So, President Obama has decided to channel the populism of Teddy Roosevelt. The liberal media is all goo-goo over his speech in Kansas as one of the defining speeches of his Presidency. Of course, we have heard that one before several times. The fact is that this was not the defining speech of his Presidency but of his re-election campaign. No doubt we will hear more "defining speeches" as this campaign progresses. The mere fact that he has had so many defining speeches illustrates just how rudderless his leadership is and one where Republicans need to take advantage.
Obviously, this is a crass and callous attempt to appeal to his base which envisions some concept of total income equality at any cost in some utopian "green economy" where world leaders come together and solve all the world's problems through a collective chorus of "Kumbaya." The speech may have appealed to the Occupy Whatever crowd, but they are hardly representative of the "99%."
Instead, his "defining speech" was more of the same. We heard how actions in 2001 and 2003 are the main culprits for our fiscal woes today. Absolutely none of his bone-headed policies are responsible; it is large attributable to the Bush tax cuts. He is obviously ignorant of the fact that the "Bushh deficits" as a percentage of GDP were BELOW historical averages. Obama's deficits, however, have set the country on a collision course with fiscal reality where, unfortunately, very hard choices will have to be made. Just ask Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal and other European leaders after the first verse of "Kumbaya." Better yet, stay home and ask the governors of California, New Jersey or Illinois. If nothing else, he can ask them on the golf course practicing his putt getting away from the stress of being President.
We heard about evil bankers taking advantage of people who rightfully should never had received a mortgage in the first place. We heard nothing about the use of the housing market by the government as a vehicle in social engineering. Its ironic how the two legislators whose name appear on the banking "reform" law will no longer be in office come 2012- Dodd and Frank. Never mind the fact that this "law" did precious little to insulate the taxpayer from future banking distress, but simply codified the "too big to fail" concept. There is more in that law addressing the trivial contributors to the housing/banking meltdown. Instead, we get compensation czars and Wall Street affirmative action in the executive suite as if more women and minority executives would be less "greedy" or more risk-aversive. Maybe we should have Maxine Waters running CitiBank. We heard nothing about reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and certainly nothing about Bush's attempt to do so in 2004 supported, ironically, by the New York Times. But then that would bring up some ugly truths as to why those reforms were never enacted- the belief by Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and others that they were just fine. Frank actually stated that he wanted to take full advantage of the housing bubble to put more minority in homes. Most likely, given his ties to ACORN and their efforts in the same endeavour and an organization that helped secure dubious loans for "the poor," we can surmise Obama would have seconded Frank.
It is easy to demonize the 1% and millionaires in general. They are America's favorite whipping boys and always were, even in the days of Teddy Roosevelt. Back then, they were the trusts. We can spend hours debating the efficacy of or even the need for antitrust laws. To summarize, they were "feel good" pieces of legislation, just as Dodd-Frank is and just as Sarbanes-Oxley was in response to Enron. Unfortunately, just as antitrust laws did not benefit consumers by increasing competition, their modern counterparts have simply saddled businesses (that is, job creators) with more regulations and costs that have paralyzed job growth. And we won't even touch Obamacare or cap-and-trade.
Unfortunately, he failed to truly define the political debate in this country- the size and scope of the Federal government. Instead, he flippantly states that the GOP believes the "losers" must suffer because that is the cost of liberty. Of course, in Obama's view it is the government who is best suited to pick the winners where every child goes home with a trophy.
If Obama- or any President- wants to narrow the income gap, they would start first and foremost with true educational reform where one size does not fit all. The single largest contributing factor in determining one's income in life is their level of education. And as others like George Will have illustrated, advances in American educational output stagnated or regressed at precisely the moment the Federal government became involved in K-12 education. The federal government has no business in this area just as they have no business in the construction of some highway interchange in California. Yet, because of people like the Roosevelts, Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter, we have the Labor, Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Labor Departments and a plethora of other federal bureaucracies that today impact practically every aspect of American life up to and including the number of toilet flushes allowed if Obama's EPA had its way. While he states that GOP policies have been proven failures- a point that can be debated- Obama is living proof that liberal policies have been even more disastrous not only fiscally, but towards our liberties. But to Obama, liberty is some insignificant afterthought- sort of like clinging to guns and Bibles. The only true solution to this country's fiscal woes is to fire the President in November, 2012.