Will Obama change his mind philosophically?


With unemployment remaining in the nine percent stratosphere, some are wondering if President Barack Obama will change some of his policies to encourage growth in the private sector and in the economy. Answer: he’s a Keynesian and a liberal. Imagine, if you will, that your most heartfelt philosophy showed signs of being ineffective. What would you do? Would you end it all and say, “Okay, my theory has not worked. Sorry fellas. Let’s try the other guys’ philosophy for a while.” Pragmatic types might say yes. Pragmatic types might be willing to say, I’ll try anything that works. Pragmatic types would tell you that you have to remove ego when it comes to problem solving. Pragmatic types usually don’t go to Washington.

Obama didn’t get into this game to see if his theories might work. He wanted to change America. “We’ve tried “their” ideas,” candidate Obama said, “and they haven’t worked.” What Obama didn’t dare say on that campaign trail was, why don’t we try massive spending, massive regulation, and massive government for a while? Why don’t we see if these actions can spur the economy and restart economic growth from the bottom up? We’ve tried capitalism and the free market, Obama said without saying those actual words, why don’t we try something different?

Two and a half years in, and the numbers are abysmal. I know, I know, it’s Bush fault, but why haven’t we seen improvement? Why have all of the economic indicators gone down when they should’ve gone up and down when they should’ve gone up? If the Keynesian philosophy was such a solid theory, shouldn’t we have seen some improvement by now…two and a half years in.

Such dismal numbers might have a pragmatic type either trying something different or going home with their tails between their legs. Obama has selected answer C: double down.

He said, “I will most likely run again, but only because I would hate to see someone like Romney get the credit for all the work we’ve done here.” This quote should put to rest any notion that Obama will one day see the light and see that his version of Keynesian economics does not work. He believes this stuff. He’s been sitting in enough classrooms throughout his life to know it will work…eventually…trillions of dollars later…in a future economic cycle…we just need to give it more time. He’s never seen his theory fail…in theory. In theory, his philosophy sounds wonderful. In theory, he believes that with enough money, enough regulation on business, and enough government, jobs will eventually be created and the economy will recover

Ronald Reagan, as we all know, had to suffer through some economic cycles before his vision could see fruition. He had to sit through the coattails of the inept and embarrassing Carter agenda for his economic visions to take hold in the economy. Is it Obama’s belief that such a swing will occur once the Bush administration agenda eventually begins to lose influence in the economy? The difference is that throughout Reagan’s administration we saw upticks and incremental improvements. Throughout the Obama administration’s run, thus far, we have seen all of the economic indicators slope downwards.

Obama’s answer, to all that ailed us, was the renewable energy market. “We’ll create 5 million new, high-wage jobs by investing in the renewable sources of energy that will eliminate the oil we currently import from the Middle East in 10 years, and we’ll create 2 million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, schools, and bridges,” candidate Barack Obama told voters. “It is time to protect the jobs we have and to create the jobs of tomorrow.”

On paper, and again in theory, this looks like an ingenious plan. The renewable energy market looks like an untapped market. If you watch Oliver Stone’s most recent Wall Street movie, you will believe that it is the young geniuses that are suggesting to the old fogies of the world that renewable energies is the future. If you listen to the mainstream media and this administration, you will likely believe that there is no downside in exploring this venture to its fullest capacity. Well, there is one downside: it may never happen. These renewable and clean energies may never replace oil in efficiency, consistency, cost, and availability.

If the renewable energy market was effective, profitable, and capable of replacing oil in our economy “if we would only devote enough effort and finances to it,” it would’ve been tapped decades ago. How much money did T. Boone Pickens pour into renewable energy sources in an altruistic effort to be a pioneer in the industry? After repeated efforts and millions spent on advertising, Pickens gave up on the idea citing difficulties with financing and wind transmission lines. Well, then, it must be a government conspiracy, say advocates searching for answers to the failure. It must be something from the Bush administration.

Throughout his presidency, George W. Bush sent billions to help the renewable energy cause. Advocates of the cause say that his heart wasn’t in the right place, and they question his motives, Bush was an oil man after all, but the bottom line is that he gave the industry billions, and we saw little in the way of results for his generosity with our money. Transferring our energy dependency to renewal, clean energy is a wonderful idea on paper, and in theory, but as we’ve seen so far it’s not exactly feasible, and we shouldn’t be focusing our current tumultuous economy and ineffective job creation efforts on it.

And if one listens to the Washington politicians, you know that they’re all about job creation. Any time a crisis abates, Washingtonians say, ‘we can now get back to the job of creating jobs, the job Americans elected us to do.’ But White House spokesman Jay Carney slipped up recently when he said, “We don’t create jobs here.” Oh, ok, we didn’t know that, because we’ve been listening to Obama, Pelosi, Schumer, Durbin, Reid, Dodd and Frank tell us that they’re all about creating and saving jobs. If that’s not the case, what have they been doing down there? “The government, together — White House, Congress — creates policies that allow for greater job creation,” Carney furthered.

Anyone else think that that pregnant pause, after the word ‘together’, could’ve been filed with the words ‘private sector’? Relax Obama fans, Carney caught himself before saying it. Shoof! Travesty averted.

This administration does acknowledge the role of the private sector when they need an excuse for the vulnerability of the economy. When unemployment numbers remain above nine percent, regardless of the ammunition they put to it, they’ll bring up the private sector and say there’s only so much of the economy they can control. So, if it’s impossible for you to control certain factors of the economy, why do you bottle those ‘factors beyond your control’ up?

And what part of massive spending, massive regulation on private business, and massive government intervention (Dodd, Frank) is meant to ‘create policies that allow for job creation’? And what happened to tapping the renewable energy market for jobs? I haven’t heard every word the administration has said on the subject, but it appears that they have totally given up on the idea that the renewable energy market will save them in unemployment figures and overall growth of the economy?

We hired a man for president with no experience in the business world (because big business is evil) to help us reinvigorate our economy, because we’ve tried it “their” way, and it hasn’t worked. We hired a man who felt like he was “working behind enemy lines” during his brief stint in the private sector, and we hired a man who has so little in common with the private sector that he has the lowest percentage of private sector cabinet members than any administration in the history of our country. But we wanted to go with this guy, because he had new ideas that have been tried hundreds of times, over the course of hundreds of years, and has failed every time it’s been tried. We wanted to get rid of the covert government to replace it with a government that ended up being covert. We hired a man who had an idea of hope and change. Many of us didn’t know the extent of that idea, but it sounded wonderful to them. The question is what do you do when it turns out those ideas aren’t working? A better question might be what if you’ve never known failure? What if your ideas have never been tried out in the real world, and the only validation, or evaluation, your ideas have ever received is from other theoreticians that think you’re just wonderful?

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2 thoughts on “Will Obama change his mind philosophically?

  1. Great post. I agree with a lot of the sentiment that the theoretical strength of the current economic philosophy employed in Washington has not (nor in history) panned out to actually produce results. If people truly want the message of change that Obama ran on, perhaps we need to look elsewhere than Keynesian economics that got us into this mess. Its like repeatedly taking medicine that makes us sicker.

    One critique I have for this post is the focus on democrats. Both parties in recent years are guilty of subscribing to this Keynesian approach involving a bigger government with more involvement in seemingly everything. When Bush was president we saw needless military action and a massive expansion of the government (think Department of Homeland Security). The recent history of republicans reveals that they have only given lip service to the principles of small government. The frustration in this article should not just be aimed at democrats but also republicans.

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  2. Excellent critique. I was not a fan of the Bush expansion policies. I did agree with the creation of the Homeland Security department, but I have begun to see the light on that issue. I agree with your ‘lip service’ comment, and that breaks my heart a little to admit. I also agree that Republicans have contributed to this debacle, but the Democrats deserve the lion’s share of the blame. They were in charge of the purse strings between ’06 and ’10, and a majority of the current debacle occurred in those four years. Plus, Obama has tripled down on all of Bush’s expansions.

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