Published on TheHill.com April 28, 2009
When the Obama administration crashes and burns, with approval ratings that fall through the floor, political scientists can trace its demise to its first hundred days. While Americans are careful not to consign a presidency they desperately need to succeed to the dustbin of history, the fact is that this president has moved – on issue after issue – in precisely the opposite direction of what the people want him to do.
Right now, Obama’s ratings must be pleasing to his eye. Voters like him and his wife immensely and approve of his activism in the face of the economic crisis. While polls show big doubts about what he is doing, the overwhelming sense is to let him have his way and pray that it works.
Published on TheHill.com on April 21, 2009
President Obama showed his hand this week when The New York Times wrote that he is considering converting the stock the government owns in our country’s banks from preferred stock, which it now holds, to common stock.
This seemingly insignificant change is momentous. It means that the federal government will control all of the major banks and financial institutions in the nation. It means socialism.
The Times dutifully dressed up the Obama plan as a way to avoid asking Congress for more money for failing banks. But the implications of the proposal are obvious to anyone who cares to look.
Sit in on a corporate board room struggling to come to grips with the new economic climate Obama has created. Do we expand? Create more jobs? Launch a new product line? Step up our marketing efforts? Ratchet up production?
But, wait a minute. The bigger our company gets, the closer we come to being “too big to fail,” a “systemic risk.” The nearer we are to intrusive government oversight, limits on executive pay, and regulators breathing down our necks. We better watch out. We may even get taken over. Stay small. Forget the new jobs.
Published on TheHill.com on April 14, 2009
If your philosophy is that government can do everything better than the private sector, eventually, you’ll luck out and hit one area where that otherwise nutty philosophy happens to be true. President Obama’s plan to end private student lending and channel all loans through the direct federal program is the right way to proceed.
Ever since Bill Clinton initiated the direct student lending program, it has offered lower-cost loans to students and given them an alternative to the high-handed rip-offs to which they are exposed when the funding comes from private lenders. The special interests – particularly Sallie Mae, the leading student lender – forced Clinton to allow private lending alongside of the government program. Now Obama is trying to eliminate it. And wisely so.
Published on TheHill.com on April 7, 2009
This economic crisis is too useful for Obama to want it to end. When Rahm Emanuel – and later Hillary Clinton – spoke of never letting a good crisis “go to waste”, many people were shocked. But now Obama seems to embody the corollary: that the crisis should continue until he has thoroughly milked it to reshape American politics, society and the economy. Like Faust, he seems to wish that this “given moment” will “endure forever”. Unlike Faust, however, he will not lose his “life and soul” to such a wish. He”ll sacrifice ours instead.
First came the “stimulus package”. With only about $185 billion of its $800 billion in spending to be spent in 2009, Obama clearly never intended the spending to be about stimulus but wanted the need for a stimulus to trigger the spending he wanted anyway.
On April 2, 2009, the work of July 4, 1776 was nullified at the meeting of the G-20 in London. The joint communiquÃ© essentially announces a global economic union with uniform regulations and bylaws for all nations, including the United States. Henceforth, our SEC, Commodities Trading Commission, Federal Reserve Board and other regulators will have to march to the beat of drums pounded by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a body of central bankers from each of the G-20 states and the European Union.
The mandate conferred on the FSB is remarkable for its scope and open-endedness. It is to set a “framework of internationally agreed high standards that a global financial system requires.” These standards are to include the extension of “regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments, and markets…[including] systemically important hedge funds.”
Published in the New York Post on April 1, 2009
More than anything else, business needs a predictable environment if it is to create jobs. Changes in the regulatory environment and the tax code make it almost impossible for businesses to make investments.
Yet President Obama seems to ignore this reality. Each day’s news brings another bold and far-reaching proposal to change the fundamentals of the US economy. And each time he indulges his personal ideology with such a pronouncement, businesses all over the world cut back on their planned investment until the dust settles.
Most incredible was the fact that he chose the middle of a deep recession to announce a major tax-code overhaul.
Published on TheHill.com on March 31, 2009
GM, now renamed Government Motors, has a new CEO: President Barack Obama.
By replacing the head of the company and demanding a restructuring of its board in return for further TARP aid, Obama has taken upon himself the responsibility for the future of the company. As Gen. Colin Powell said when Bush was considering invading Iraq and toppling the Saddam Hussein government there: “If you break it, you own it”. Now it is Obama’s company.