If President Obama really means to wreck the U.S. economy (as many influential conservatives stridently insist) then why didn’t he finish the job when he had the chance—in September, 2008? The argument for Obama’s ruinous intentions can’t account for his unequivocal endorsement of the Bush financial rescue plan just two months before the presidential election.
According to those who believe that deliberate devastation represents the prime item on the presidential agenda, Barack Obama is a liberty-hating radical who wants to replace our free market system with a socialist dictatorship or, at best, a French-style welfare state. The president’s most suspicious detractors argue that the only way he can realize his Marxist dreams involves engineering the collapse of our free market system and then imposing a government-controlled economy more to his liking. This logic concludes that in order to cement his hold on power, he’ll eventually make the people so destitute and desperate that they will turn to federal protection in a state of utter dependence.
The most obvious rebuttal to these paranoid delusions concerns the re-election imperative. Barack Obama must face the electorate in just two and a half years, and presidents who preside over financial collapse or national hardship win scant support for “four more years.” With this in mind, it’s hard to imagine the president going to bed at night, praying the unemployment rate will rise the next day, or that the Dow Jones average will go down. Presidents yearn for positive economic outcomes not because they’re selfless humanitarians but because, like all politicians, they possess a well-developed instinct for self-preservation. If the economy crashes under Obama’s watch the public would be more likely to blame Obamunism rather than capitalism, and to throw out the Democrats before they threw out the free market system.