September 7, 2011

SADLY FOR HIM, DEMOCRACY IS THRIVING:

Obama's Economic Trifecta: How The President Helped Kill Progressivism, Capitalism And Moderation (Joel Kotkin 09/06/2011, New Geography)

Progressivism's golden day seemed to have arrived with Obama's election. But the progressivism embraced by the president was not the middle-class-oriented, growth-inducing kind associated with previous Democrats. Instead, Obama's progressivism was shaped by his fellow academics, who have enjoyed unprecedented influence in this administration, as well as closely aligned classes such as affluent greens, urban land interests, venture capitalists and the mainstream media.

Expressing the world view of the well-heeled, Obama's progressivism did not focus on class mobility and economic growth. The old progressivism's program was bold and opportunity-oriented: increasing energy supplies (think Tennessee Valley Authority) and encouraging industrial growth through building critical new infrastructure.

Obama's stimulus did not seek to increase productivity capacity or create good blue-collar jobs. It largely missed the recession's biggest victims: minorities, the working class and the young who are well represented of the 1 in 5 Americans now not working. The president instead chose to service the needs of organized constituencies such as public sector unions, large research universities and "green capitalists."

The tragedy is that Obama could have done things differently. [...]

These failures have downgraded the chances for another big stimulus -- the prescription most favored on the left -- to all but impossible. But left-wing ideology hasn't been Obama's only victim; he has also delivered a body blow to the ethos of capitalism itself. For decades conservatives have preached that if we made capital available through a soaring stock market, business would then spend its bounty by reinvesting in the country's productive capacity. Yet even as the market boomed over the past two years, very little has reached Main Street businesses faced with middle-income customers too skittish to buy their goods and services.

Obama's most recent fetish, moderation, also is proving something of a bust. Anxious not to be labeled anti-business, he has surrounded himself not with entrepreneurs but consummate crony capitalists -- chief of staff Bill Daley (scion of the Chicago machine family), General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt and proposed Commerce Chief John Bryson, who has spent much time as a master manipulator for a large regulated utility. These figures have little or no credibility among grassroots businesspeople. They are seen as being more adept at working the system than succeeding in the free market. If this is what moderation is about, the public has good reason not to trust it.

So having downgraded progressivism, capitalism and even moderation, Obama's remaining hope lies in two things: the intrinsic strengths of the U.S. economy and the well-demonstrated ineptitude of his political rivals.


Posted by at September 7, 2011 6:54 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« WHY DID THE REPUBLICAN HAVE TO WEAR THE PANTS?: | Main | THE ONE GOOD THING ABOUT EUROPE...: »