If you got the wrong message, it’s because Washington reporters too often have a poor understanding of people who have a systematic philosophy and truly believe in what they are doing. Reporters, focused on who is up this day and who’s down the next, have difficulty discerning the intent of someone like Obama — who is thinking much more long term.
Obama, with his speeches, is intent on laying out the rationale and building public support for “fundamentally transforming America” — as he promised five days before being elected in 2008.
Speaking Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, Obama presented a statist vision that should send chills down the spine of anyone who believes that free markets, not government, create wealth.
Obama sketched a series of problems that he says confront the United States and hold back what he called the middle class. He might as well have used the term “proletariat,” though — because every fetter he described requires government intervention to make things right.
“We need a long-term American strategy,” he said, “based on steady, persistent effort, to reverse the forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades. That has to be our project.”
Let’s forget about the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi, and political debate: “With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop.”
What needs to start? Government spending. Hold onto your income, because the taxman cometh.
Every problem, in Obama’s thinking, requires a government solution masterminded by the altruism and genius of central planners such as he.
Is business lagging? Lets invest billions to build new ports, transportation systems, power grids, bridges and communications networks to provide infrastructure and, by the way, create “good-paying jobs” with paychecks signed ultimately by Uncle Sam. While we’re at it, let’s expand worker-training programs.
Is American manufacturing floundering? Let’s create government-funded “manufacturing innovation institutes” that “partner” with the private sector to “turn regions left behind by global competition into global centers of cutting-edge jobs.”
Meanwhile, White House economists will perform surgery on the tax code to reward companies that don’t outsource overseas or that invest in proper green technologies.
Are our kids too stupid for the 21st century? Let’s provide a brand new entitlement and “make high-quality preschool available for every 4-year-old in America.” Such a scheme “will also provide a vital support system for working parents. “ That is, government-financed daycare for all.
College is an entitlement too, so Obama will soon “lay out an aggressive strategy to shake up the system, tackle rising costs, and improve value for middle-class students and their families.”
Exactly what that means is not clear. But it’s obviously not coming from the private sector.
Need more health care? Let’s get to “fully implementing the Affordable Care Act.”
Is opportunity not knocking? “We need a new push to rebuild rundown neighborhoods.”