“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person.” — Bill Clinton
Nearly every time President Obama delivers a speech about the economy or jobs, something bad happens. His speech to Congress last Thursday night is the latest example. The next day, the Dow Jones Industrial Averages plunged 303 points, a decline replicated in other indexes in the U.S. and overseas.
This president is such a prisoner of his leftist ideology he seems incapable of pulling a Clinton and triangulating to get something done that motivates the private sector to hire workers and spur economic growth.
How many more of these speeches must we endure before everyone realizes his ideas and proposals aren't working? Repeatedly in his Thursday speech the president appealed to Congress to "pass" his "jobs bill." From the White House Rose Garden on Monday, he announced that the bill was on its way to Congress. Let the political posturing begin!
The president claimed to have signed within a month of taking office "the biggest middle-class tax cut in history." Washington Post's Fact Checker columnist Glenn Kessler called his claim "ridiculous." Kessler gave him four Pinocchios, his highest award for dissembling.
The president's approval numbers continue to fall because the public is slowly getting it. In 2009, in another speech, the president promised his stimulus policies would create 3 to 4 million new jobs by the end of 2010. They haven't come close. In fact, jobs were lost, leaving a net deficit of 6.7 millions jobs since the recession began, according to Heritage Foundation calculations and U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.
President Obama is like a lost man who refuses to ask for directions. That's because he has never worked in the real world with people who create real jobs. He operates on theories and an ideology that is incapable of achieving his goals.
Example: He speaks mostly of redistributing wealth, not creating wealth. He wants us to hate the wealth creators, rather than follow their example. The result has been a growing dependency on government, robbing too many of their liberty and opportunity.
Like the floodwaters that have devastated the northeast, the federal government has overrun its constitutional limits. It should not be spending and borrowing more, but less.
The biggest contributor to economic uncertainty is Obamacare. Businesses don't know what their costs will be and so some are either getting waivers (if they are politically friendly to the administration), or ending private insurance for their employees.
Ask yourself: If the federal government has made such a mess of Medicare and Medicaid (not to mention stretching Social Security to the breaking point) what reasonable hope is there that it will do better with an even larger national health care monstrosity? One might as well spring Bernie Madoff from prison and put him in charge of stock portfolios.
There was a time in America not too long ago when people mostly looked out for themselves and their relatives. Parents cared for their children when they were little and the children returned the favor when their parents got old. Now we dump the kids in day care and they return the favor by dumping their elderly parents in nursing homes. The Fifth Commandment about honoring your mother and father was once taken seriously. Now it's the government's responsibility because too many think we are constitutionally mandated to be free of "burdens."
If we want government to become smaller and perform within its constitutional boundaries, we are going to have to expect less from it and more from ourselves. President Obama understands none of this because others have largely aided him throughout his life and unremarkable pre-presidential career. He has great form, but little substance, except his failed ideology. The tragedy is he has learned nothing from failure.
If the wisdom of Bill Clinton isn't sufficient for him, here's Sophocles, who wrote in "Antigone," "All men may err; but he that keepeth not his folly, but repenteth, doeth well; but stubbornness cometh to great trouble."
Email nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.