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New 21st Century Politics: Getting Gov't Out of Way

Investor's Business Daily
February 23, 2011
By Ernest S. Christian and Gary A. Robbins

Having little real-life acquaintance with America and its people, President Obama probably was genuinely surprised by the electoral uprising last November. The voters are smarter than he thinks. Admittedly, in 2008, he talked 69 million of them into voting for an illusion that was not the real him.

But they are catching on fast. Yesterday's cheers are changing to derision - and real fear. Will Obama turn out to be America's first post-freedom, post-prosperity president? Americans do not like being deceived and pushed around. And they will not tolerate having their pockets picked.

Obama has added to the suffering caused by the Great Recession. By delaying and diminishing economic recovery with wrong-headed economic and regulatory policies, Obama has cost Americans at least an extra $600 billion in lost incomes, more than $1.5 trillion in additional capital losses and 6 million man years in lost work.

Obama and the Pelosi-Reid gang plundered the public purse for nearly $2 trillion of so-called stimulus and other mislabeled political payola. The voters who pay taxes are furious. How will we repay the $14 trillion of debt? Now he's adding more. The built-in tax increases will destroy us! This is insane!

Harsh words? Yes indeed. But not nearly so harsh as Obama's cynical "policy choices" - from health care to energy to environment - that are doing so much easily foreseeable (and easily avoidable) harm to 300 million Americans.

Is it deliberate? Or does he not know any better? In either case, destructive governance is a moral outrage - in America, the same as in the Third World.

Worried about his re-election, Obama has tried to jump back through the political looking glass into the land of "Let's pretend." But he seems to have lost the knack. His State of the Union address was so patently disingenuous, it insulted the intelligence of nearly everyone.

Surely Obama did not expect voters to fall prostrate at his feet merely because (after years of criticizing our country and culture) he finally condescended to say a few mildly respectful words about America, or because he implied that he might moderate his war on free-market capitalism and other bedrock American institutions.

What are voters supposed to do? Double down on their original mistake in 2008 and re-elect Obama in the hope that he might be making some "progress" toward being less destructive of America's culture, economy and Constitution? That's absurd.

If the president wanted America to "win the future," as he now declares, he would stop doing the destructive things that put America's future in jeopardy.

It's not rocket science. Repeal the welter of absurd tax, trade, regulatory and labor-market restrictions that are dear to the heart of the Democratic Party, even though they make it nearly impossible to manufacture goods and produce energy in the U.S.

Repeal retrograde rules that impede the export of American-made products. Repeal the notorious extra-territorial tax that kills jobs by making it hard for U.S. companies to compete abroad. And, when Americans win in a foreign market, stop penalizing them for bringing the new money home for job-creating investment in America. How stupid can government get?

The president's budget for fiscal 2012 is an insult to the high office he holds. When will Obama ever learn? Increasing runaway spending less rapidly is not a spending cut. Shifting spending from one category to another and calling it an "investment" is a farce - not a fix for the doomsday debt and deficit crisis he has created.

If Obama is to avoid the condemnation of history, he must fulfill his constitutional duty by working with Republicans (and any willing Democrats) in cutting spending, fixing the health care mess he's made worse, repealing job-killing regulations, holding down taxes and fostering economic growth. And he must stand up for America without reservation or purpose of evasion.

If the president can't or won't do his job, he should resign. Mediocrity and failure are no longer acceptable.

There is a new self-improvement program that has emerged out of the heartland of America - and is now beginning to catch on in Washington. It is called CIAP - which stands for competence, integrity, accountability and patriotism.

The era of big government is over - and so is the old "a sucker is born every minute" politics on which it was built. The new politics of the 21st century is focused on getting government out of the way of economic progress and out of Americans' personal lives, where it is doing more harm than good.

Christian, an attorney, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Ford administration. Robbins, an economist, served at the Treasury Department in the Reagan administration.

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