“It’s the economy, stupid.”
Those words were supposedly written as a note from James Carville to keep Bill Clinton on message during his successful 1992 campaign. Like everything else in the kind of stage show political campaigns have become, outsiders can’t be sure how the story actually unfolded. But that’s not important.
What is important is that we are suckers if we hold Barack Obama accountable for the economy, unless we also say that we know he can’t help the economy. He can only harm it, or allow it to fix itself. By demanding of Barack Obama “Jobs!”, we are inviting him to tinker with the economy, and more importantly, we are abandoning our principles to score political points.
Holding Mr. Obama accountable for his promises is all well and good, but it must be coupled with “We told you so!”. We knew that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AKA “Porkulus”) would not work. It cannot work, because it is based on faulty, outdated, and disproven economics. The part of the money spent stimulating the economy will simply cause people to be dependent on government, rather than on themselves. And as importantly, that money has to come from somewhere, whether it’s taxed, borrowed, or simply printed.
And once we hold Mr. Obama accountable for creating jobs for the people, unless we say now that it can’t be done, it will be demanded of us also when we shortly return to power. It may take years to repair the damage of an Obama Administration, and without clear economic progress our guy or gal will have trouble implementing the very agenda which would make it happen: slashing government spending, deregulating everything but traffic lights, and cutting back on governmental power.
We mustn’t cede the ground that the economy is the government’s to control. The only legitimate concerns of government are defending liberty and settling disputes.
So let’s not open ourselves to the charge of hypocrisy, or tu quoque. Let’s make clear the acid behind our snark as we demand those jobs he can’t produce. Let’s make clear how little we expect of him, while demanding every bit of what he promises.