Christopher Merola

Think back to election night in November. Barack Obama held a huge rally in Chicago’s Grant Park. The total bill for Obama’s rally was $1,737,712, but the city of Chicago has yet to receive the money from Obama. The irony is Chicago is facing a $50.5 million budget shortfall leading to many layoffs. Where is the money Obama owes the city of Chicago?

When Obama let Congressional Democrats craft his so-called stimulus bill, the Wall Street Journal summed up the stimulus bill’s contents well on February 6, 2009 in an article called, “The Stimulus Tragedy,” which said, “A major cut in the corporate tax favored by Republicans could have been added to Democratic public works spending for a quick political triumph that might have done at least some economic good. Instead, Mr. Obama chose to let House Democrats write the bill, and they did what comes naturally: They cleaned out their intellectual cupboards and wrote a bill that is 90% social policy, and 10% economic policy.”

How is that possible? Obama was supposed to be an agent of change. The answer is easy, really: Obama and the Democrats don’t care about the details. They care only about grabbing more power for their party, which explains why they have championed a central planning model of economics (National Socialism) and are not backing down.

Consider Senator Frank Lautenberg, a member of the Democratic Socialists for America, who was illegally placed on the 2002 New Jersey ballot by the Democrat Governor of that state, only to have the Democrat dominated New Jersey Supreme Court approve it. Lautenberg said that no one would read the 1,100-page “stimulus” bill. It appears that was the plan all along. Obama actually promised that all legislation that he supported would be published on line for five days before signing it. That has yet to happen.

Obama took to the road to sell this sham of a stimulus. He held town hall meetings and tried to explain why the bill had to be passed. Along the way, he was caught in a lie. While holding a town hall meeting in East Peoria, Il., Obama said that Caterpillar CEO, Jim Owens told him, "… that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off." The media asked Owens about Obama’s statement and whether he will be able to rehire his laid-off workers. Owens said, "I think realistically no. The truth is we're going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again."

Senate Republicans tried to use some of the stimulus money to allow banks to finance home loans at 4% fixed for thirty years. Senate Democrats refused. So the stimulus bill was never about improving the economy. It was about funding liberal causes that will give Obama and his Democrat friends more control of our lives.

Economist John Lott put it this way: "With 90 million tax filers who actually pay taxes, the $787 billion means the average taxpayer will pay over $8,700. By itself, adding $8,700 to the average tax bill should get everyone's attention. But recently Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion bloated spending bill that he calls a stimulus bill.”

On February 12th, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published another article concerning the final version of the stimulus bill. WSJ stated that, “only 12 % of the Democrat stimulus bill could be used for any kind of economic stimulus or job creation." Again, the stimulus bill was never about creating jobs or boosting the economy.

Another destructive component of this so-called stimulus bill was the repeal of the Republican-led 1996 Welfare reform legislation. Bill Clinton vetoed Republican-led welfare reform legislation twice before signing it the third time. 1996 was an election year after all and Clinton gave in to the pressure of his political consultants. The result of the Republican led welfare reform bill was literally millions of Americans moving off of welfare roles and into the workforce. Now, Obama and the Democrats have taken us back to the welfare on demand policies that existed prior to 1996.

Some say this is all just a matter of good intentions by the Democrats, but power is tempting and that is what the stimulus bill is all about – stimulating power for Obama and his party. The reliance on government intervention, which is what crashed the economy in the first place, will yield a terrible disaster for us all. The spending of so much money will have to be done by way of the printing of all that money. This will lead to hyperinflation and the devaluing of the dollar. In other words, the buying power of all Americans will greatly decrease. We will have to pay more to purchase less consumer goods with a devalued currency that will be worth less on the open market.

Putting the cost of the stimulus bill into perspective, it is about equal to the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. Imagine, the Democrats screamed at the cost of those two wars over the course of five and seven years, only to essentially match that amount of spending in one single bill! Only one month into his administration and Obama and the Democrats have made George W. Bush look like a spendthrift. Newsweek magazine even went so far as to publish on its Feb 16, 2009 cover: "We Are All Socialists Now."

Following the playbook of Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), a godlike figure to the Democrats, Obama and his party do not think they can tax and spend our way into prosperity; they see this economic crisis as an opportunity to grab more power for themselves – something Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff alluded to when he recently said, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Nobel Prize winner Edward Prescott and his fellow colleague Ellen McGrattan examined FDR’s New Deal and found some interesting facts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average did not return to its Calvin Coolidge/Republican led booming numbers until the mid 1950’s. FDR’s government programs like Public Works Administration did not give millions of Americans jobs by the fall of 1933 like FDR promised. In fact, unemployment was at 20% when FDR became President and at 19% when WW II began. That is hardly a success story.

FDR’s own Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., had this to say about FDR’s New Deal: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work." He went on to say that the New Deal left the nation with, "as much unemployment as when we started… and an enormous debt." Yet, Obama has said that FDR did not spend enough money. Are you kidding me? If spending all that money during the Great Depression only made matters worse, what happens if Obama and the Democrats spend even more money?

In 2004, UCLA economists Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian examined FDR’s New Deal. They found that the New Deal actually suppressed business competition, kept unemployment at high levels and prolonged the Great Depression by seven years. Harold Cole said, "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened." In other words, if FDR and the Democrats had done nothing at all, the Great Depression would have ended in 1933 as market forces would have kicked in.

Robert Whaples of Wake Forest University also conducted a study on the New Deal in 1995. He and the economists in the study came to the same conclusion, which Whaples summed up when he stated, “Taken as a whole, government policies of the New Deal served to lengthen and deepen the Great Depression.”

So there you have it. The same liberal government interference that caused the housing crisis and the downturn in our economy will be employed again and again by the Obama administration. This crisis will just keep getting worse each time Obama and the Democrats interfere with the free market. In fact, the stock market actually fell farther and harder in January of 2009 than it did it under George W. Bush in September of 2008. Is this the change we can believe in? The Democrats are way in over their heads and Barack Obama is in a position that is well above his pay grade. We should all be extremely concerned for our nation.


Christopher Merola

Christopher Merola is the President of Red Momentum Strategies, LLC, a conservative political strategy and communications company in Washington, DC.