The term “liberal” was classically used, in the era when our Constitution was framed, to describe someone who believed in limited government, low tax rates, light regulation and individual freedom. Around the time of Woodrow Wilson, the word “liberal” was co-opted by the emerging left, which promised a new era of government controlled by benevolent, intelligent technocrats. These neoliberal politicians and functionaries would be the best and brightest among us. They would be graduates from the finest universities. They saw an ever-expanding government as the solution to all societal problems and claimed that they, and they alone, could make government work in an effective and efficient manner.
President Barack Obama and his fellow modern neoliberals promise that higher taxes, deficit spending and redistribution of wealth strengthen our economy. They profess that centralized government command and control of major economic sectors are keys to fairness and prosperity. And since they believe that America and its military have been the greatest force of evil in human history, they believe our retreat from the international stage would make the world a much happier and safer place. All of these promises have been broken.
Obama has increased our national debt by $7.4 trillion in six years. The Heritage Foundation reports that the Federal Reserve has added an additional $3.4 trillion to its balance sheet since December 2008. This combined $10.8 trillion of government stimulus amounts to $34,800 per American citizen and has rendered the weakest economic recovery in modern history.
The federal government has 126 programs that send out more than 80 million income transfer payments per month that support 151 million Americans. According to Investors.com, 70 percent of all federal spending is simple income redistribution. What is the result of this largesse? The U.S. labor participation rate is the lowest since 1978, while the U-6 unemployment rate stands at 11 percent. According to Pew, median household income has declined 5 percent while the median net worth of black families has declined by 34 percent since 2008.
Our national net worth hovers around $85 trillion. Forbes reports that neoliberal entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and federal employee retirement commitments have left us with $127 trillion in unfunded liabilities, enough to fill 1,655 Wal-Marts 20 feet high with dollar bills.
Obamanomics has been an interesting experiment in long-term Keynesian economics and a spectacular failure.
What of centralized command and control of major economic sectors?
Health care: Neoliberals claim they can deliver state-run health care to our population of 310 million people. The Veterans Health Administration only serves 9.1 million people, but it reported on Dec. 27 that the current backlog for veteran benefit claims exceeds 519,000.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was sold to the American people based upon a series of broken promises, to wit: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” “If you like you like your insurer, you can keep your insurer,” “Your insurance premiums will decrease by $2,500” and “Obamacare will create jobs.” And recall that the Affordable Care Act rollout in 2013 was a cataclysmic failure.
Banking: Dodd-Frank codifies “too big to fail,” exactly what we were told it would eliminate. It also reduces the viability of smaller community banks.
Energy: The Green Corruption Files claim that some 59 “green energy” companies (such as Solyndra) funded by the government are in or on the verge of bankruptcy.
The president’s meandering foreign policy has been a complete Sandra-cluster-Fluke. His failure to honor his own “red line” in Syria has opened Pandora’s Box as bad actors around the globe act out with impunity.
His decision not to attain a status-of-forces agreement in Iraq led directly to the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
A revanchist Vladimir Putin has co-opted large swaths of Ukraine. Estonia and the remainder of Georgia are next. According to The Washington Post, Russian military aircraft incursions over European airspace have increased threefold since 2013.
China is expanding its military influence in the Pacific by building military bases in Japanese and Vietnamese territories.
The terrorist state of Iran is on the verge of attaining a thermonuclear weapon.
Investors Business Daily reports that while the world burns, Obama has so drastically cut the military budget that we now have the smallest army since 1940, the smallest navy since 1915 and the smallest air force in our history.
The promise of neoliberalism is that an ever-expanding, centralized federal government can serve all of our needs in a just and fair manner, yet neoliberals can’t even manage the government they have already built. Neoliberalsism is a failed philosophy because it is built upon the flawed premise that human nature is tractable, that all we need to perfect mankind is the exact right policy regime along with enlightened leadership and, of course, ever-more money
It’s time to Think Again.
Russ Andrews wrote the Think Again column this week while Melanie Sturm is out on vacation.
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