Larry Elder

To the extent America has gotten "soft," Obama can't mean working hours. The average American works longer hours than other people in the industrialized world, including the Japanese, the Germans and the British.

Nor does Obama, by "soft," mean the growing and unsustainable reliance on government. In 1900, government, at all three levels -- federal, state and local -- took about 10 percent of the American workers' pay. Today, if one assigns a price to unfunded federal mandates imposed on the states, government's take approaches 50 percent. Obama and his party encourage government growth and expect Americans to depend on it for health, welfare and retirement. These are, they tell us, "human rights."

So, let's recap the President's playbook.

Step one: Pursue a three-year course of extracting higher taxes; mandating costly new regulations, not least of which -- in ObamaCare -- represents a breathtaking expansion of federal power; and pass an FDR-like nearly trillion-dollar "stimulus" package.

Step two: Enact "look, we've done something!" regulations to "rein in Wall Street greed" -- regulations that have nothing to do with the Freddie/Fannie/Community Reinvestment Act housing meltdown. Sign "credit card reform" laws that prevent bankers from raising fees on "the defenseless." Never mind that banks roll their eyes and find other ways of keeping profits up. Funny how these bankers and other businesspeople seem not to consider their actions crooked. They think they operate in a competitive marketplace and owe a fiduciary obligation to shareholders to maximize shareholder return.

Step three: Let the investment community know that -- because they represent the enemy -- they're a piggy bank from which government can extract more and more without, of course, eroding the business community's willingness to risk capital. Expect the "greedy," "taxed-too-lightly" business community to absorb the higher taxes and costly regulation -- and yet continue to make the same hiring and investment decisions even as the White House vows to impose even more regulations and raise taxes even higher.

Step four: After succeeding in undermining economic growth through left-wing, redistributionist, government-can-capably-invest-in-green-jobs-of-the-future policies, accuse the business community of engaging in risk avoidance. Hammer them for "sitting" on "$2 trillion" in money. Tell them they should "get off the sidelines and expand. ... Get in the game."

Step five: Finally, accuse the American people of failing him, not the other way around.

We end with another quote from then-newly elected Barack Obama: "I will be held accountable. ... If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit