Donald Lambro

In the 1980s President Reagan neatly described the government's economic policies before he came into office this way: "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." Reagan's characterization of the government's approach to the U.S. economy at that time eerily fits the description of Obama's anti-growth, anti-job- creation economic policies now.

The Congressional Budget Office, some of Obama's top advisers and business economists are forecasting high unemployment and anemic, subpar growth well into next year and beyond. There are no substantive economic-policy initiatives in the works to boost growth to get this country moving again, except much higher taxes, more regulation by an army of bureaucrats and, in the end, more bailouts.

There's nothing wrong with the American economy, its employers, workers, and venture capitalists that lower tax rates, incentives to invest and much smaller government cannot fix. We need to create a free market, free-enterprise growth environment for this to begin taking place.

We didn't become the largest and richest economy in the world by punishing success with higher taxes and wall-to-wall regulations that will hit every business and every consumer in the country. This is a recipe for economic decline. The Obamacrats are trying to convince us that this economy is the "new normal" and that we have to get used to slower economic growth for years to come in what they foresee as the age of limits.

Ronald Reagan strode into office declaring that there are no limits on what free Americans can achieve, that we have entered "the age of the entrepreneur." Obama, however, came into office declaring that this is the Age of Bigger Government that will now provide for all of our needs, if we give up more of our freedoms and turn over more of our income to Washington.

But government cannot create jobs, as we have seen over the past two years.

It can destroy them, however, as we've witnessed in the deteriorating economy and declining jobs numbers this summer.

"The economic ills we suffer ... will not go away in the days, weeks or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now, as we've had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom," Reagan said after taking office in 1981.

As America descended into the 1981-82 recession, Reagan cut tax rates across the board, championed American capitalism and reignited the optimistic spirit of a dispirited nation. The economy shot upward, with astounding quarterly growth rates and jobs that rose at the rate of 200,000 to 400,000 per month. America has never lost its capacity to repeat that performance, and will do so again under a new leader who believes in the power of economic freedom to create wealth, put Americans back to work, and rekindle the American dream.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.