When Obama promised "hope and change" as a candidate, I think he had in mind a new paradigm, one of restructuring America's economic system in his image rather than triggering economic growth, though he wanted the electorate to believe that growth was his focus.
The economy had turned south by the time Obama was trumpeting that platitude, but that was largely caused by liberal affordable housing policies -- the very type of program Obama would promote in office.
The dismal state of the economy played into Obama's hands, but I dare say he would have pushed for hope and change regardless of economic conditions, because he was offering more than economic solutions. He presented himself as the whole package -- a quasi-deity who would transform the entire country, slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.
With a backdrop of spiritually bankrupt people who were ripe for the lie that government could fill that god-shaped void in their beings, Obama strategically milked his messianic mirage. He constructed Greek columns, produced ethereal voice echo effects and adopted a conspicuous head-lift affectation to build a cultlike following that even ensnared a number of frighteningly credulous self-styled conservatives, such as New York Times columnist David Brooks.
How has Obama done if we measure his promise of hope and change in purely economic terms? Well, despite his tired efforts to scapegoat former President George W. Bush and the global markets, this is his economy, and it is demonstrably worse in every imaginable category. He has given us change, but it is destructive change. He has given us hope, but it is hope that the nightmare he has engineered will soon be over.
But what if, instead, we gauge Obama's promise in broader terms? It's more apparent every day that he was not talking about improving the economic misery index when he promised hope and change -- though he certainly exploited the recession that serendipitously coincided with his campaign to imply that he was.
To be properly interpreted, the phrase has to be considered along with his pledge to fundamentally change America and his frequent allusions to "spreading the wealth around." He had in mind changing the "social contract" between America and its people.
Just look at the recent viral video of Elizabeth Warren, his former financial reform adviser, who essentially tells us that America's economic winners have been successful on the backs of the poor. Part of the "social contract," says Warren, is to "take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." Can you hear echoes of Obama's "spread the wealth around" here?
Like Obama, Warren doesn't believe capitalism is a fair or moral system. Nor is Warren an isolated example. Nearly every one of Obama's czars shares this Marxist mindset.
Most socialists are not about economic prosperity. Oh, they'll use Keynesian theory that deficit spending stimulates economic growth to justify their demand for more government expenditures. But in the end, Obama's "stimulus" package wasn't even fair to John Maynard Keynes.
Don't get me wrong; the obscene forced federal expenditures wouldn't have succeeded in stimulating the economy even if Obama had used them for that purpose. But he didn't, and it is pretty hard to deny in hindsight that he never intended to.
Before he commandeered the $868 billion, he assured us it would go to shovel-ready jobs and get people back to work again. It was only after the fact that he cynically laughed in our faces about the unavailability of such jobs. (He's doing the same thing all over again with his latest jobs bill.)
Despite his promise that he would strictly account for this money and watchdog against its waste, he threw gobs of it away to locations with phantom ZIP codes, to ACORN-like political allies, to unions and to corrupt environmental wastelands, such as Solyndra.
There was no private-sector economic multiplier effect for any of Obama's stimulus expenditures. The only multiplier effect in this and his other spending bills was in the public sector. Obama furtively tucked into these bills many perpetually sustaining federal programs that would remain with us, continue to grow and further choke the private sector.
Thus, if you measure Obama's promise of hope and change against his true intention, he might well be succeeding. As one who believes that America's free market is unfair, he has gone a long way toward shaking up that structure -- and he's not even close to being finished. He has taken from the producers and redistributed to those his administration deems worthy of the transfer payments.
Obama may not be deliberately destroying the U.S. economy, but he is implementing policies that are allowing the central planners to pick the winners and losers and, in the process, smothering the private sector and wrecking our fiscal future.