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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

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President Obama is trying to turn back the clock to statism, says Victor Davis Hanson. The word he uses is "reactionary." 

 

Barack Obama is the most reactionary president in the recent history of the United States. Obama seems intent on turning back the clock to the good old days of the 1960s and 1970s, when rigid political orthodoxy, not an open mind, once guided government.

Take the economy. The 1980s implosion of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union proved that state control of the means of production guaranteed poverty and worse. The current insolvent and fragmenting European Union, and the stagnant economics of the exploding Middle East, remind us that state socialism does not work.

Why, then, would Obama, in horse-and-buggy fashion, go back to such fossilized concepts as absorbing the nation's health care system, increasing the federal government's role in the economy by taking over automobile corporations, borrowing $5 trillion to spend on new entitlements, or proposing an array of much higher taxes -- all in a vain effort to ensure an equality of result?

Almost every key indicator of the current economy -- unemployment, deficits, housing, energy -- argues that Obama's reactionary all-powerful statist approach has only made things far worse.

In a bygone era without full workers' compensation, unemployment insurance and overtime pay, big unions ran the United States. Today less than 7 percent of Americans belong to them.

Yet President Obama wants to block the Boeing aircraft company from opening an assembly plant in South Carolina, on the grounds that it is a right-to-work state and new assembly workers might be free to reject union representation. The administration is now allowing union-backed Democrats in Congress to block free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea in order to limit competition with domestic unionized industries.

Apparently the decades-old idea that globalized free trade encourages competition, enhances productivity, lowers prices for strapped consumers and helps developing nations never existed.

Obama is still bragging about massive federal subsidies to the wind and solar power industries, while making it nearly impossible to obtain new leases for fossil fuel exploration. Yet for all the billions spent, the percentage of new energy produced by subsidized high-cost "green" projects has not changed much.

Meanwhile, revolutionary breakthroughs in the exploration for and recovery of natural gas, oil, tar sands, shale oil and coal deposits in just a year or two have vastly expanded the nation's fossil fuel reserves and the ability to produce clean energy from them.

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