MESSAGE OF DISMAY
“As 2009 opened, three weeks before Barack Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9,034 on January 2, its highest level since the autumn panic. [On Monday] the Dow fell another 4.24 percent to 6,763, for an overall decline of 25 percent in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama’s policies have become part of the economy’s problem,” the Wall Street Journal said March 3 in an editorial.
“Americans have welcomed the Obama era in the same spirit of hope the President campaigned on. But after five weeks in office, it’s become clear that Mr. Obama’s policies are slowing, if not stopping, what would otherwise be the normal process of economic recovery,” the newspaper said. “From punishing business to squandering scarce national public resources, Team Obama is creating more uncertainty and less confidence — and thus a longer period of recession or subpar growth. ...
“So what has happened in the last two months? The economy has received no great new outside shock. Exchange rates and other prices have been stable, and there are no security crises of note. The reality of a sharp recession has been known and built into stock prices since last year’s fourth quarter.
“What is new is the unveiling of Mr. Obama’s agenda and his approach to governance. Every new president has a finite stock of capital — financial and political — to deploy, and amid recession Mr. Obama has more than most. But one negative revelation has been the way he has chosen to spend his scarce resources on income transfers rather than growth promotion. Most of his ‘stimulus’ spending was devoted to social programs, rather than public works, and nearly all of the tax cuts were devoted to income maintenance rather than to improving incentives to work or invest. ...
“The market has notably plunged since Mr. Obama introduced his budget last week, and that should be no surprise. The document was a declaration of hostility toward capitalists across the economy.” each other, and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new. ...
“Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderateconservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.” Obama’s plans to hike income taxes on the most wealthy 2 or 3 percent of the nation. He’s not just raising the top rate to 39.6 percent; he’s also disallowing about onethird of top earners’ deductions, whether for state and local taxes, charitable contributions or mortgage interest. This is an effective hike in their taxes by an average of about 20 percent,” the writers said.
“And soon the next shoe will drop — he’ll announce that he’s keeping yet another of his campaign promises: to apply the full payroll tax to all income over $250,000 a year. (Right now, the 15.3 percent Social Security tax only applies to the first $106,800 of income — you neither pay the tax on income above that, nor accumulate added benefit.) For many taxpayers in this bracket, this hike will raise their total taxes by about half.
“Finally, he’s declaring war on investors by raising the capitalgains-tax rate to 20 percent.”
Other side of the Obama coin? President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, while President Obama has declared a War on Prosperity, says a column in the New York Post.