I had a go yesterday at the president's Osawatomi, Kansas speech, but now I'm really worked up. As usual, my thoughts condensed after writing the blog, and now I find three things wrong with the speech.
First, there's the liberal history. I really have a problem with the way that liberals insist that, but for liberals, people would work in sweatshops and Jim Crow would rule the South. As Rush Limbaugh insisted yesterday, that flies in the face of the founding social science of the modern era, Adam Smith's Invisible Hand. By working in the world to feed their families, he argued, people help the larger society. Liberals are taking credit for the miracles of modernity when the credit really goes to the social system we call capitalism. President Obama calls for the rich to pay their fair share. Well, chum, back in the Crash of 1907, J.P. Morgan got the richest men into his library and got them to bail out the economy--with their own money. I didn't see that happen with all the Democrat-contributing rich in the Crash of 2008. So how come that the America of a century ago was worse than today?
Second there's the smallness of the goals. Are we to believe that all the high-flown rhetoric and the dramatic call for fairness in your speech is just to increase college education funding and infrastructure spending? Please, Mr. President. It's not as if we don't already spend a ton of money on education. And infrastructure spending? What happened to the Great Stimulus? I thought that was cram-jammed with shovel-ready projects. The fact is that the problem with education and with infrastructure is not money. The problem is liberals. Liberals are standing the college door preventing reform of education and defending the indefensible status quo. And it is liberals, as environmental activists and regulators, that are standing in the way of improving our infrastructure.
Third, whatever happened to entitlements? You criticize President Bush for his tax cuts that "made it much harder to pay for... Medicare and Social Security" but we don't hear a whisper from you about what you intend to do about them. Apparently you haven't had a thought about the matter since you decided to solve the Medicare problem with the IPAB and rationing.
The fact is, Mr. President, that you have on a direct course for a Greek-like sovereign debt crisis. There is no attempt to reform, let alone reduce government expenditures, just a determination to throw good money after bad at the usual Democratic constituencies. Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.
You spoke a lot about "fairness" in your speech. I think a lot about that too. And what I think is that politicians like you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Everyone wants an America where "everyone engages in fair play and everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share." But here's the thing, Mr. President. We conservatives think that as soon as you get government in on the "fairness" game, putting a thumb on the scales with entitlements and subsidies, then "fairness" flies out the window. We present the history of the 20th century as evidence of this. Let's just take Medicare as the poster-boy example. With Medicare we have prosperous senior citizens like me being subsidized by ordinary working Americans trying to raise a family. Where is the "fairness" in that?
Hell, forget "fairness." What about justice? Where's the justice, Mr. President, in rich older Americans voting politicians into office to take money from struggling young Americans?