We will soon suffer the death, or at least the crippling, of a thousand regulatory cuts.
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The better a businessman you are, the better a business you have, the more you will be a target, the more you will be viewed by the government the way a leech views a vein on a hiker’s ankle. Unfortunately, you can’t just sprinkle salt on the IRS agent to make him shrivel up and go away. (Yes, that works well with leeches.)
AS WE TRUDGE THROUGH THE MUDDY debates over government spending and taxation, it bears keeping in mind the nature of our president, who believes in “spreading the wealth around” and raising taxes, even if it would not increase government revenue, “for purposes of fairness.”
Following his re-election, Barack Obama scheduled meetings with interest groups to discuss their perspectives on the fiscal cliff negotiations. It was not just symbolic, though the symbolism is important too, that he met first with labor bosses and progressive activists, and only later with CEOs.
Barack Obama is probably not telling the truth when he says he is focused on his job; after all, he will never run for office again and what little focus he has had for the last 18 months has all been directed toward fundraising—even the day after the murder of our ambassador in Libya. In other words, he is focused neither on keeping his job nor on doing it. But when he says he cares about your job, he is not speaking to you unless you are a union boss, an opponent of free enterprise, or a rent-seeking wind farm, solar panel, or “advanced battery” manufacturer.
The president’s inherently anti-business instincts will constitute the single biggest hurdle to a sensible fiscal cliff resolution, though he and his media lackeys will no doubt blame any disagreement on Republicans. Anyway, why shouldn’t they, politically speaking? After all, the public has already demonstrated itself sufficiently ignorant to accept Obama’s narcissistic blame-shifting. Election exit polls showed about half the nation still holds President Bush responsible for our economic troubles.
But beyond the fiscal cliff, Obama’s anti-business instincts will remain a large-caliber weapon aimed at the heart of our economy until this president is out of office. To the extent that the next four years are different from the past four, they are likely to be worse rather than better, as our economy is forced to swallow ever greater doses of Keynesian snake oil and hyper-regulation.
Some suggest hopefully that voters might shift the balance of power in the Senate in 2014. But optimism, at least for the economy, on that score is unfounded: Much or most of the Obama assault on business will be through the regulatory structure, not through legislation that already will not pass through a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
While a fiscal cliff resolution that addresses mushrooming entitlement spending will be better for the economy than a deal that anticipates chimerical government revenue gains from soaking the “rich,” the whole spectacle reminds one of a magician waving his left hand, drawing your attention away from the card he’s slipping into his right sleeve.
SO WHAT IS TO BE DONE? As much as we want to urge on champions of liberty to fight for the economic and moral soul of this nation, and as much as we have men and women of courage willing to take on that fight, the best strategy for at least the next two years, and probably the entirety of Obama’s remaining term, is defense: plain and simple survival.
What has come before pales in comparison to the bloodletting about to be imposed by the hundreds of intrusive, expensive, economically crippling rules and regulations about to fall on our heads.
Businessmen and women know this. They will not be fooled by a fiscal cliff deal, especially one that cannot credibly claim to reduce our deficit and debt over the long term. They will not hire more full-time workers or substantially expand businesses. They will grow where they can, but will hire contractors and part-time workers who will not receive the benefits that employees currently expect (though those workers will nevertheless feel grateful to have any sort of job in the Obama economy).
As we muddle through the next four years, however, there are things we can and must do to prepare for a better future:
Regarding the last two points, the GOP’s Achilles’ heel is not being too conservative, but rather being perceived as intolerant and bigoted. This must change or the majority of the Millennial generation—those currently under 30 years old, including those who might otherwise be conservative—will be lost by Republicans forever.
Despite the devastatingly disappointing results of November’s election, our nation is not lost. It is, however, closer to being lost than at any time since the Civil War. It will take wisdom, patience, and introspection by Republicans to save it.
It is this long-term view that we must take over the next four years, because even a reasonably good outcome in the fiscal cliff negotiations will not be enough to heal the economy in the face of an incessant assault by the Obama regulatory leviathan.
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?
H/T to National Review Online