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The Obama Dud



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I don’t quite understand what seems to be widespread puzzlement at the president’s failure to offer in his acceptance speech even platitudes about the policies that would yield the caring nirvana that he described. He cannot repudiate his record. He certainly is not one to question, much less to change, his leftist political outlook, one in which government increasingly allocates resources by controlling ever-greater swath of the economy, whether through deals with big business or through federal coercion. He cannot alienate any part of his base. His basic core belief is that government is the source of wealth and individual advancement, and that the “community” to which each of us owes responsibilities is the government and not the institutions of civil society that — whatever their specific activities — in a larger sense serve as a buffer between the citizenry and the state. And perhaps above all, his central goal is a permanent increase in government’s share of the economy, to be used to move toward welfare statism financed by a large increase in taxation of the middle class, perhaps through a value-added tax or a similar instrument.

So: It seems to me that an attempt to argue that more government will yield economic improvement — a plea for more time — is all he could do, and that a policy agenda consistent with the constraints summarized above is empty. I honestly do not understand what seems to be a substantial amount of head-scratching on the part of many smart observers. What am I missing?

— Benjamin Zycher is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.



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