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Our 44th President loves to double down with your money.
What’s wrong? Why the wrinkled brow, Mr. President? Do you no longer think that you can command the oceans to recede and the planet to heal?
Suddenly, it seems, we are witnessing a crisis of confidence — the first outward sign of an inward glimmer of doubt in the mind of the most self-absorbed and self-congratulatory president in the history of the United States.
According to multiple news accounts, President Obama confessed that the alleged economic recovery is not progressing as fast as he expected. Speaking as always in the first person singular, he told reporters on Tuesday: “I am concerned that the recovery we’re on is not producing jobs as quick as I want it to happen.”
How could stubborn reality fail to conform to Obama’s wishes? Only four days earlier, the president seemed to be perfectly fine. Indeed, in visiting a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, late last week, he seemed to be as full of himself as ever when he talked about the miracle that he had pulled off in putting the U.S. auto industry “back on its feet” and saving a million or so jobs. In lauding the results of 2009’s $80 billion auto industry bail-out, Mr. Obama told a cheering UAW crowd:
So I placed my bet on you. I put my faith in the American worker. And I’ll tell you what — I’m going to do that every day of the week, because what you’ve done vindicates my faith.
Clearly, this is a president who loves to gamble. In speaking at colleges and universities around the country, he likes to say that he is prepared to “double down” on education and a clean energy future.
That means: easy money in the form of more low-interest college loans for young people and early forgiveness of those loans for students who forswear the private sector and go into the public sector. It means: billions of dollars in new taxpayer-funded bets on wind and solar power — bets that fly in the face of reason, given that these new sources of energy are both extraordinarily expensive and wholly inadequate to the task of meeting more than a tiny fraction of our future energy needs.
No matter. Reason has nothing to do with it. It is simply an article of faith for the president and his fervent admirers that higher gasoline prices and reduced domestic production of fossil fuels are good for the planet. And if that is taken on faith, it is no less fanciful to imagine that pouring huge sums of money into heavily subsidized alternative energy schemes will help to “transform the economy” in producing hundreds of thousands of new jobs that “can’t be outsourced,” and in creating whole new technologies that will supposedly help to move Team USA ahead of China and India in science, math, and long-term economic growth.
Consider this passage from the president’s “weekend speech” to the country in early October 2010:
I want to share with you one new development made possible by the clean energy initiatives that we have launched. This month, in the Mojave Desert, a new company called BrightSource plans to break ground on a revolutionary new type of solar power plant. It’s going to put about a thousand people to work building a state-of-the-art facility. And when it’s complete, it will turn sunlight into energy that will power up to 140,000 homes — the largest such plant in the world. Not in China. Not in India. But in California.
In the tagline used in introduce this speech at whitehouse.gov, the president’s minions inadvertently disclosed the prevailing attitude within White House when it comes to giving taxpayers’ money to favored businesses: “The plant is possible because of the President’s investment [emphasis added] in the clean energy economy, which Congressional Republicans want to eliminate.”
So it is not your money or my money as taxpayers that will go to a small, money-losing company called BrightSource that few people have ever heard of. It is president’s money — acting in his self-appointed capacity as the nation’s Chief Investment Officer.
What, after all, is the nature of an “investment”? In a Forbes column several years ago, George Gilder gave an excellent illustration of how business investment works. He began by pointing out that every business is based upon a set of working hypotheses. Like scientific theories, these hypotheses (regarding shifting customer preferences, future cash flows, and the like) are put to the stringent test of “falsification.” In the case of businesses, this happens when the planning and investment are done and the end result of those efforts is plunged into the acid bath of a competitive marketplace. Simply put, if a company gets it wrong too often… or even once, in some cases… it goes broke. There are no guarantees, but that is how wealth is created in a free enterprise system. As Gilder wrote:
Intel is currently preparing to test the hypothesis that computer companies will choose a microprocessor that runs at 3 gigahertz, or 3 billion cycles a second, and will buy it in sufficient volumes that Intel can profitably manufacture it in a plant that costs $2 billion to build and equip. Samsung is testing whether people will buy a cell phone that takes digital photographs. Ebay is testing whether it can move beyond Web auctions of used wine openers to Web auctions of $20,000 antique cars and to TV programs.
Now all that is light years removed from the kind of “investment” that the president talks about. His kind of “investment” is all about dishing out subsidies to eager supplicants who may be counted upon to espouse politically correct views — and who would rather “partner” with government than face the challenge of having to earn their way in a competitive marketplace.
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?