[I]t is with regret that I now worry that he may be deepening what looks more and more like a depression and may engineer so much spending, debt, and government control of the economy as to leave most Americans permanently less prosperous and less free. . .There's much more. Read the whole thing. I agree with The Corner's Mark Steyn that "Obama's priority is not the restoration of the economy but, as he says, the 'remaking of America.'" Also known as class warfare.
[W]ith the nation already plunging deep into probably necessary debt to rescue the crippled financial system and stimulate the economy, Obama's proposals for many hundreds of billions in additional spending on universal health care, universal postsecondary education, a massive overhaul of the energy economy, and other liberal programs seem grandiose and unaffordable.
With little in the way of offsetting savings likely to materialize, the Obama agenda would probably generate trillion-dollar deficits with no end in sight, or send middle-class taxes soaring to record levels, or both.
All this from a man who told the nation last week that he doesn't "believe in bigger government" and who promised tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans.
The president's suggestions that all the necessary tax increases can be squeezed out of the richest 2 percent are deceptive and likely to stir class resentment. And his apparent cave-ins to liberal interest groups may change the country for the worse.
Such concerns may help explain why the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 17 percent from the morning of Inauguration Day (8,280) to its close on March 4 (6,876). The markets have also been deeply shaken by Obama's alarming failure to come up with a clear plan for fixing the crippled financial system -- which has loomed since his election four months ago as by far his most urgent challenge -- or for working with foreign leaders to arrest the meltdown of the world economy.
The house is burning down. It's no time to be watering the grass.
This is not to deny that the liberal wish list in Obama's staggering $3.6 trillion budget would be wonderful if we had limitless resources. But in the real world, it could put vast areas of the economy under permanent government mismanagement, kill millions of jobs, drive investors and employers overseas, and bankrupt the nation.
For the most positive spin, see Peter Wehner in Commentary last week:
The President, facing an economic crisis that demanded action (particularly in the realm of our financial system and credit flow), used this opportunity to attempt a staggering power grab by the federal government. His plans would enlarge its reach and scope beyond anything in our lifetime. And so Barack Obama — supremely ambitious, young, and new — has revived an age-old debate over how the economy works. He is casting his lot with collectivists and statists; his intent is to put us on a glide path to European-style socialism. Unless he is able to suspend the laws of economics, I rather doubt Obama will succeed. As a result, he may end up not repudiating Thatcherism and Reaganism, but revivifying them.