and belief system on the issue of power are largely beside the point. Whatever his motivations, the end result is merely more moderate stages of dangerous.

So far, almost everything has resulted in a greater consolidation of power in himself and those close to him. I wrote recently about President Obama's consolidation through the use of czars that go outside of the traditional Secretary system. Yet, that is only the beginning of his consolidation of power. The stimulus was in many ways nothing more than a massive consolidation of federal power. It doubled the yearly budget of the Department of Education for instance. It made a massive increase in the budget of the Department of Energy.

Look at the intrusion into the mortgage market by his $75 billion mortgage bailout. The president first officially took over Fannie/Freddie and then directed them to modify mortgages based on his guidelines. That is in fact a shocking power grab.

All three of his signature issues: health care, energy, and education, are also not coincidentally a power grab. With education reform, comes two other things: more federal funds for education and more federal power. The issue of energy independence will be lead by the federal government. President Obama has no free market ideas for energy independence. Instead, the federal government will spend, research and tax our way to energy independence. The issue of health care means the creation of a massive new government bureaucracy.

He has formed a commission that will essentially decide the fate of Chrysler and GM. How often does a president decide the fate of two private companies? On top of this, he will expand such programs as food stamps, unemployment insurance, and Head Start. His tax scheme means that for the first time ever more people will rely on the government than pay into the government by virtue of more than half the nation not paying any federal income taxes. Whatever other results, this means that the federal government will greatly expand its power. Even the states are now more reliant on the federal government as most of them will get federal funding to make up for budget shortfalls.

On most of these issues, the president has the same response. He says that inherited all of this. He purports that he isn't the one that first gave money to the banks. He also points out that it is the financial crisis that is forcing him to use the government as much as he is.

This is all nonsense. First, President Obama has reversed a lot more Bush policies than he has continued. There is absolutely nothing that says he must continue them and for the most part he has not. Second, the idea that the magnitude of the crisis forces him to unleash the power of the government reveals his obsession with the power of the government. Ronald Reagan came into office facing no less of financial crisis. In fact, he walked in facing high unemployment and high inflation, stagflation. Instead of unleashing the power of the government, he committed to making the government smaller. He cut taxes and he deregulated and our country "somehow" thrived anyway.

The idea that he must unleash the power of the government because the crisis is of unmatched magnitude is one he purports because he believes in the power of the government. Now, I personally believe he has no nefarious intentions. I believe that President Obama believes that the government is a force for good. I believe that he believes that bigger government can and will create more wealth and it will spread that wealth around to more people. Whatever President Obama's motivation though, one thing is certain. It is exactly this sort of consolidation of power that the founding fathers feared. Whatever his intentions, he is right now attempting to realize every nightmare of every person that created this nation.

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