Bill Murchison
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Before he touted "revenge" as a motive for supporting his reapplication for the presidential job, Barack H. Obama wished voters to appreciate how icky-yucky he finds "top-down economics." He renewed the theme in his closing electoral appeal. "The folks at the very top" (with Obama, it's always folks, never "people" or "citizens," but let that go), we learn, "don't need another champion in Washington."

Did the gentleman ever get that one right! The top-down philosophy of governance -- I'm on top, and you're not -- has no more unbending champion in American politics than B. H. Obama himself.

What Obama wishes "folks" to envision when he talks his "top-down" talk is a suite-ful of bankers, hedge fund managers and the like, all dressed in pinstriped suits. "Top-down economics," the way the president means it, is they run the show while mere middle-class strivers battle for jobs and bread.

Such a proposition, it could be said, is rich indeed. The top of the top of the top today -- and for the foreseeable future -- is the collection of congressmen, jurists, regulators, functionaries, fixers and especially White House residents who see their mission as deciding what the nation needs, then supplying it, or at least pretending to.

We're all so inured to top-down economics by now that we can barely imagine what it would be like for Americans to flex their economic muscle in a free marketplace, without officials of the government telling them whom they may hire and how many applications they have to fill out, and then calculating how much tax the government expects to receive in return.

The Obama administration is into top-down economics big time. From the folks at the top two years ago came the command to insure 32 million uninsured "folks" at federally stipulated prices and with no recourse to alternative methods of acquiring health insurance. Do it our way, the folks at the top say, or submit to a special tax. The country's banking system acquired a new big brother at about the same juncture. The Dodd-Frank bill's 2,300 words of text are a playground for believers in the power of government to anticipate that which we all, apparently, need.

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Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
 
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