Obama's On Path To An American Welfare State

Forget all the conspiracy theories of a mythological “North American Union” combining us with Mexico and Canada. Barack Obama wants America to be an unofficial member of the European Union. The path he outlined in his quasi “state of the union” address is to remake America on the model of a European welfare state.

Down to lows unseen since 1997, the financial markets are as nervous as a politician on a polygraph. When the president speaks of catastrophe, they panic. When Tim Geithner promises to continue the Bush-Paulson trial and error method of determining how to handle toxic mortgage-based securities and foreclosures, the Dow Jones self-immolates.

And when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the recession will be over by year’s end, the market shoots back up again.

Tuesday night, Barack Obama had the chance to switch roles. From Dr. Doom to the Steady Healer, our president could have changed the mood of country by abandoning his fearful chants for a more specific set of policies that could have made Bernanke’s prediction more likely to come true.

But he didn’t; instead, he moved aggressively to hurt our economy and reduce our defenses. He put America on the very path that will condemn the economy to greater recession.

Obama tried to undo some of the damage his own rhetoric has done since he was inaugurated little more than a month ago. He began by saying we’d rebuild, recover and become stronger than ever. But how?

Obama’s speech sounded much like Franklin Roosevelt’s second inaugural speech. Having expanded government too much, Roosevelt in 1937 asked for more government power over the economy.

There was nothing in the speech to calm the financial markets. Obama said he would create a new lending fund — a government superbank of sorts — that will provide auto loans, college loans, and loans to small business. In literal terms, President Obama promised to restart the financial market by imposing a nationalized lending system.

And that nationalization will go farther than ever before. He said the government will, “…when we learn that a major bank has serious problems, we will hold accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments, provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people and our economy.”

By those words, Obama said that weak banks will be subjected to government management. Will their troubled assets be bought? Will the plan that then Treasury Secretary Paulson demanded and then abandoned last fall be implemented to buy up the toxic, unmarketable mortgage-based securities that have tied up the credit markets, and hold them in the name of the taxpayer?

Obama didn’t say. He didn’t deviate from the disastrous statement Treasury Secretary Geithner gave last week, promising trial and error in mending the broken credit market. He reaffirmed it, asking Congress to join him, “…in doing whatever proves necessary.” Whatever?

But the financial markets — desperate for stability and certainty — will not find it in the Obama administration method of ad hoc policymaking through trial and error. And they will wait to for the government to free up the credit market, which it cannot do without freeing up the capital market from both the toxic assets and from government interference.

After promising to exert far greater government control over the credit markets, President Obama outlined his budget proposal, which really isn’t a budget at all.

First, Obama asked Congress to deliver a “cap and trade” system to control greenhouse gas emissions. This economy-killer was couched in utopian terms: he asked Congress to send him “…legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.” Obama appears ignorant of the European experience with that system. It doesn’t drive the production of any other energy: it creates an inherently corrupt system of marketing “carbon credits” and — as the example of the United Kingdom proves — actually causes an increase in carbon pollution.

And Obama promises to protect aging industries from the market. Automakers were promised salvation: Obama said, “But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win.” At whatever cost. Whatever, again.

And whatever needs to be done to reform health care, that will be done, too, by Congress and the omniscient government, and done this very year. As will be education reform.

Obama asked for a Hatch-Kennedy bill that would grant benefits like the G.I. Bill — paying for higher education in return for government service. The enormous costs — in government hiring of hundreds of thousands of people and then paying their college costs — will be paid for how? Whatever. The president promised to reduce the deficit by two-thirds by the end of his first term.

Obama promised to reduce $2 trillion in spending over the next ten years. How? In part, by what Obama didn’t give the accurate oxymoronic label of the first wartime “peace dividend.” He said, “We’ll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq, and reform our defense budget so that we’re not paying for Cold War-era weapons systems we don’t use.” Yes, by all means. Let’s get rid of those weapons — nuclear and conventional, all those unneeded fighter aircraft and naval combatants — that we haven’t had to use because they did the job for which they were designed: to deter our conventional enemies from making war on us.

This is the path President Obama set for us: to a European welfare state, bankrupt and disarmed. America won’t become France: we’ll be Italy, or Spain or Germany, governed by a bureaucracy that oversees our industry and finance, protected by a military that is a shell of what we need.

If we follow Obama’s path, we’ll be the Blanche Dubois of North America, living off the kindness of strangers. We must resist. A ray of hope came from the Republican response by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Jindal spoke eloquently of the faith he learned in the power that derives from freedom. He told the story of a Louisiana sheriff — organizing rescue craft during the aftermath of Katrina — frustrated at some bureaucrat’s interference and how he stood with that sheriff to shut off the interference and get the rescues under way.

His most important points — that Democrats want to expand the power of government over American life while Republicans want to empower Americans to help themselves — were couched in the terms his father taught him: that Americans can do anything. And we can.

Jindal appears a mild man, one who inspires confidence as a leader must. His solid conservative core was reflected again and again in arguments that we shouldn’t spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need. Which, he said, was what the trillion-dollar spending spree the Democrats legislated as a “stimulus.”

Jindal built upon the resistance to Democratic Party spending that was begun by Republican resistance to the stimulus package. The foundation has been laid: it is up to Congressional Republicans, and governors such as Jindal, to prevent Obama’s plan to transform America into a European failed welfare state. And with them, we must stand.