Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Angry Reader #5

by Victor Davis Hanson

Private Papers

Angry Reader #5 wrote:

Don’t mean to troll here, but for the nth time, what is it about Obama or his agenda that wasn’t conservative mainstream thought even a few years ago?? He’s lowered taxes, been tough on defense, adopted a healthcare plan proposed by the Heritage Foundation & backed, more or less, by Dole in ’96 (a healthcare plan, I might add, that is to the right of what Nixon proposed), wanted an immigration deal on the lines of what Bush II & McCain proposed, was ready to accept huge cuts to entitlement programs in the failed deal that almost got passed by Congress in 2011, a deal that failed due to Boehner & the stupid Republican House that wanted all or nothing…can’t the conservatives just accept that they went off the rails, on the coattails of the tea-partiers, & that the country, as a whole, saw that & sensibly voted for the guy with the cool temperament, who pulled the nation back from a Great Depression-like brink & who still wants to work together with Congress to reform in a centrist way, just like the majority of the country wants to??

VDH replied:

Obama did not lower taxes; he is in the midst of raising them to new highs — at a time when states like California have already done so. Add up federal, state, local and payroll taxes and we have achieved record levels of taxation. And yet the added revenue will not make a dent in the deficit. What, then, will Obama do next when he gets his new taxes on “fat cats” and yet that contributes only $80 billion in new revenue against $1 trillion in annual deficits? I suggest there will be a new campaign against fat-cats 2.0.

His proposed defense cuts over the next decade will set a record. For Obamacare defense spending at a normal of 4% of GDP is apparently siphoning away funds from underfunded food stamps and unemployment insurance that have reached record highs. Note that the military often trains youth far better than do our universities that have helped to incur a $1 trillion-plus student loan bubble.

I don’t think anyone in the Heritage Foundation would claim Obamacare as their own; why 2,000 corporations and unions, covering 4 million people, received wavers is all ye need to know about it.

We shall see what “comprehensive immigration reform” turns out to be; but I suggest Obama and his open-border allies will wish far more than the DREAM act. Remember, “Punish our enemies” was his give-away line. Don’t expect a new legal immigration policy that ignores race and ethnic background but instead is merit-based and looks to education, English, skills, and capital.

I think even Bob Woodward conceded that Obama deliberately walked away from the Congressional budget deal. We talk grandly of the “Clinton-era tax rates,” never of the “Clinton-era spending rates.” In other words, when tax rates go back to the 1994 levels — and they will no doubt — then I doubt spending will return to previously agreed-on targets to ensure a balanced budget. More taxes will not cover vast new spending, so we will hear from Obama more unguarded moments like “You are fat cats plus,” “You have 2 corporate jets,” “You really, really, really did not pay your fair share,” and “You of course, certainly, most of all, did not build that business.” If 39% rates won’t cover 48 million on food stamps, maybe 59% might.

As for the Great Depression, Obama came into office not on September 16, 2008, but 4 months after the Freddie-Fannie meltdown, at a time when TARP and the first stimulus were already in play. Four years later there was no natural recovery, given the constant demonization of the private sector, the serial uncertainty over tax rates, the specter of Obamacare and new regulations and rules that did everything from shutting down the coal industry, denying most new permits for gas and oil exploration on federal lands, and trying to stop Boeing from opening a new plant. Usually sharp recessions are followed by robust recoveries; in Obama’s case chronic high unemployment, sluggish GDP growth, high food and fuel prices, and record level deficits and aggregate debt are the new normal. Angry reader #5 knows all this better than do we.

Under Obama federal spending has soared from 20% of GDP to 24% and is on its way up — what is centrist about that? Obama ran a very un-centrist campaign and raised nearly $1 billion to turn a decent Mitt Romney into an outsourcing plutocratic tax cheat, felon, and near killer of the uninsured who tortured his dog and beat up innocents when in prep school. That is the new “civility” and “no more red, no more blue states” con. The preacher who gave the benediction in 2008 at Obama’s inauguration declared right before the election that all white people belonged in hell — to complete silence from the Left. Is that too the new “centrism”?

©2012 Victor Davis Hanson

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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