Once, I observed a close friend tell his baby brother that, no, he couldn’t have ice cream. It would spoil his dinner. The brother cried out, in his most plaintive toddler’s voice, “But Daddy says I love to!” We tried but couldn’t keep from laughing. The kid sure knew what he wanted, but he had no idea how to form an argument.
Unfortunately, the 4-year-old’s attempt to score some ice cream far surpasses John R. Talbott’s ravings in Obamanomics in terms of logic, coherence, and sheer entertainment value. There might conceivably be some overarching design to the Democratic nominee’s plans for America’s economic leadership, but you wouldn’t guess it from Talbott’s book.
The author makes his adulation of Democratic leaders clear in the introduction, when he remarks, “Of course, to describe Bobby Kennedy as a great speaker betrays his legacy. It would be like saying that Beethoven was a piano player, or that Michelangelo painted ceilings.”
If you can believe it, Talbott reserves his real hero worship for Barack Obama. Approximately 30 percent of the paragraphs in Obamanomics begin with some variation of “Obama thinks…” Every few chapters or so Talbott ventures slightly outside the coloring lines provided by barackobama.com (from which he excerpts liberally and at great length), and the obsequiousness is almost palpable.
Although the reader can almost picture Talbott wringing his hands a la Uriah Heep when he makes a few minor suggestions on how to implement Obama’s plans for regulating the financial industry, the crescendo comes in the last chapter, when he ascribes the Golden Rule to Obama.
NO DOUBT IT WAS Talbott’s idolatry of all things Obama that led him to sign off on some truly nutty economic ideas here. The only time he even comes close to making sense is when he notes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s implicit backing from the government led to too much subsidized risk and subsequently to the crash in the housing market.
In fact, Talbott predicted the housing crash in The Coming Crash in the Housing Market (2003) and Sell Now: The End of the Housing Bubble (2006). He also seems justified in blaming the Fed for creating the expectation that it would bail out failed banks, creating incentives for bankers to take on more risk.
Alas, he concludes that the solution in both cases of government gone wrong is… more government. He argues in favor of crippling regulations and government intrusion into the capital and housing markets, without addressing the government-created distortions that he himself blames for causing the problem. He argues at length for the reinstitution of the “Glass-Steagle Act,” the New Deal law that regulated speculation and banned financial conglomerates like Citigroup. (Department of egregious typos: It’s the Glass-Steagall Act.)
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?