As he so often does, Thomas Sowell pegs the Obama administration precisely.
Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?Sadly, there are many who envisioned just this sort of thing one year ago, and much that is still to come. Even sadder, they were largely ignored by all but a small percentage of voters and commentators.
Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers-- that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?
Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn't know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?
Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government-- people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America's influence in the world.
Just to give a putrid taste of the thrills-to-be not yet fully rehearsed:
- 1. Cap and Trade is just getting warmed up in Congress and Obama is fully behind it. The EPA is already working to hobble the coal business even further.
2. The discussions of tightening regulations on finance-related businesses is, so far, flying mostly under the radar. Here's a small sampling from Treasury Sec. Geithner and Lawrence 'tax 'em more than they own' Summers, Director of the National Economic Council:
The administration's plan will impose robust reporting requirements on the issuers of asset-backed securities; reduce investors' and regulators' reliance on credit-rating agencies; and, perhaps most significant, require the originator, sponsor or broker of a securitization to retain a financial interest in its performance.Once health care/insurance is socialized still further (which is likely even if the current bills are not passed), this will take center stage. Or, should I say, it will take the center ring in the thirty-three ring circus more commonly known as the Federal Government.
The plan also calls for harmonizing the regulation of futures and securities, and for more robust safeguards of payment and settlement systems and strong oversight of "over the counter" derivatives. All derivatives contracts will be subject to regulation, all derivatives dealers subject to supervision, and regulators will be empowered to enforce rules against manipulation and abuse.
Third, our current regulatory regime does not offer adequate protections to consumers and investors. Weak consumer protections against sub-prime mortgage lending bear significant responsibility for the financial crisis. The crisis, in turn, revealed the inadequacy of consumer protections across a wide range of financial products -- from credit cards to annuities.
3. TARP II is being floated as a trial balloon, even though it's now widely acknowledged that the money was wasted and will probably never be paid back. Some form of this Keynesian debacle will make it back into Congressional awareness in the next year or so. It has to, from their perspective, since employment figures are still headed south.
Those don't even touch on foreign policy issues, such as the way Obama is doing everything possible to lose the conflict in Afghanistan without losing any chance of re-election. And, with respect to Iran, he said recently, "I'm not interested in victory. I'm interested in resolving the problem."
Just a few of the many delights that freedom lovers can look forward to shaking their heads about in the next year. But neither the eminent Mr. Sowell nor anyone else paying attention need be surprised. (I'm sure he wasn't.) This is exactly what to expect when Progressives take power, and the exact reason they should never be allowed any influence whatever in the political system.