Advertisement

Opinion

Opinion

Obama touts trickle-down government

September 4, 2012

Advertisement

— With Americans, on average, worth less and earning less than when he was inaugurated, Barack Obama is requesting a second term by promising, or perhaps threatening, that prosperity is just around the corner if he can practice four more years of trickle-down government. This is dubious policy, scattering borrowed money in the hope that this will fill consumers and investors with confidence. But recently Obama revealed remarkable ambitions for it when speaking in Pueblo, Colo., a pleasant place Democratic presidents should avoid.

After delivering in Pueblo what would be his last extended speech, Woodrow Wilson suffered a collapse that prefaced his disabling stroke. And in Pueblo this summer, Obama announced what should be a disqualifying aspiration.

After a delusional proclamation — General Motors “has come roaring back” — Obama said: “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.” We have been warned.

Obama’s supposed rescue of “the auto industry” — note the definite article, “the” — is a pedal on his political organ he pumps energetically in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere. Concerning which:

He intervened to succor one of two of the American auto industries. One, located in the South and elsewhere, does not have a long history of subservience to the United Auto Workers and for that reason has not needed Obama’s ministrations. He showered public money on two of three parts of the mostly northern auto industry, the one long entangled with the UAW. He socialized the losses of GM and Chrysler. Ford was not a mendicant because it was not mismanaged.

Today, “I am GM, hear me roar” is again losing market share, and its stock, of which taxpayers own 26 percent, was trading last Thursday morning at $21, below the $33 price our investor in chief paid for it and below the $53 price it would have to reach to enable taxpayers to recover the entire $49.5 billion bailout. Roaring GM’s growth is in China.

But let’s not call that outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, lest we aggravate liberalism’s current bewilderment, which is revealed in two words it dare not speak and in a four-word phrase it will not stop speaking. The two words are both verbal flinches. One is “liberal,” the other “spend.” The phrase is “as we know it.”    

Jettisoning the label “liberal” was an act not just of self-preservation, considering the damage liberals had done to the word, but also of semantic candor: The noble liberal tradition was about liberty — from oppressive kings, established churches and aristocracies. For progressives, as liberals now call themselves, liberty has value, when it has value, only instrumentally — only to the extent that it serves progress, as they restlessly redefine this over time.

The substitution of “invest” for “spend” (e.g., “We must invest more in food stamps,” and in this and that) is prudent but risky. People think there has been quite enough of (in Mitt Romney’s words) “throwing more borrowed money at bad ideas.” But should progressives call attention to their record as investors of other people’s money (GM, Solyndra, etc.)?      

When did peculiarly named progressives decide they must hunker down in a defensive crouch to fend off an unfamiliar future? Hoover Dam ended the lower Colorado River as we knew it. Rockefeller Center ended midtown Manhattan as we knew it. Desegregation ended the South as we knew it. The Internet ended ... you get the point. In their baleful resistance to any policy not “as we know it,” progressives resemble a crotchety 19th-century vicar in a remote English village banging his cane on the floor to express irritation about rumors of a newfangled, noisy and smoky something called a railroad.  

Given Democrats’ current peevishness, it is fitting that Sandra Fluke will address their convention. In February she, you might not remember, became for progressives the victim du jour of America’s insufficient progress. She was a 30-year-old-student — almost halfway to 62, when elderly Americans can begin collecting Social Security — unhappy about being unable to get someone else (Georgetown University, a Catholic institution) to pay for her contraceptives. Say this for Democrats: They recognize a symbol of their sensibility when they see one.

— George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.    

Comments

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

Followed closely by a desire to be Robin Hood so he can "spread the wealth around." While, strangely, anointing his chosen companies/industries with subsidies we all pay for, instead of making them compete fairly with their rivals. Which, of course, makes goods more expensive for all of us. Before posters pile on with examples of Rep administrations doing the same things, stating for the record: All administrations are guilty of this. Some are more guilty than others.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree, George-- only the wealthy should be allowed to trickle down on the rest of us-- their piss is just so much "sweeter" than any other variety. Long live the Plutocracy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

George doesn't seem to think so. What do you think?

Liberty275 2 years, 3 months ago

Government piss is the nastiest of all the pisses.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

"They don't have to provide a good or service."

That's just flat out wrong.

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

Seems to me George is fairly consistent. He derides corporate bailouts. He derides the state of Fed entitlements. He argues for smaller, more accountable, more responsible government.

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

Plutocracy is government by the wealthy. Where does he argue for this?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

By arguing that the government shouldn't do much of anything (or at least very little) for anyone else, which is a common refrain in his columns.

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

When you say "do much of anything" do you mean redistribute income? Why should Will or anyone else be derided for wanting small government?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Because among the plutocratic elite that Will represents, "small government" is merely a euphemism for "I got mine, screw you."

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

There is enough of a level playing field in our country that there's plenty of opportunity for people (even people of modest means) to become wealthy or at least very comfortable. The pouty sentiment that the "rich" are all greedy and that their positions are all about greed and have nothing to do with a bias toward freedom and less govt intrusion isn't at all convincing. It's as easy to dismiss this sentiment as what the some on the "other side" say -- All those who benefit from goverment programs are shiftless losers who just want a handout.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

"There is enough of a level playing field in our country that there's plenty of opportunity for people (even people of modest means) to become wealthy or at least very comfortable."

The record of the last 30 years provides little evidence for this assertion, and plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

Not buying the notion that there's such insuffient chance of upward mobility that the fed govt ought to grow & tax a lot more. Plenty of examples of people who succeed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

The fact is that Europe has greater economic upward mobility than the US does.

And there is no need for the government to grow. If government were to spend more of its efforts and capital at supporting the average citizen, rather than propping up plutocrats and their corporations and Wall Street crap game, the size of the government likely could be shrunk somewhat, especially if the War Dept. were shrunk into a real Defense Dept.

One other fact-- it's the middle class that is responsible for most entrepreneurship and job creation, not the super wealthy and their corporations, and the current unemployment rate owes much to the war on the middle class of the last 30 years.

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

Source on the Europe comment? There are a lot of ways to define mobility. Plenty of evidence that US is a magnet for people who seek upward mobility. See article linked above. Very informative. Those who want to redistribute income and expand govt subsidies, loans and handouts further our financial mess. Stop corporate welfare, start shrinking entitlements and urge people to reduce reliance on govt. And yes, to a degree, must increase taxes. All of the above.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

Even poor people in this country may be a lot better off than people in many other countries, especially 3rd world ones.

It doesn't mean that upward mobility is a great possibility within this country.

In fact, the evidence shows that it's much harder now for people to move up than it used to be here.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes, our government/society has a strong plutocratic flavor to it. Obama's policies tend to maintain that "flavor." Republican policies would push us towards all-out plutocracy.

Armstrong 2 years, 3 months ago

Reminds me of the old saying Don't trickle down my back and tell me it's raining. Barry seems to work that philosophy very well.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

"...:June saw a new surge in those Americans living in poverty and thus eligible for foodstamps, with 173,600 new entrants into the system, bringing the total to a new all time high of 46.670 million and once again rising fast. Furthermore, with subsequent emergency events affecting the heartland due to the drought, the administration has made sure even more Americans will be eligible going forward. As a result expect the July and August numbers to promptly surpass 47 million on their way to the psychological resistance level of 50 million. Indicatively, the 173,600 increase in Foodstamps recipients in June was three times greater than Americans finding jobs (64,000, most of which part-time) according to the BLS..." http://www.zerohedge.com/news/june-foodstamp-recipients-hit-all-time-high-three-times-many-americans-enter-poverty-find-jobs

geekin_topekan 2 years, 3 months ago

It's not so much that I want Odude again, its that we know what the American Taliban has in store for us-Mandatory prayer sessions, stomping of women's rights, caste system, Rights based upon your income etc.

Besides, isn't this so much more fun?

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 3 months ago

Why won't Romney release his tax returns? We already know he is rich and that he pays a lower rate than most Americans.

What is he hiding from the American people by keeping his returns secret?

Romney has a big transparency problem that begins with his refusal to release his tax returns.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

No. There was nothing but xenophobia, racism and petty partisanship behind the birther movement.

Romney's tax returns would give voters a clear picture of the sort of society he expects for himself, and what he expects for the rest of us (and those aren't be the same expectations at all.)

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

If, prior to his election, we had asked Clinton what the meaning of the word "is" is, would that have given us a clear picture of the moral fiber he expected for the country?

Romney's tax returns would give us information, but I'm not at all sure it would tell us anything about his vision for the country. It would, however, fuel the resentment some feel towards all who are rich.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Clinton was already under investigation by Republicans, who weren't the least bit shy about using that as a campaign issue in 1996. Voters still preferred him over Dole.

Romney's willingness to have one set of rules for him and his wealthy cohorts and another for the rest of us could be well demonstrated by release of his tax returns.

And what people resent is policies (tax and otherwise) that do nothing but increase the wealth of the wealthy, at the expense of everyone else. Most people are quite content to be in the middle class, and are not subject to the paralyzing envy that the far right likes to imagine.

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

Just to be clear, how do the wealthy get more wealthy "at the expense of everyone else"? Want to know what you're referring to.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

You really haven't been paying much attention for the last 30 years or so, have you?

But, then again, you really do believe that it'd be theoretically possible for the entire world to come under the ownership of a single person, don't you?

Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

Why won't the Mope release his college transcripts? Why is he hiding the fact that he benefitted from affirmative action?

Topple 2 years, 3 months ago

Would you say the college transcripts of a potential hire at six-figure/year job are irrelevant?

Why is our President's transcripts irrelevant?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Are you contending that he didn't really graduate from Columbia University? That he wasn't (the first black) president of the Harvard Law Review? That he didn't graduate with a J.D. magna cum laude?

What deep dark secrets do you think could be lurking in the transcripts of what was obviously a stellar academic career?

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm sure being black didn't hurt his chances of being EIC of the Harvard Law Review, but there is no question he is very intelligent. No way someone can attain that position (much less all his other positions) without being very smart. What transcripts may reveal is that in his writings, he may show more of a far-left bent than people believe he has today.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Not sure about your transcript, but mine has absolutely no "writings" of any kind contained therein.

Regardless, no matter what his world view was as a student, his governance over the last three plus years has been decidedly centrist, often even center-right.

Liberty275 2 years, 3 months ago

Is providing your income tax for some period listed in the constitution as one of the requirements for being president? Do you have to pay a certain amount to be president?

jonas_opines 2 years, 3 months ago

Ha, really? You're going to actually criticize someone Else for mindless name-calling? chuckle

Topple 2 years, 3 months ago

I was 100% sure the first response would be an attack on the source.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Despite their name, they really don't do much news reporting. Their purpose is clearly as rightwing polemicists who play loose with the facts in the rare instances that they bother with facts at all, preferring to make up their own "facts" as they deem necessary. In that respect, they're most similar to the Onion (although much less entertaining.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Labor Day Without Jobs: Exposing the "Job Creator" Fraud by Paul Buchheit

(warning-- contains inconvenient facts for the cheerleaders for plutocracy.)

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/03

Liberty275 2 years, 3 months ago

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/03 commondreams common

I don't want your common dreams. I want my own.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

In other trickling news: "... Known as an advocate of education equality for poor minorities, Democrat Shirley Huntley got hauled away in handcuffs last week and slapped with a 20-count indictment that includes felonies such as tampering with evidence and falsifying business records. Huntley stole nearly $30,000 she steered to a fake charity that claimed to help poor parents navigate the city’s school system, according to the indictment. The 74-year-old state senator named her sham nonprofit Parent Workshop, according to the New York Attorney General’s office. The fake charity claimed to help low-income folks deal with the city’s huge and complicated public school system. Instead, authorities say, the money was pocketed by Huntley’s niece, who served as the group’s treasurer, and another man, who is listed as president. It turns out that Huntley ran for office on both the Democratic and Working Families Party (WFP) tickets, according to New York State election results reviewed by Judicial Watch. This is relevant because the WFP has very close ties to the famously corrupt nonprofit with close ties to President Obama, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). In fact, JW found that the WFP shares office space in Brooklyn with two ACORN spinoffs, New York Communities for Change (NYCC) and the Mutual Housing Association of New York. When ACORN finally got busted for fraud, Congress cut its federal funding (Defund ACORN Act) and the group simply rebranded, creating a series of spinoffs operated by the same crooked people. Read all about it in a Judicial Watch special report born out of an extensive investigation that tracked the group and its affiliated organizations throughout the United States. The probe also revealed that tens of millions of dollars in ACORN’s funds and other assets are still unaccounted for. Additionally, Huntley’s WFP is essentially a political operation of various unions, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In fact, the WFP was co-founded by Patrick Gaspard, the SEIU’s political vice president before moving on the White House and the Democratic National Committee, former ACORN chairwoman Bertha Lewis and two other union bigwigs. Between 2006 and 2010, the SEIU gave $29,000 to Sen. Huntley’s campaign, JW’s probe found..." http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2012/09/indicted-senator-ran-on-acorn-union-ticket/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

"When ACORN finally got busted for fraud, "

Umm, when did this happen?

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 3 months ago

It didn't. Snap just wants to BELIEVE it did because his Bible, Fox Noise, told him it did.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 3 months ago

By the way, Bozo, do a little research on "Judicial Watch". See, I went to his link. All but one of the in-line citations are circular and self linking. This is an IMMEDIATE red flag to me. After doing some more research, I found out that Snopes has cited Judicial Watch numerous times as the source of unfounded rumor and urban myth, especially regarding Democratic and left wing politicians. It receives it's funding from one source (another red flag), a foundation set up by Richard Mellon Scaife. Here's something about Judicial Watch from a REAL news source. http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2010-12-23/news/richard-mellon-scaife-s-cash-pays-for-judicial-watch-s-ideologically-motivated-lawsuits/

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 3 months ago

I think George Will was at one time supposed to fill the void left by William F. Buckley, Jr.

What a disappointment.

At least Buckley was interesting with a substantial intellect whether you agreed with him or not. He always brought something fresh to the conversation.

George makes any light in the room dimmer with his selective memory of facts and history.

Armstrong 2 years, 3 months ago

I would have been impressed if they could have just submitted a budget. 1200 or so days and still counting. Nice Barry, Harry and Nanny.

Topple 2 years, 3 months ago

In other words he doesn't want to admit he's earned an F but is not foolish enough to claim he's done any better than absolute failure. Incomplete leaves the next 4.5 years open if he get's re-elected to say he's earned a passing grade (by his standards).

"Look, Ma! I got a C+ in economics and I only had to retake it three times!"

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 3 months ago

"Every time in this century we've lowered the tax rates across the board, on employment, on saving, investment and risk-taking in this economy, revenues went up, not down." - Jack Kemp.

I would like to know why the National Debt which exploded under Reagan and again under Bush, was never paid back with all of these additional revenues.

Don't tell me it was the Democrats fault.

In my view, Jack Kemp, ex football quarterback and consummate salesman, was no economic genius. He was a snake oil salesman and he sold a ton of snake oil.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

It's looking like the Democrats are bailing out of Bank of America Stadium. Officially they're concerned abou the weather, totally not concerned about how many thousands of empty seats they couldn't fill.

beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

Nope, fake stage props don't always travel well. This could explain why Sarah Palin wasn't invited to Tampa.

beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

No, nothing at all like Hillary. Hillary was never a VP candidate. Hillary is, however, Secretary of State and as such it is customary that someone in that position avoid the party politics of a convention. Palin wasn't invited to her party's convention because she is an embarassment.

However, look for Hillary Clinton to make an appearance in 2016. That is when she is likely to be voted in as President following Obama's second term.

tbaker 2 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Obama is not a leader. He demonstrates this fact almost daily by blaming everything perceived to be bad on someone or something else. He has yet to take responsibility for the many things he and his administration have tried that have failed. Being a buck-stops-here kind of guy and telling the American people that what he has tried hasn’t worked isn’t a good idea politically – I get that – but at least he can stop the cry baby BS and try something new letting his actions speak for themselves about his previous failed approaches. Whether or not he lacks character is something that is hotly debatable I know, but the fact he is in way over his head is painfully obvious.

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

All he has to say is the Reps are telling the American people "You're on your own." And things like "College should be affordable for all." And he'll imply that the wealthy somehow got their wealth through dishonest means. (Sure, some did -- and whoever did should have to answer to the law. Some inherited it. Some are lucky. Most earned it and shouldn't be punished for being successful.) The mood today is Take care of me. I don't care how large or intrusive or over-bearing the Fed govt becomes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

So, you're saying that plutocracy is the natural order, right? The flow of wealth to the wealthy is inevitable, and if you're not wealthy, it's because you are a worthless dweeb, right?

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't agree it's a plutocracy. Obama was very successful in getting donations from non-wealthy individuals. Sure, there are problems with our republic but smaller government is generally better & more fair than bigger govt. Some one who doesnt become wealthy either 1) doesn't work as hard as needed 2) doesn't have the talent needed 3) is unlucky 4) isn't interested in being wealthy. Should wealth be redistributed from those who became wealthy through legal means? Is that fair? Why do so many people around the world want to come to the US if it's so tough to make it?

fiddleback 2 years, 3 months ago

Quantrill's the sort of leader tbaker prefers?

tbaker 2 years, 3 months ago

That has got to be one of the most succinct Ad Hominem attacks I have ever seen employed on this blog. Bravo.

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

The Republicans want to give money to the rich (their constituents) so that their investments will “trickle down” to the rest of us (job creation, products, etc.)

The Democrats want to give tax monies to unions and other loyal constituents so that their spending will "trickle out" to the rest of us (job creation, products, etc.)

So do I want to be rained upon or sprayed with a hose?

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

I think the better question is which do you think will actually help the economy as a whole?

"trickle up/out" seems more promising than "trickle down" to me.

Trumbull 2 years, 3 months ago

Another propaganda piece from George. One or two quotes from President Obama, the rest..........speculative garbage invented by the writer. Just like the Gotcha editorial claims in the LJW printed version.

I wonder if the George Will's of the world actually help newspapers sell or turns readers away in disgust in the long run.

Trumbull 2 years, 3 months ago

Jettisoning the label “liberal” was an act not just of self-preservation, considering the damage liberals had done to the word, but also of semantic candor: The noble liberal tradition was about liberty — from oppressive kings, established churches and aristocracies. For progressives, as liberals now call themselves, liberty has value, when it has value, only instrumentally — only to the extent that it serves progress, as they restlessly redefine this over time.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 3 months ago

Romney needs to release his tax returns to put the questions about his to bed once and for all.

We know he is rich and pays a rate lower than most Americans.

Why does he refuse to release his returns? What is he hiding?

His lack of transparency is troubling.

Armstrong 2 years, 3 months ago

Yeah we know, this is about the 300th post of yours regarding Romney's tax returns.Give it a rest.

beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

But that isn't his plan. You are pulling an Eastwood by talking about imaginary Obama again.

I think you do better when you defend transfering money to off-shore accounts and presidential candidates not releasing their past income taxes.

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Well legal actions taken by private individuals is one thing. How you spend my money is another. How do we pay for his trillion dollar annual imbalance?

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 3 months ago

And what happens if no one has the money to buy the products being produced? You can have warehouses full of products but if the manufacturer doesn't pay the labor that produced it a living wage so that they can BUY that product then the economy tanks. Even Henry Ford, who was the biggest &^%$#@* that ever walked the face of the planet and a bosom buddy of Papa Koch, knew that.

Windemere 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes, Henry ford, worse than hitler. It's common knowledge.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't think Will knows what "trickle down" means.

Let me Google that for you. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=trickle+down+economics

Currently the Republican plan lowers taxes on the wealthy relative to the middle class and that is the nature of "trickle down". BTW, it was a failure the last time we tried it.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 3 months ago

I'd like to see what the poll questions were first. According to the ABC News web site: "Just 47 percent of registered voters rate Obama "favorably," while 49 percent of respondents rate him unfavorably, the poll found. The good news for Obama is that Republican rival Mitt Romney did even worse in a similar poll last week. Among all Americans, 40 percent now see Romney favorably, 47 percent unfavorably. " Looks to me like whoever they polled, with whatever questions they used, voters still prefer Obama to Romney.

beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

"Does this mean women will stop fainting now?"

No. Plenty of women will still faint when they read the GOP platform and the plans the team led by Ryan and Romney have for control over women's health and women's bodies.

Regarding Obama's unfavorable rating, this must mean Romney will be a shoe-in. I mean, how could a fresh face with new ideas possibly lose to someone so completely disliked as President Obama? Well ... unless that fresh face were to pursue the same failed policies of the previous administration that led to economic meltdown in the first place while simultaneously avoiding any mention of his own accomplishments while in his one term as governor.

Not caring enough about our troops to even mention their sacrifices WHILE WE ARE STILL AT WAR might also turn some people against him. His greater concern for his corporate buddies and making sure that billionaires are given still further tax cuts might even turn more people away. Then there are the millions of people he intends to strip from having access to health care is bound to turn even more people off.

You see, it doesn't matter if the negative views for Obama are at 50% if the negative views about Romney are even higher.

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Throwing soldiers with three combat tours into a job market with no jobs is not exactly a way to show love for the troops! Cutting Defense has become a chant rather than considered national policy

Commenting has been disabled for this item.