Change we can believe in?


With the media fawning over Barack Obama, there has been remarkably little analysis of the policies that will define his leadership. This has been surprising because if he makes it to the White House, his agenda for change is profoundly radical. Change that, if his campaign rhetoric is to be believed, may be nothing less than a reversion to the policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Pete du Pont in the Wall Street Journal offers a worrying synthesis of what Obama will bring to the table:

  • Protectionism will become national trade policy; free trade agreements with other nations will be reduced and limited.
  • Income taxes will rise on middle- and upper-income people and businesses, and individuals will pay much higher Social Security taxes, all to carry out the new president's goals of "spreading the wealth around."
  • Federal government spending will substantially increase. The new Obama proposals come to more than $300 billion annually, for education, health care, energy, environmental and many other programs, in addition to whatever is needed to meet US economic challenges. Mr. Obama proposes more than a 10% annual spending growth increase, considerably higher than under the first President Bush (6.7%), Bill Clinton (3.3%) or George W. Bush (6.4%).
  • Federal regulation of the economy will expand, on everything from financial management companies to electricity generation and personal energy use.
  • The power of labor unions will substantially increase, beginning with repeal of secret ballot voting to decide on union representation.
  • Free speech will be curtailed through the reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine to limit the conservative talk radio that irritates the liberal establishment.

This is not the kind of change of that any right thinking person should believe in. Indeed, one can only hope that many of his pledges are simply cynical electioneering. It is a shame that Obama’s policies are so bad; politics aside he comes across as the kind of bloke to have a beer with. But as we have seen, that is probably not the best method of choosing a President.