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Frequently, Talbott is forced to turn a blind eye to elementary economics to support Obama’s plans. In arguing for living wages, he ignores the real possibility that above-market wages will lead to excess supply of labor and end up hurting the same low-wage workers the living wage was intended to help. Rather, he assumes the only possible objection to a living wage is inflation within the service sector.
“Most Americans would be glad to pay 10 percent more for their hamburgers, if it meant knowing that their fellow Americans could work their way out of poverty, feed their families, pay their rent, and have enough time left at the end of the day to show their children how much they truly loved them,” Talbott argues.
Ignore the facts that (a) Talbott arbitrarily arrives at only a 10 percent increase in the price of service industry products; (b) the very-lowest skilled workers laid off following the implementation of the living wage couldn’t afford a burger at the original price; and (c) most Americans express their altruism through much simpler, more efficient cash donations or volunteer work.
Instead focus on the fact that Talbott would see no problem whatsoever with intentionally creating 10 percent inflation in a sector of the economy that accounts for 70 percent of GDP. That’s pretty nonchalant, for someone who also bemoans the state of an economy currently beset by only 5.6 percent inflation.
TALBOTT ALSO SCRAPES bottom for ways to save money under Obama’s healthcare plan without piling taxes onto the already European-level taxes Obama recommends, and comes up with… cutting the number of patents to discourage research into new medicines.
True, this would discourage innovation of life-saving drugs, but Talbott rhetorically asks, “isn’t that just what we want?” I won’t trouble you with Talbott’s reasoning on why new drugs are bad, but I will warn you that wherever costs could be cut by devaluing human life, Talbott says go for it.
Obamanomics is riddled with similar absurdities. Talbott suggests that the vast numbers of Americans abandoning the precepts of religion — a wild and erroneous assumption that he takes as self-evident — can substitute Obama’s bottom-up economy for their moral needs. Perhaps his most laughable claim comes when he outlines the greatest threats facing the world economy. He places Animal Rights, threat number 13 (a very ambiguous threat, to say the least), far ahead of Terrorism, threat number 25. No explanation is given for this ordering.
The book is a mess because Obama’s economic theories are all about buying votes. Talbott should have recognized that a populist candidate isn’t going to promote a coherent economic agenda. Thus, there is no unified “Obamanomics” for him to explicate.
In fact, Talbott is hamstrung in a few examples by Obama’s pandering. In one typical passage beginning with “Obama believes,” Talbott preaches, “it has to be unjust that campaign contributions dominate our elections, because it violates the theory of one man one vote.” How was Talbott to know Obama would forgo public funding in order to spend enormous sums on his own election?
Attempts are made to shoehorn Obama’s “bottom-up” economics into some sort of meaningful unified theory. Ultimately it’s not possible to do so without embracing socialism, and indeed Talbott conflates “economic justice,” “ethical behavior,” and “productivity.” He buys wholeheartedly into the easily debunked myth that the free market has decreased workers’ wages since 1973 and says that the time has come for the government to step in as, in Obama’s words, “my brother’s keeper.”
Under an Obama administration, says this acolyte, big brother will be watching out for you.
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.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?