John Stossel

I say "appear" because they never actually do it.

President Obama came in full of promises. What's he accomplished? He expanded George W. Bush's dangerous debt. Government spending sets peacetime records. He proposed nothing serious to bring Medicare under control. He didn't curtail our role as world policeman -- on the contrary, the administration routinely bombs several populations by remote control. Military spending continues to grow.

Here's what I wish Obama would say this week:

"I was wrong to expand government the way I have. I overreached. Modern liberalism put us on an unsustainable course. I will save America by restoring limited government that keeps the peace but then leaves free people alone."

Hey, I can hope.

Mr. President, like you, I believe in social justice. But I believe in Thomas Jefferson's idea of social justice: a free society where people are unimpeded by bureaucrats and politicians; where people freely trade goods and services -- that is, cooperate -- without anyone telling us what to do.

It means that the government won't engage in what Frederic Bastiat called "legal plunder"-- taking resources from some (mostly working people) to bestow them on others.

That's genuine liberalism -- original liberalism. You, Mr. President, have bought into the upside-down distortion of liberalism, where government runs things (much of it on behalf of cronies -- the well-heeled and well-connected) and the rest of us follow directions.

That's not liberalism. Let's call it what it is: corporatism, state socialism, crony capitalism. Liberalism is about liberty: individual freedom and free markets.

Only that can bring us the real hope and change that freedom represents.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate