Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another Progressive President Will Be a Failure by Another Name

Many on the left are disappointed by Barack Obama's presidential performance.  Socialist Bernie Sanders now calls for a "progressive" candidate to compete with Obama from within the Democratic Party.  But it wasn't so long ago that all the progressives were chanting "change" and goosestepping behind their Fuhrer. Sanders and his fellow progressives do not know where the term progressive comes from or why Obama certainly is a Progressive, like it or not. They do know that his health care plan is a ludicrous bust, a sop to the insurance industry, that Obama has never seen an oil company whom he did not dream of subsidizing, and that his foreign policy is confused.  But they cannot figure out why Obama has failed them.

The truth is that Progressivism has repeatedly failed because the American economy is too big and too complex to manage from the center, and the heart of Progressivism from the beginning has been the idea that the economy must be managed from the center. It has nothing else to offer beside that tired, stale, failed idea. So there is little about it that's progressive in ordinary English.

Progressivism was a Republican ideology, created by the founders of The New Republic Magazine, among others, and led politically by Theodore Roosevelt.  Although historians claim that there is a distinction between Progressivism and the New Deal (and today's progressivism), in fact there is none.  Theodore Roosevelt enunciated most of the New Deal and the Great Society programs in his speeches. The first national health care bill was proposed right after World War I.

Progressivism has failed because special interest groups manipulate the democratic process. The costliness of information and the complexity of law make it difficult to pass fair laws that do not favor special interest groups.  Thus, the advocates of "progressivism" grievously erred with respect to Obama, whom they did not understand--all those Obama stickers on the bumpers of the progressives in Woodstock, NY. Progressives will continue to err with respect to any candidate whom they scrape up.  Let's look at their recent history: Lyndon Banes Johnson, the worst president in history; Jimmy Carter; Barack Obama, the fourth worst.

The Wall Street-friendly legacy media and the Democratic Party's left can complain about the failure of Obama's progressivism; the inability of his big government, tax-and-spend approach to function; his grasping for power; his attack on the states; his incompetence with respect to foreign affairs; his continuation of the wars that the progressives loved to hate under Bush; and his massive bailout of Wall Street.  Under Obama, more money has been printed and handed to financial institutions than under all the other presidents in American history combined. The subsidies to the super-rich amount to as much as $100,000 per American when all the printed money is accounted for.

But support for banks was always part and parcel of Progressivism. The Federal Reserve Bank, which prints the money, was conceptualized and made constitutional in the first decade of the 20th century. It was put into law by President Woodrow Wilson, the Progressive whom Theodore Roosevelt helped gain office when he ran for president on the Progressive Party line against William Howard Taft.

1 comment:

Doug Plumb said...

The first tenet of communism is a central bank. Its interesting to look at Marx's basic requirements for communism, listed in the manifesto and compare them to our society.