On Oct. 30, 2008, candidate Barack Obama told supporters, "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." Many thought it was just rhetoric. Today, they know better.
Capitalism, free markets, free enterprise all are on life-support and fading fast.
Government is taking over, and the economy is tanking. The nation's Gross Domestic Product is down. Unemployment is up. Food stamp rolls are soaring. The national debt is skyrocketing.
Sane people fret. Credit rating companies re-evaluate. And our politicians well, a lot of them are running in circles while Obama, ears covered, continues to transform the country.
He's pushing an agenda that even his own party can't swallow, let along stomach. The Senate rejected his 2012 budget 97-0, and his 2013 budget crashed and burned on a vote of 99-0.
The cornerstones of the president's economic policies are "fairness" and "sharing." He's using his power to expand the redistribution of wealth - yours and mine - to folks who are less well off. It's only "fair," he tells us. In Obama's world, America is a land of equal outcomes, not equal opportunity,
The rub, of course, is that his policies create disincentives on both sides of the equation. The wealthy are discouraged from working hard and accumulating stuff because government confiscates more when they do, and the recipients are discouraged from working hard and trying to accumulate stuff because they do just fine on government handouts.
Obama is similarly obsessed with energy/climate change and with health care.
The nation runs on fossil fuels, and like it or not, we remain dependent on coal, oil and natural gas. But Obama and his supporters hate coal, dislike oil and aren't that crazy about natural gas. They want "green energy." Now.
So rather than allowing the free market to dictate change and its pace, the administration is force-feeding us with regulations and costly "green energy" projects.
The results? Failures, bankruptcies and economic dislocation. If you held one of the 5,000 coal industry jobs that were lost in West Virginia last year, you know about economic dislocation.
Health care is another case. The free market, pre-Obama, was dysfunctional in some respects, thanks mainly to government stupidity, so Obama set out to fix the system.
Democrats drafted a plan while Republicans sat with their faces hanging out, and after much persuasion (gentle and otherwise) by the president, we wound up with Obamacare.
Trouble is, the system established by Obama to control our health care is already falling apart and it's not even fully implemented. It's a fine kettle of fish.
What's going on? Here's a theory:
Obama is using the mess left by President George W. Bush as cover to create even more chaos (by executive order, if necessary), thereby making conditions ripe for "fundamentally transforming the United States of America." What's more, he's using President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal as his roadmap.
The New Deal was a mix of programs, regulations and deficit spending that was supposed to bring the country out of the Great Depression of the '30s. We now know that it was a witch's brew. It actually extended the Depression and made citizens more dependent on government.
Lewis W. Douglas, Roosevelt's first budget director, recognized the New Deal for what it was and resigned after only a year. He then began speaking out. In an address at Harvard in1935, he asked somewhat prophetically:
"Will we choose to subject ourselves - this great country - to the despotism of bureaucracy, controlling our every act, destroying what equality we have attained, reducing us eventually to the condition of impoverished slaves of the state? Or will we cling to the liberties for which man has struggled for more than a thousand years?"
Regrettably, the people of the '30s chose the despotism of bureaucracy. Now it's our turn to choose. Will we make the same mistake? We'll see.
George Moore is a retired journalist. Positions he's held during his 35-year career include newspaper reporter, editor and publisherand executive director of the MontanaNewspaper Association. He and his wife, Marilyn, reside in Randolph County.