Howard Rich's Blog

December 10, 2008

Common Sense, Not Cult Worship Needed To Fix Our Economy

By Howie Rich

I’m all for optimism.

Inspiring hope and exceeding expectations is what America is all about,
which is why it’s sad that we find ourselves at a point in our nation’s
history when both of these things are in such short supply.

Lamentably, such is the debris of our new American order.

We live in a pseudo-socialist state, one in which multi-billion dollar
government bailouts, out-of-control debt, secret backdoor earmarks and
rampant corruption and influence-peddling continue to trump the needs of
families and small businesses who want only to share in the prosperity
enjoyed by their elected officials up in Washington.

Our political system desperately needs “change,” which is why for
millions of Americans President-elect Barack Obama has become something
of a panacea in these turbulent times, positioning himself as an iconic
source of hope and confidence amidst the drab backgrounds of
increasingly dour economic news.

There’s no denying the historical significance of Obama’s victory last
month, nor is there any doubt that thanks to the media’s acclamation he
has become nothing short of a “transformative” figure, producing the
same “Morning in America” feeling that guided President Ronald Reagan to
successive landslides and brought America back from the brink of an
economic disaster.

Of course, that’s where such comparisons come to a screeching halt.

Reagan confronted our nation’s fiscal woes by slashing a bloated federal
budget and cutting taxes on a level never seen before (or since) in this

Obama, on the other hand, is seeking to duplicate the failures of the
President he is replacing, only on a far greater scale.

Rather than investing directly in families and businesses, Obama has
chosen instead to support the same flawed government interventionism
that capped George W. Bush’s eight-year decent into deeper deficit
spending and greater fiscal recklessness.

Amazingly, the fawning press corps that “covered” Obama’s campaign never
bothered to point out the remarkable similarities between these two

Nor did they ever substantively engage Obama on the fact that he took
more money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government-sponsored
mortgage giants who started this downward spiral) than any other
politician in Washington.

Apparently, turning Obama into “just another politician” wouldn’t have
sold newspapers, or network TV advertising.

Plus, the media narrative was established early on that Obama was
running against Bush (i.e. against Washington), which meant that an
honestly assessment of their commonalities became even less likely as
the campaign wore on.

So ingrained in our heads was the dichotomy between Bush and Obama that
by the time both signed on to support a failed $700 billion federal
bailout, nobody even noticed that they were standing on the same sideline.

Bush believed incorrectly that if government would just “do something,”
the crisis would solve itself. Similarly, Obama’s approach is to elevate
that interventionism by “doing something /big/.”

Today, people across the nation are so enraptured with Obama that
schools have already been named for him and paid government holidays
enacted in his name – despite the fact that he has yet to even take the
oath of office yet.

Such is our need for instant gratification, apparently, and questions
about Obama’s past associations and present lack of experience are
simply put out of mind.

Of course, great speeches and a religiously-maintained cult of
personality won’t fix our economy. Nor will they secure our freedoms in
a destabilized world. Nor will they address the next fiscal cliffs our
nation is about to fall off of, Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security.

Only a return to Reagan’s common sense, right-thinking wisdom can fix
those things and truly make it “Morning in America” again.

visit me at Howie Rich


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