Wednesday, March 18, 2009

50 Days In, People Noticing Obama Hasn't Saved the World

You know that expectations were far too high for Obama coming into the presidency. He hadn't done anything yet, and people were hailing him as the new FDR. So far, things haven't been going so well, and the glow is starting to recede. Here's an op-ed from the Daily Telegraph. Perhaps he can't fix it...
Instead he has been trying, on a broad front, to fulfil the reformist ideal that informed his election campaign. Rather like a would-be government in Britain that talked of “sharing the proceeds of growth”, the candidate who wanted to redistribute wealth now, as President, has no wealth to redistribute. A $3.6 trillion budget showed little sign of addressing the problem of stimulating demand. Both big corporations and small businesses feel overtaxed, their competitiveness hampered, and incapable of creating jobs at a time when they are desperately needed. Mr Obama’s green agenda, which was also a significant part of his election promises, entailed higher taxation that will retard the economy just when it needs to grow. His greatest ambition – of starting a national health service – seems impossible in the present climate. As he seeks to move forward on this broad front Warren Buffett himself has attacked him, saying that his first three priorities should all be the economy. Paralysed by inexperience and a Blairish desire to be liked, and hampered by inadequate senior staff, he is now finding that even some of his own party in Congress feel he has gone too far in the socialist experiment. Mrs Pelosi admitted at the weekend that a second stimulus package – which leftist Democrats are calling for, to the horror of much of the rest of America – was not yet on the cards.

As somebody right of centre, Obama was never my champion. However, I was willing to give him a shot. When he had his faux State of the Union speech a few weeks ago, I was not impressed that he droned on about green technology and health care. I predicted the markets would tank, and they went on a long losing streak.

To quote the old Clinton slogan: It's the economy stupid! The honeymoon is over.

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