The Principles of Taxation – Tea Party Nation

The Principles of Taxation – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

NYSR to Sell Itself in $8.2 Billion Deal” was the lead story in the December 21, 2012 edition of The Wall Street Journal.”

“The New York Stock Exchange, the cornerstone of American capitalism for 220 years, agreed to be sold as part of an $8.2 billion takeover by IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. If regulators and shareholders approve, the combined company would own 14 stock and futures exchanges and five clearing operations that serve as middlemen between buyers and sellers of futures and other contracts, doing more things in more places than any other rival. The takeover also would seal the triumph of electronic trading over ‘open outcry’ floor trading that long dominated financial markets, as well as the push by exchanges to embrace new and lucrative kinds of trading.”

The Internet has transformed the buying and selling of stocks and other financial contracts, but it has not changed the fundamentals of capitalism.

The factors most affecting economic growth or decline remain the same and, as the “fiscal cliff” approaches for every American, it is predicted that its cost will represent an increase of $4,000 for all who still pay income taxes in a nation where an estimated 47% do not, where unemployment remains for 26 million Americans, and the Obama administration, during its first term in office, increased the national debt to $16 trillion, has spent and generally wasted billions in its “bailouts” and “stimulus” programs in addition to the billions lost on “green energy” companies that went belly-up.

In an essay on taxation by a former Secretary of the Treasury, the following fundamentals of taxation were discussed and I will share his observations with you before telling you who wrote it and when.

“The problem of the government is to fix rates which will bring a maximum amount of revenue to the Treasury and at the same time bear not too heavily on the taxpayer or on business enterprises.”

The Obama administration needs a lot of money. It borrows $4.8 billion every day. It has a debt of $16 trillion, $6 trillion of which was added in the last four years. The so-called “entitlement” programs are verging on insolvency in the years immediately ahead. They are not voluntary programs, but maintained by the force of law and Congress has routinely raided the Social Security fund to pay for other things. Obamacare raided billions in Medicare to fund a program that essentially nationalized twenty percent of the nation’s economy (Socialism!) and which included 28 new taxes. Many states have refused to create the “exchanges” it mandates.

“I have never viewed taxation as a means of rewarding one class of taxpayers or punishing another.” So much for Obama’s constant demand for higher taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” which, at one point it defined as anyone earning $250,000 or more.

“If such a point of view ever controls our public policy, the traditions of freedom, justice, and equality of opportunity, which are the distinguishing characteristics of our American civilization, will have disappeared and in their place we shall have class legislation with all its attendant evils…” That is the point which we have reached with an enormous and manifestly unfair tax code in need of major revision.

“The history of taxation shows that taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid. The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities or to find other lawful methods of avoiding the realization of taxable income. The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up; wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; the capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the government nor profit to the people…”

Americans now have a huge, centralized federal government that sucks up and largely wastes vast amounts of taxable income that would otherwise be invested in new enterprises, the expansion of existing ones, and punishes the most productive members of society.

There is a war being waged on capitalism in the nation that rose to the greatest citadel of wealth the world has ever seen. It is being waged by a President who was recently reelected by demonizing a successful venture capitalist whose firm invested in companies that generated thousands of jobs.

“High taxation…is largely borne by the ultimate consumer. High taxation means a high price level and high cost of living. A reduction in taxes, therefore, results not only in immediate saving to the individual or property directly affected, but an ultimate saving to all people in the country.”

The author quoted throughout was Andrew William Mellon who, in 1921, was made Secretary of the Treasury, a post he held until 1932 when Franklin D. Roosevelt was first elected President. As noted in “The Patriot’s History Reader: Essential Documents for Every America”, Mellon was “the first proponent of the idea that lowering taxes stimulated business and therefore resulted in increased tax revenues.” The essay quoted was written in 1924.

Mellon’s policies were vindicated by John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, but during Roosevelt’s administrations he was demonized at the same time that tax rates were raised to 80% on the highest incomes in 1935 and to 90% by 1940. This is a time period that is also known as the Great Depression.

The current Secretary of Treasury wants to give the President the right to increase the ceiling on new borrowing any time he wants.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

 

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How (and Why) Obama has Impeded Recovery – Tea Party Nation

How (and Why) Obama has Impeded Recovery – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

During and after his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama was hailed as the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt. History records that Roosevelt presided over the Great Depression, begun in the previous administration of Herbert Hoover who got most of the blame. Roosevelt’s policies extended it well beyond the normal recovery from a recession.

In his book, “Dupes”, historian Paul Kengor, wrote “Roosevelt won in a landslide in November 1932. To liberals and traditional Democrats everywhere, he was more than just a new face at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He was a kind of political savior at the most desperate time in their lives.”

Roosevelt was immediately assailed by the Communist Party USA as he launched his New Deal stew of programs intended to reverse the effects of the economic crisis. As Kengor notes, “No president had ever moved so far to the left, and so quickly, but it was not enough for the comrades.” They portrayed Roosevelt “as a warmonger bent on wreaking havoc on the poor USSR (Soviet Russia)” because they feared the U.S. might go to war against it.

As we now know, some of Roosevelt’s closest advisors were either Communists or extremely sympathetic to Communism. Harry Hopkins was one of them and was later exposed as a likely Soviet agent. The Venona transcripts of secret communications between U.S. Communists and their Soviet handlers revealed this.

Obama came into office following the 2008 financial crisis which, as we know, he blamed entirely on George W. Bush. Triggered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government sponsored enterprises, the crisis reflected the many “subprime” mortgages they had pressured banks to make. Bush’s efforts to rein them had fallen on deaf ears.

Like Roosevelt, Obama initiated a number of policies and legislation, not the least of which was his “stimulus” package to turn around the economy, but which has left it with a higher level of unemployment today than in 2009-10. His other initiative, stimulating Green energy has cost taxpayers billions.

In “New Deal or Raw Deal?” historian Burton Folsom, Jr., wrote of Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA) documenting that it and other measures did nothing more than balloon the federal government while interfering with the normal action of capitalism to recover—as it had many times before—from financial crises.

Oklahoma Senator Thomas Gore, first elected in 1907, summed up Roosevelt’s efforts saying at the time, “No depression can be ended by gifts, gratuities, doles, and alms handed out by the Federal Treasury, and extorted from taxpayers that are bleeding from every pore.”

As Folsom put it, “Capitalism had failed in Roosevelt’s view of the world and that opened the door for new experiments in government ownership and government direction of the economy. Private enterprise would become public enterprise.”

Why anyone would think that Barack Obama, a “red diaper baby”, raised by leftists and mentored in his youth by a card-carrying Communist, Frank Marshall Davis, would act any differently than Roosevelt, repeating all his mistakes, is to be ignorant of history.

The Worst Recovery Ever

Writing in the April 3rd Wall Street Journal, Edward P. Lazear, 2006-2009 chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, wrote about “The Worst Economic Recovery in History.” Assessing Obama’s policies, Lazear said that “our current recovery pales in comparison with most other recoveries, including the one following the Great Depression.”

“The Great Depression started with major economic contractions in 1930, ’31, ’32 and ’33. In the three following years, the economy rebounded with growth rates of 11%, 9%, and 13% respectively…According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recovery began in the second half of 2009. Since that time, the economy has grown at 2.4%, below our long-term trend by either measure. At this point, the economy is 12% smaller than it would have been had we stayed on trend growth since 2007.”

“It would be difficult to argue,” wrote Lazear, “that government policies over the past three years have enhanced confidence in the U.S. business environment. Threats of higher taxes, the constantly increasing regulatory burden, the failure to pursue an aggressive trade policy that will open U.S. exports and the enormous increase in government spending all are growth impediments.”

Like Roosevelt, Obama has impeded a rebound in the growth of the economy and he has done it by applying all the wrong Socialist “solutions” that extended the Great Depression from 1929 to 1941.

For Obama, this has truly been a crisis that would not be allowed to go to waste. What he has done has been to impose Obamacare in the face of massive rejection, overseen the loss of two million jobs, and increased the national debt to levels that put the U.S. on a crash course to financial collapse.

It would be naïve to think he did not know what he was doing. If one wanted to bring the United States of America to its knees, he would pursue Obama’s policies of the past four years. His “open mike” gaff, speaking with Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, confirms his intent to work closely with America’s longtime adversary if reelected.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

The Big Hoax – Thomas Sowell – Townhall Conservative Columnists

The Big Hoax – Thomas Sowell – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

There have been many frauds of historic proportions — for example, the financial pyramid scheme for which Charles Ponzi was sent to prison in the 1920s, and for which Franklin D. Roosevelt was praised in the 1930s, when he called it Social Security. In our own times, Bernie Madoff‘s hoax has made headlines.

But the biggest hoax of the past two generations is still going strong — namely, the hoax that statistical differences in outcomes for different groups are due to the way other people treat those groups.

The latest example of this hoax is the joint crusade of the Department of Education and the Department of Justice against schools that discipline black males more often than other students. According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, this disparity in punishment violates the “promise” of “equity.”

Just who made this promise remains unclear, and why equity should mean equal outcomes despite differences in behavior is even more unclear. This crusade by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is only the latest in a long line of fraudulent arguments based on statistics.

If black males get punished more often than Asian American females, does that mean that it is somebody else’s fault? That it is impossible that black males are behaving differently from Asian American females? Nobody in his right mind believes that. But that is the unspoken premise, without which the punishment statistics prove nothing about “equity.”

What is the purpose or effect of this whole exercise by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice? To help black students or to secure the black vote in an election year by seeming to be coming to the rescue of blacks from white oppression?

Among the many serious problems of ghetto schools is the legal difficulty of getting rid of disruptive hoodlums, a mere handful of whom can be enough to destroy the education of a far larger number of other black students — and with it destroy their chances for a better life.

Judges have already imposed too many legalistic procedures on schools that are more appropriate for a courtroom. “Due process” rules that are essential for courts can readily become “undue process” in a school setting, when letting clowns and thugs run amok, while legalistic procedures to suspend or expel them drag on. It is a formula for educational and social disaster.

Now Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder want to play the race card in an election year, at the expense of the education of black students. Make no mistake about it, the black students who go to school to get an education are the main victims of the classroom disrupters whom Duncan and Holder are trying to protect.

What they are more fundamentally trying to protect are the black votes which are essential for Democrats. For that, blacks must be constantly depicted as under siege from whites, so that Democrats can be seen as their rescuers.

Promoting paranoia translates into votes. It is a very cynical political game, despite all the lofty rhetoric used to disguise it.

Whether the current generation of black students get a decent education is infinitely more important than whether the current generation of Democratic politicians hang on to their jobs.

Too many of the intelligentsia — both black and white — jump on the statistical bandwagon, and see statistical differences as proof of maltreatment, not only in schools but in jobs, in mortgage lending and in many other things.

Some act as if their role is to protect the image of blacks by blaming their problems on whites. But the truth is far more important than racial image.

Wherever we want to go, we can only get there from where we are. Not where we think we are, or wish we are, or where we want others to think we are, but where we are in fact right now.

But political spin and pious euphemisms don’t tell us where we are. After a while, such rhetorical exercises don’t even fool others.

If we don’t have the truth, we don’t have anything to start with and build on. A big start toward the truth would be getting rid of the kinds of statistical hoaxes being promoted by Secretary of Education Duncan and Attorney General Holder.

Save Us from Joe Biden – Tea Party Nation

Save Us from Joe Biden – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

There is, I swear, an entire category on Google titled “Joe Biden is an idiot.” As further proof, there are collections of Joe Biden quotes.

Addressing a gathering of the House Democratic Caucus on February 6, 2009, shortly after he and the President were sworn into office, Biden said, “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s a 30% change we’re going to get it wrong.”

A growing majority of Americans has concluded that they got closer to 90% wrong, no matter what they did. The Obama administration is going to go into the history books as one of the worst the nation has ever endured.

That says a lot about Obama’s judgment because it was he who chose Biden to be his Vice President. Biden has turned out to be Obama’s alter ego and, we’re told, one of his most trusted advisors.

On October 12th, in Flint, Michigan, Biden actually said that there would be more rapes and murders if the current iteration of Obama’s jobs bill, yet another multi-billion dollar blunder, was not passed. Even a Democrat-controlled Senate would not pass it. In Flint this year, with no stimulus spending and 19 less stimulus police officers there are projected decreases in homicides of 42% and rapes of 52%.

It is worth pausing to keep in mind that, if Obama was to cease being President for any reason, Biden would become President. It is mind-boggling to think that this idiot could ascend to the office. If there was no other reason to defeat Obama in 2012, Joe Biden stands head and shoulders above all others.

How stupid is Joe Biden? Let me count the ways.

On October 23rd, in the course of a CNN interview, Biden said that nobody can say “that the stimulus did not create jobs.” Putting aside the fact that government does not create any other kind of jobs other than government jobs or make-work, temporary jobs, the most recent report on the stimulus by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calculated that the stimulus did create a maximum of two million jobs by the fourth quarter of 2011, but that at a cost of $412,500 per job!

The CNN interview draw attention from some elements of the mainstream media when, according to a CBS political analyst noted that Biden “left the door open to running for president in 2016, saying he would “make up my mind on that later” adding that he was physically and mentally prepared for the challenge. Physically maybe, but mentally he is one of the most clueless vice presidents since the days of Al Gore.

“When the stock market crashed,” Biden told Katie Couric, “Franklin D. Roosevelt got on television an didn’t just talk about, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’” For the record, the market crashed in 1929 before Roosevelt was president and television did not exist except for a few experimental sets at the time.

Biden is famous for his gaffs, most famously for his comment, caught by the microphones, about the passage of Obamacare. “This is a big fuc*ing deal” during the signing ceremony on March 23, 2010. Since then, the House has voted to repeal the bill and it is headed to the Supreme Court after 26 States attorney generals challenged its constitutionality.

Biden is a buffoon, but worse than that, he has zero command of the facts and an alarming characteristic which he shares with Obama; he lies about everything all the time.

We can count on Biden, now that he and the president have hit the campaign trail, to say a lot of other stupid and false things, but we can also count on him putting audiences to sleep with his famed long-winded answers.

We must save America from Joe Biden for the same reason we must rid the nation of the worst president in its history.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Back to the Future: Part II – Thomas Sowell – Townhall Conservative

 

 

Back to the Future: Part II – Thomas Sowell – Townhall Conservative.

Some people are hoping that President Obama’s plan will get the economy out of the doldrums and start providing jobs for the unemployed. Others are hoping that the Republicans’ plan will do the trick.

Those who are truly optimistic hope that Democrats and Republicans will both put aside their partisanship and do what is best for the country.

Almost nobody seems to be hoping that the government will leave the economy alone to recover on its own. Indeed, almost nobody seems at all interested in looking at the hard facts about what happens when the government leaves the economy alone, compared to what happens when politicians intervene.

The grand myth that has been taught to whole generations is that the government is “forced” to intervene in the economy when there is a downturn that leaves millions of people suffering. The classic example is the Great Depression of the 1930s.

What most people are unaware of is that there was no Great Depression until AFTER politicians started intervening in the economy.

There was a stock market crash in October 1929 and unemployment shot up to 9 percent — for one month. Then unemployment started drifting back down until it was 6.3 percent in June 1930, when the first major federal intervention took place.

That was the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill, which more than a thousand economists across the country pleaded with Congress and President Hoover not to enact. But then, as now, politicians decided that they had to “do something.”

Within 6 months, unemployment hit double digits. Then, as now, when “doing something” made things worse, many felt that the answer was to do something more.

Both President Hoover and President Roosevelt did more — and more, and more. Unemployment remained in double digits for the entire remainder of the decade. Indeed, unemployment topped 20 percent and remained there for 35 months, stretching from the Hoover administration into the Roosevelt administration.

That is how the government was “forced” to intervene during the Great Depression. Intervention in the economy is like eating potato chips: You can’t stop with just one.

What about the track record of doing nothing? For more than the first century and a half of this nation, that was essentially what the federal government did — nothing. None of the downturns in all that time ever lasted as long as the Great Depression.

An economic downturn in 1920-21 sent unemployment up to 12 percent. President Warren Harding did nothing, except for cutting government spending. The economy quickly rebounded on its own.

In 1987, when the stock market declined more in one day than it had in any day in 1929, Ronald Reagan did nothing. There were outcries and outrage in the media. But Reagan still did nothing.

That downturn not only rebounded, it was followed by 20 years of economic growth, marked by low inflation and low unemployment.

The Obama administration’s policies are very much like the policies of the Roosevelt administration during the 1930s. FDR not only smothered business with an unending stream of new regulations, he spent unprecedented sums of money, running up record deficits, despite raising taxes on high income earners to levels that confiscated well over half their earnings.

Like Obama today, FDR blamed the country’s economic problems on his predecessor, making Hoover a pariah. Yet, 6 years after Hoover was gone, and nearly a decade after the stock market crash, unemployment hit 20 percent again in the spring of 1939.

Doing nothing may have a better track record in the economy but government intervention has a better political record in getting presidents re-elected.

People who say that Barack Obama cannot be re-elected with unemployment at its current level should take note that Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected a record four times, despite two consecutive terms in which unemployment was never as low as it is today.

Economic reality is one thing. But political impressions are something very different — and all too often it is the political impressions which determine the fate of an administration and the fate of a nation.

A Horrible Week for Global Socialism – Tea Party Nation

A Horrible Week for Global Socialism – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

Over the weekend of August 6-7, the Wall Street Journal’s lead headline was “U.S. Loses Triple-A Credit Rating.”

On Monday, August 8, the Journal’s headline was “Markets Brace for Downgrade’s Toll.”

By Tuesday, August 9, it was “Downgrade Ignites a Global Sell-Off.”

On Wednesday, August 10, it was “Markets Sink Then Soar After Fed Speaks.”

Thursday, August 11, the Journal cast its eyes across the Big Pond noting that “Italy’s Woes Weigh on Europe.”

On Friday, 12, the headline said, “Stocks Swing Up in Wild Week.”

A week after the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+, in the August 13-14 edition, the Journal took note of a “Global Crisis of Confidence”, adding that “World Policy Makers’ Inability to Agree on Fixes Led Markets on Wild Ride.”

As the new week dawned on August 15, the Journal said, “Markets Gird for Fresh Drama.”

It was a great week for dramatic headlines and a horrible week for the rest of the world. Mostly, though, it was a fulfillment of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s observation that socialism works just fine until you run out of “other people’s money.”

That is a perfect definition of “redistribution” or, as President Obama once observed, “At some point you’ve made enough money.” A more un-American statement has rarely been uttered by an American President.

The U.S. has been engaged in a huge experiment in redistribution since the years of the Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt, a man who knew absolutely nothing about running a business and who had spent most of his life living off an allowance from his mother, tried everything he could think of to get the economy going again.

FDR could have tried cutting taxes. He could have encouraged Congress to avoid voting for trade barriers in a fit of protectionism. Instead, he came up with Social Security, among an alphabet soup of government programs which were a disaster when it came to encouraging private sector job creation. Not unlike President Obama’s “stimulus” and other doomed-to-fail experiments

The history of Social Security is one long succession of lies that Americans have been told. By the time Lyndon B. Johnson was President, the funds set aside for Social Security payments were moved to the general fund where they could be plundered by Congress. Under President Clinton Social Security payments began to be taxed as income.

World War Two arrived in the U.S. on December 7, 1941, and full employment followed to defeat the fascists in Germany and Japan. The government that had expanded during the FDR years continued to expand.

Americans emerged from the war without a scratch on the homeland. With the exception of Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, none of our cities were bombed. We had a million battle-tested young men returning home in 1945, the GI bill let them go to college if they wanted, and by the 1950s we were on our way to being the greatest military power in the world and the greatest economy ever known.

And the federal government never stopped expanding. It needed more money, but the stock market, with occasional recessions, just kept growing too. As time went along, Great Britain and Western Europe rebuilt, alliances such as NATO were created to thwart the Soviet Union’s ambitions, while Eastern Europe stagnated under Soviet imposed communism.

In Asia, Japan became an economic powerhouse and South Korea too. China which had suffered under Chairman Mao waited until he died to convert its economy to a capitalist model, while retaining all the worst aspects of an Orwellian communist government. In the Middle East, oil allowed nations led by a handful of tribal chiefs and assorted despots acquire wealth beyond belief. Their populations remained oppressed. Now they are in the streets demanding freedom and justice. They will get Sharia law and more oppression.

Economies became increasingly global and interconnected. Europe became the European Union, a huge bureaucratic mess with the Euro as a common currency. Western bankers purchased Europe’s securities and vice versa. When the housing market imploded in September 2008, they discovered that most were de-linked from the original mortgage assets and were essentially worthless to the tune of billions.

The Federal Reserve responded by shipping $600 billion to prop up European central banks and Congress responded by authorizing the Treasury Department to “bail out” U.S. banks and the huge insurance company, AIG, with public funds–your money.

So what have we learned from all this? Foremost of all, socialist economies are inherently unfair and disconnected from the real world of hard work, property ownership, and capital investment. We learned that bankers are greedy and take greater risks than they should.

Great Britain, which has become one of the greatest welfare states in the world, was rewarded for its generosity with looting and rioting by youths whose families had lived on the dole their entire lives. Greece had already had its spate of riots.

Everyone keeps saying that the U.S. must not become Greece, but the U.S. has become Greece and that accounts for all those horrible headlines from last week.

The Obama administration, which has steadfastly ignored every previous “commission” that has studied the economy, has now engineered “a super committee” in Congress. It is composed of the twelve worst ideologues on either side of the economic policy divide in an effort to cut some spending, any spending! Failure has been baked into that cake.

The old way of conducting the affairs of nations, particularly their economies, is coming apart at the seams. It has exposed the hypocrisy of socialism here in the United States and everywhere else it has been practiced.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Burying Obama – American Thinker

 Burying Obama – American Thinker.

By J.R. Dunn

Let me hasten to make it clear before the Secret Service kicks the door in: we’re not speaking of the three-dimensional, physical Obama, but the image of Obama created by the DNC, the media, and assorted political mercenaries to sell him and his agenda to an unsuspecting nation.  We need to rid ourselves of Obama as an influence, as an example, as a lens through which to view the world, as a figure to look up to, admire, or emulate in any sense.

Simply put, there must be no “Obama legacy.”  Obama the man is avidly digging himself deeper into his own personal hole and will soon vanish into the depths of the earth.  It is Obama the legend that must be buried.

Every liberal president fails. The more “successful” he is, in the sense of actually putting his policies in place, the more clearly he reveals the emptiness of that bastard combination of socialism, Marxism, fascism, and Progressivism that goes under the name “liberalism.”  Franklin Roosevelt triggered a second dip in the Great Depression in 1937, delivering America to the same wretchedness in which he found it upon taking office.  Lyndon Johnson threw the country into abject chaos for fifteen years with his “Great Society,” essentially “New Deal, the Sequel.”  Jimmy Carter… well, where do we start?

Yet every liberal president leaves a “legacy,” a vast and complicated myth that erases his failures, magnifies his successes (if any), and acts as a glowing mythological reframing of the triumph and promise of liberalism. These myths are as stereotyped as the plot of a Noh play, with the heroic figure of the president acting on behalf of the stock poor working family against a cast of enemies that includes reactionaries, businessmen, and uncaring bourgeoisie. In each case the president is about obtain a complete triumph, to create the new liberal Jerusalem on this American earth, when he is cut short by the bleak machinations of the enemies of the people.

Of course, a little reworking is required in order to make the narrative fit the circumstances.  FDR was lucky enough to have WWII, which made it appear that his policies had in fact worked.  For a half century and more the myth that Roosevelt’s policies ended the Depression and saved the country were taken as a given on all levels, and still prevails among the offhandedly educated.  Only in recent years has the story of the false recovery generated by deficit spending followed by the collapse of 1937 and the ensuing double-dip been excavated. (Does this sound familiar?)  The war saved FDR, and also saved the myth of American liberalism.

Lyndon B. Johnson was more problematic. Through an accident of history, Johnson was handed more power than any president up to his day. Taking office with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson inherited a nation eager to honor the dead president by fulfilling his agenda. Congress simply rubber-stamped any bills put before it that could be argued as “what Jack would want.”  Johnson did exactly what might be expected with that level of power — he abused it.  He immediately instituted a program of deficit spending in support of something he called the “Great Society,” which was no more than an extension of the New Deal.  Along with an ill-executed civil rights program and a badly planned and fought medium-sized war, LBJ drove the nation onto the rocks in less than two years.  There it remained for a decade and half.  Jimmy Carter, often disdained as the worst of presidents, is in truth merely a footnote to the Johnson saga.

The Johnson legacy was split, with the construction of a myth of a “good” LBJ who acted as a progressive saint as opposed to the “evil” LBJ who suppressed riots in American cities and fought a war of extermination in Vietnam.  Nobody hated Johnson more than American liberals, but liberalism and the progressive ideal had to go on, so Johnson’s reputation was at least in part rehabilitated.  The Great Society in truth discredited the New Deal for all time — but that’s not how the narrative was written.  The myth of the New Deal survived, awaiting a new prophet.

The equivalent Obama myth is already taking shape.  The Tea Parties, half demented backwoodsmen, half Children of the Damned, emerging from the primeval forest beyond the Hudson to force S&P to issue the “Tea Party downgrade” — that’s right; it was the Tea Parties that sacked away all those trillions in deficits.  You wouldn’t know that if you didn’t watch MSNBC.  Then there are the Koch brothers, plotting in their private atomic-powered zeppelin high above the Great Plains, committing such unimaginable atrocities as (don’t let the children see this) supporting politicians and funding political organizations.  Imagine such things happening in America.  And Fox News, embedding right-wing code-phrases in the Twitter threads of innocent, simple-minded American proles, going so far as to actually report what the Dems say and do.  All of them working to undermine Obama, sabotage his programs, and wreck his vision of a new collectivized America, marching as one into the radiant future. 

It’s unlikely such a construct will be so easily believed this time around. People are not as naive as they were in the 30s, or as obedient as they were in the early 60s.  We live in a different world, in which people have seen certain things and drawn certain conclusions.  One of them is that the reign of Obama comprises liberalism’s third failure.  Three times liberals have tried to impose their system, three times it has collapsed.  Games like this do not go on forever.  Somewhere deep in the subconscious, there is an ancient subroutine that cuts off at three — there is a reason why three strikes make an out.

There are plenty of signs that people are wising up. The phenomenon of the Tea Parties alone speaks volumes. The idea of a large fraction of the working middle class defying FDR or LBJ would have been simply unimaginable.  Today it’s business as usual.  We are also living in a far more democratic society — in the classic political sense — than previous generations did.

But we can’t expect liberalism to simply to pack it in. This kind of dream narrative is all they have left.  They will never allow the liberal agenda to be damaged by public acknowledgement of failure.  So the legendary Obama must be destroyed, his halo shattered, his white robes besmirched, his book of prophecies rent and scattered to the winds.  Destroying the reputation of any individual is a terrible thing, and must be considered under presumption of error.  But Obama has been and continues to be a disaster for this country, one that will affect us for the next twenty years or more.  He has threatened our well-being and has destroyed lives, all under the cloak of a false mythology.

How do we defeat the Obama myth?  By assuring that reality takes the place that it is designed to fill.  By continually and repeatedly putting forward the facts about the man behind the myth. The man who led a conga line as the country shuddered in fear of economic catastrophe.  The man who, with nothing else to offer, threatens to degrade the religious beliefs   of an honorable opponent.  The man who had an “uplifting” photograph of himself at a ceremony marking the return of dead heroes taken and published, in defiance of the wishes of surviving relatives who asked that no photos be taken.

And that’s only one week. There will be plenty more to come. I think I can promise you that.

Obama will inevitably have the larger contingent working in his favor. Not only the hired flacks and the legacy media, but the kindergarten civics class types who will hear no criticism of “Our President,” the weird political hermaphrodites such as Brooks, Parker, and Sullivan, who will follow the straight pants crease wherever it leads, and not the least, the paid trolls who slip into our sites and programs to throw as much spin as they can without exposing themselves.  Just over the past week we’ve seen endless comments from people who are “no fan of Obama” (in that precise wording) but wish to see no further criticism or attacks for specious reasons or none. Somebody at NRO (don’t have the link – sorry) identified that “no fan” opening as the newest tag line for undercover lefties. Be advised.

There’s something different about this new millennial epoch, something that cannot be explained simply by the passage of a few years. The forces that held this country in a viselike grip for decades are losing their hold, while small, dispersed organizations grow in effectiveness and capability. We are seeing subtle changes in our politics that we do not yet fully understand. Consider Wisconsin, where the vast and powerful liberal superstructure consisting of the unions through the media through the judiciary all the way up to the shadowy and malefic Soros organizations was utterly humiliated, in a way for which it’s difficult to find an equivalent in earlier epochs. 

We need to ride that change. I have a feeling — almost but not quite a conviction — that it will take us out of the spot we find ourselves in today to somewhere closer to where we’d rather be.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and the author of Death by Liberalism.