TSW #24

Nile Gardiner, The Telegraph, September 27:

The United States is undergoing one of the biggest political revolutions in its post-war history, and perhaps the most important since Ronald Reagan, with an emphatic rejection of the idea that government knows best when it comes to handling key domestic issues, especially relating to the economy. President Obama, whose administration has practically worshipped at the trough of big government, looks spectacularly out of touch with a clear majority of the American people. The highly interventionist liberal experiment of the last two and a half years has been a spectacular failure, with 14 million Americans out of work, sliding consumer confidence, collapsing house prices, and falling stock markets.

This is why Barack Obama could well end up being the last big government president of the United States, a nation that simply cannot afford the lavish excesses of an imperious presidency that drains the pay-checks of hard-working Americans with impunity and reckless abandon. The historic loss of faith in the federal government under Obama has combined with growing support across America for a return to the limited government ideals of the Founding Fathers. Nothing is ever certain in politics, but it is hard to see how a future president can shamelessly adopt the same borrow, bailout and spend approach zealously adopted by the current administration, without extremely damaging consequences for the United States.

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This is what passes for analysis on the horse’s-ass right. Gardiner has advanced degrees in history from Oxford and Yale, which speaks poorly for both institutions. Far from knowing anything about history, he doesn’t even have a clear recollection of the 1980s.

The “borrow, bailout and spend” approach wouldn’t have been necessary had George Bush the Lesser, a “leader” greatly admired by Gardiner, not left the economy in shambles. Let me rephrase, accurately, the argument Gardiner is trying to make here: letting the banks and car companies fail would somehow have reduced unemployment, bolstered consumer confidence, increased house prices, and pumped up the stock market. A laissez-faire approach would have cured the economy from what ails it, despite the fact that it was just such an approach that caused the recession in the first place.

The implicit contrast with Reagan is especially risible, what with Good Ol’ Dutch having more than tripled the national debt over his two terms. In Gardiner’s upside-down universe, though, it’s President Obama (who fought for and successfully enacted the largest tax cut in the nation’s history) who “drains the pay-checks of hard-working Americans with impunity and reckless abandon.” Absolutely unreal.