Is He Doing It On Purpose?

There’s a school of thought that the Obama administration is deliberately damaging the economy and gutting the stock market, on the theory that doing so will make more people dependent on the government and pave the way for a far-left regime. Doug Ross makes the argument:

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Consider that, in the teeth of a devastating recession, Obama has:

• Raised taxes on small businesses, the engines of entrepreneurship and job growth

• Raised the capital gains tax

• Lied about “tax cuts for 95% of Americans”, offering instead $13 a week, achieved not through tax cuts, but by changing the federal withholding tables!

• Destroyed charitable giving by axing the tax breaks for 26% of all giving (or $81 billion in 2006)

• Proposed a carbon cap-and-trading scheme designed to punish oil companies and further tax consumers

Why would Obama inflict these destructive policies while the economy is collapsing? Simple. Each step strengthens the role of government in people’s lives.

• Squelching the stock market kills its attractiveness as a parking lot for private capital. Combined with an increase in the capital gains tax, investors will swarm to bonds — tax-free vehicles like municipal bonds, which benefit the growth of state and local government. And unions, of course.

• Carbon cap-and-tax will raise taxes on all Americans as the cost of goods and services will increase to address a non-existent threat.

• True tax cuts would grow the economy, which is why, of course, Obama shuns them. The last major recession was Jimmy Carter’s malaise. It consisted of of double-digit inflation and unemployment. It was finally licked by across-the-board tax cuts for everyone (even the despised rich), which touched off a twenty-plus year run of prosperity.

• Charities reduce the role of government assistance for those in need. That, in Obama’s world, can not be tolerated. That is why charities must be choked off and allowed to die. Especially faith-based institutions.

The only plausible explanation is that Obama’s destruction of the economy is intentional.

It is based on a failed ideology that has never — and can never — succeed.

It is, I admit, an intriguing theory, but I don’t buy it. Obama can’t possibly want to be a one-term failure. That’s what happened to Jimmy Carter, and Obama must know that it will happen to him, too, if his policies are perceived as dragging down the economy.

More likely the explanation is that Obama is an economic illiterate, and subscribes to the idea–which I think is rather common among Democrats–that what the government does has little impact on the economy. Obama likely believes that the economy will recover on its own, and in the meantime–in Rahm Emanuel’s immortal words–he shouldn’t let the crisis go to waste. So he enacts every left-wing measure that he wanted to do anyway, expecting that when the economy eventually recovers he can take credit for it, even though his policies, if anything, retarded and weakened the recovery.

That’s a cynical strategy, although not quite as cynical as destroying the economy on purpose; the difference is that it may well work.

Via InstaPundit.

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