Austin Hill

Are the President and the Congress trying to send our economy in to a recession?

They’re probably not trying to, no. But with the current governing philosophy in Washington, a recession has become an acceptable means to a necessary end. And the intended “end” doesn’t necessarily entail economic growth and prosperity.

That sounds harsh, I know. But think it through with me. Because as the nation’s media has been obsessed about the “fiscal cliff” and whether or not the President and congressional Republicans will work out an agreement to forestall it, insufficient attention has been paid to how the President and congressional Democrats have augmented their agenda in the past couple of weeks. Journalist Ron Scherer was, as far as I can tell, the first to catch on, with a story he published at Yahoo! News and in the Christian Science Monitor.

Sherer noted in a November 30th news story that in the midst of the “fiscal cliff” tax rate negotiations, President Obama had added a little extra talking point to his campaign for higher taxes on “rich” people. While promoting his tax hike plan in Ohio that day, he slipped in a little “oh, and by the way let’s do another $255 billion stimulus package.” Scherer surmised that the President was proposing more stimulus spending as a means of “offsetting” the impact of his own proposed tax hikes.

But what, precisely, would need to be “offset,” if President Obama’s tax hike agenda prevails? The President just completed a successful re-election campaign claiming that raising taxes on “rich people” would be good for the economy, yet it now appears that he wants more stimulus spending as a means of saving our economy from his own economic policies. This would seem to be, at the very least, a tacit admission from the President that raising taxes on individual people – even those awful “rich people” among us – does, indeed cause a slowdown in economic activity, and may very well bring about a recession.

So what if officials in our government chose to pursue neither of these agendas? That is, what if we did not deploy governmental power to confiscate greater proportions of wealth from private individuals (that is, what if the government didn’t raise income taxes), and what if our government didn’t spend more tax dollars to “stimulate” the economy? If the tax hikes were eliminated, then perhaps the need for a stimulating “offset” would be eliminated, as well.

That’s a plausible idea, if the country’s agenda is economic growth and prosperity. But that is not the agenda of President Obama and his party. By taking more money away from “rich”people and by spending more money on “stimulus projects,” the President is able to control more wealth that is currently in possession of private individuals, and then re-distribute that wealth to people whom he believes are deserving of it and spend it on things that are important to him.

Shortly after the President began his new stimulus push, former Democratic National Committee Chairman (and former presidential candidate) Howard Dean made some extraordinary remarks of his own about the economy. In an interview at MSNBC, Dean stated that he wants the across-the-board income tax increases entailed in the “fiscal cliff” scenario, and welcomed the resulting outcome. “Will it cause a problem?” he asked rhetorically. “Yes. There will be a short recession, and it will be painful.” Yet despite this “painful recession” that Dean believes will ensue, he nonetheless expressed exuberance for the higher tax rates and the cuts in military spending that will result as well.

That was an amazing admission. For Dean, it seems that a recession is an acceptable means to the intended end: government control of private wealth. In this scenario, it doesn’t matter so much that working individuals and families often lose jobs, careers, and homes in recessions. Those are unfortunate things, sure, but when the goal is government control of the economy, personal prosperity ceases to be a priority.

If this sounds far too conspiratorial, consider the report last week about the President’s squabble with non-profit charities. In a December 13th news story, the Washington Post reported that the Obama Administration was leveling a threat to the leaders of high-profile charity groups: either publicly support the President’s tax hike plan, or face the possibility that the President will seek to reduce tax deductions for charitable contributions.

We’re talking here about long-standing, reputable groups like the American Red Cross, United Way, the Salvation Army, and World Vision. And yes, if charitable donors couldn’t deduct the amount they donate from their income taxes, they probably wouldn’t donate as much – which would hurt charitable groups. But again, the goal of the Administration is controlling private wealth, and the prosperity of private individuals and organizations is not a priority.

A majority of Americans seem oblivious to the President’s economic control agenda in Washington -either that, or they’re comfortable with it. Multiple polls show the President is regarded as more trustworthy on economic issues than his political opponents in Congress are right now. And pollster Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports recently found that only 54% of Americans still believe that economic prosperity is more important than economic “fairness” (“fairness” being the promise of politicians who seek to control private wealth and re-distribute it).

Will America return to a pathway of prosperity? Or have we resigned ourselves to the President’s will for our lives?


Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.