Mike ScruggsOpinion

The Obama Economy: Wrong ideas have dreadful consequences

By Mike Scruggs-

In 1948, Richard M. Weaver, published a book called Ideas Have Consequences. Weaver (1910-1963), a professor of English at the University of Chicago until his death, is thought by many scholars to be among the top two American conservative philosophers in the mid-twentieth century. His book outlines the decline of Western culture and the ability to think clearly that has resulted from the dominance of scholastic philosophies rejecting the notion of absolute truth. Sound logic must be based on the solid stepping-stones of truth. When people replace absolute truths with relative truths, they have short-circuited logic and are no longer able to make intelligent distinctions and decisions. Their value system, insight, and moral clarity become distorted. They are often unable to recognize truth and become hostile to it. Thus they fill their decision-making processes with a distorted factual base and irrelevant garbage.

Weaver believed the decline in intelligent thinking had been hastened by radio, Hollywood, and television and had become so entrenched that finding our way out of the accumulated maze of falsehood, illogic, and nonsense would be extraordinarily difficult. Before you can fix a problem, you need to recognize there is a problem.

Weaver was also the author of The Southern Tradition at Bay: A History of Postbellum Thought, published five years after his death in 1968. As a traditionalist conservative, he was a strong advocate of private property rights. He believed secure property rights were essential to the individual economic security necessary to resist the growing Behemoth of institutionalized bullying that forced people into habits of uncritical and unintelligent thinking. This bullying now thrives under the Marxist concept of “political correctness.”

I have not yet met anyone from Weaverville, North Carolina, who knew who Richard Weaver was. Yet this highly regarded conservative philosopher was born there. It is symptomatic of the times that the memory of such an advocate for straight-thinking truth has been swept under the rug.

Returning to the consequences of uncritical thinking, grinding bad data through a chain of false logic naturally yields unintelligent decisions—whether you are dealing in economic, social, military, foreign policy, or ethical matters. Not surprisingly, unintelligent decisions often yield dreadful consequences. This is especially true, if you are President of the United States and fancy yourself a Supreme Dictator entitled to overrule law, tradition, and Constitution.

Neither historical evidence nor sound logic support the notion that governments can grow jobs by taxing the rich or printing or borrowing money. Taxing the “rich” will actually fall mostly on hardworking small business owners who bear many business risks and put in long workdays. To reap the benefits of the “envy vote” the president is harnessing our most productive people with new disincentives to grow and hire.

If President Obama really wanted to relieve the devastating pain of unemployment and underemployment, he would not have (unlawfully) granted administrative “dream” amnesties to between one and three million illegal immigrant workers who claim to be under age 36. It is callous to speak of creating jobs, when more than 23 million Americans—nearly 15 percent of the labor force—are unemployed or have been forced to part-time work because of economic conditions; yet a large portion of the over 8 million illegal immigrant workers in the United States are being given an administrative amnesty to compete with these unemployed. Is this is not a perfect example of either logical nonsense or callous political corruption?

One of the largest and best examples of wasteful and corrupt government spending in U.S. history, was the $535 million stimulus loan to the Solyndra solar panel company. The company was already nearing bankruptcy, when the loan was made, and soon proceeded to belly-up, leaving U.S. taxpayers $535 million poorer. This is what frequently happens when the government steps in to pick economic winners and losers. The Obama administration has spent trillions on so-called stimulus measures, but there has been no increase in real jobs. Government stimulus money is essentially a political shell game. It gives taxpayer or borrowed money to political friends at the expense of everybody else.

Can the American people discern political doubletalk from sound policy? Or are we going to bury the American Republic and the American economy because we can no longer distinguish truth from lie? Has rejection of absolute foundational truths and tradition blinded us to our danger?

Perhaps our greatest danger is our foolish indifference to the trillions of dollars of long-term debt obligations being run-up by the Obama administration. Our national debt is already nearing $14 trillion and growing by more than $1 trillion per year.

Such unchecked government spending has led to hyperinflation in the past. World War I spending caused 140 percent inflation in Germany from 1914 to 1918 but had begun to stabilize by 1919. However, by 1921 the newly elected democratic socialists of the Weimar Republic had made boundless promises of social benefits, expanded education systems, higher wages, reduced hours, and more vacation. Inflationary spending soon resulted in continuous devaluations of the German Mark. By early 1922, the Germans had slipped down the slope of hyperinflation. A German-born American told how his father had bought a 20-year life insurance policy in 1903 and made his monthly payments faithfully. In early 1923, when he cashed it in, he was only able to buy a loaf of bread with it. By late 1923, it took 200 billion marks to buy a loaf of bread.

Millions lost their savings, income, and all hope. Many and bitter are their stories. At the roots of their misery were politicians who used more and more government spending to get elected. President Obama’s economic ideas are wrong and could have grave consequences.

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