You can make corncob pipes, eighteen wheel trucks or microprocessors– but you can’t make jobs. Jobs are not a commodity or a service. They cannot be created independently through a job creating program. Rather they are the side-effect of a working economy. Trying to shortcut the economy with job creation programs is like trying to run a fruit orchard by neglecting the trees and instead buying fruit at inflated prices to resell to your customers at a lower price. It’s feasible, but not sustainable.
The government can promote job creation through subsidized education and training, but there is a ceiling on such efforts, since government programs still have to be paid for through taxation. It can encourage companies to do business locally through tax breaks, though this is an admission that the tax rates are an obstacle to job growth. But what it cannot do is create jobs out of whole cloth. Except for government jobs.
Just about anyone in the White House this term would have launched job creation programs. And like most such efforts they would have been a wash. But Barack Hussein Obama’s approach was different in that he did not even pretend to make the effort. His economic programs went by business friendly names, but invariably turned out to be concerned with only one kind of job creation. The creation of public sector jobs.
The spoils system has a long history in American politics, but it was never as spoiled as all this. There is no parallel in American history for the spoils system being used not just to rotate out supporters of the old administration and replace them with your lackeys, but to hijack the economy as your own spoils system to the tune of trillions of dollars.
Obama responded to an economic crisis by working to create two kinds of jobs. Government and union jobs. This was not about anything as simple as rewarding his supporters. The Black community got very little in exchange for supporting him. The Hispanic community similarly ended up with some token appointments, but not much to show for it. This was about shifting jobs from the private sector into the public sector and its feeders. To manufacture the types of jobs that feed money back into the Democratic party and expand the scope of the government bureaucracy.
No previous administration has as thoroughly disdained and tried to crush the private sector. But then none of them were nearly as clueless or irresponsible when it come to basic economics. The Democrats who had spent eight years mocking Reaganomics, practiced a Krugmanonics that treated money like an imaginary number. In Krugmanomics wealth is created through spending, and poverty is created by practicing wise fiscal management. The whole premise of Krugmanomics makes no sense, unless you have already decided that the private sector is a mythical beast with no room in the socialist bestiary.
This wasn’t even Keynesian, it most closely resembled the Bolshevik radicalism that destroyed the Russian economy, right down to the belated realization that only by assigning some limited role to the private sector could the situation be salvaged. Obama’s pre-election turn echoes Lenin’s New Economic Program. But like Lenin, Obama hasn’t embraced the free market. All he has done is tried to retreat to it after the spend and burn economics of his brightest radicals had ignited too much public fury.
Obama has only one idea. The same one idea that the left has beaten into the ground repeatedly. The monopolization of power. This monopolization is disguised behind organizations claiming to represent the people, community activists, unions and public interest lobbies, whose only message is the vital necessity of a government monopoly in every economic area of life.
It’s the old Soviet strategy writ large. Every red error brought back to life and pushed forward with cunning and brute force, but no understanding of why it failed last time around. The slower transition of Wells’ “Open Conspiracy” does not make them any better at running a country, than the radical armed revolts of the Bolsheviks did. Repeating the same mistakes at 1/20th the speed does not lead to a better outcome. Only to more chances to see that they are going the wrong way.
The left’s total abandonment of individual choice, its insistence that a moral society can only come from total submission to the rule of the enlightened, does not just lead to tyranny, but to economic disaster. The last term has been another reminder of why the enlightened are not qualified to to run every aspect of a society, and why economic collectivism is no substitute for individualism. A healthy society gains its energy from individual decision making, a diversity of choices leading to a diversity of outcomes. An unhealthy one is tightly constrained by the five or ten year plan of a dictator and his cronies.
The left has never questioned the rightness of its destination, only the best way to get there. And that is its greatest blind spot. Within the left there has been debate on the speed of the transition and the best way to achieve it. Violent revolution or a slow takeover from within. Stamp out the bourgeoisie or brainwash their children into joining your ranks. But these concerns with tactics and the political correctness of one approach over another, always end up overlooking the larger questions. Because it is taken for granted that the system of collective tyranny they champion is bound to work.
Fanatics rarely question their own motives or the rightness of their beliefs. And the left breeds that brand of fanaticism the way the sewers of Paris bred rats. That makes them capable of ruthlessly pursuing a course, but not of recognizing that the course itself is wrong. The left spends so much time fighting to seize a country, unable to realize that it cannot keep it as anything more than a backward dictatorship with nuclear weapons and widespread hunger.
The fanatic’s greatest error is to believe that he shapes reality, rather than reality shaping him. And that is an error which Obama catastrophically fell into. The more his imagemakers surrounded him with an aura of invincibility, the less aware he and they became of the possibility of failure. The very halo that they planted on his head, made his abuses of power inevitable, and also his downfall. To pose in a halo is to deny human error. And that denial of human error by those who are born to the red leads the left to ideological disputes that can only be settled with purges and to economic disasters that cannot happen because their politically correct positions have endowed them with a sense of inevitable historical destiny.
The manifest destiny of socialism has been the left’s greatest article of faith. It says that one way or another they must win. The stages of history make it inevitable. That knowledge of inevitable progression, from feudalism to capitalism to socialism blinds them to the realization that their way is nothing more than feudalism under a red flag. Which is exactly what it became in the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China.
Obama’s greatest asset was that sense of inevitability which he projected as confidence. But that confidence is now at odds with a country where massive unemployment has led to resentment of his Versailles lifestyle, the parties, globe trotting tours and vacations more appropriate to royalty, than the elected official of a republic. The public has never shared the left’s sense of historical inevitability. It does not understand why Obama is so cheerful when the rest of the country is suffering. It is less interested in Isms, than in functionality. And the state of nation under Obama is a state of extreme dysfunction.
That dysfunction is causing Americans to question many elements of the left’s slow takeover, elements that they would have left alone if the radicalism of their new masters had not occasioned a blowback that is sweeping well beyond a mere repeal of the Obama years. The media had positioned Obama as a new FDR, but instead he is emerging as the Anti-FDR. Not the man who will sell Americans on socialism, but the man who will finally turn them against it.
The left mistook the economic disaster they had orchestrated as the end of capitalism. It was however a premature celebration. While the media rebukes the public for its glumness, its unwillingness to see that the time of hope and change means that the economy no longer matters, that a bad economy becomes a good one if we say so– the recovery that comes may be an ideological one. A recovery from the ideology which first brought on the disaster. While the left had hoped to use the economy to destroy the free market as a vital force, it may be that their own attempt to do so will instead destroy socialism.