Paul Jacob

In little more than a week, Barack Obama assumes the office of president of the United States and, once again, all will be right with the world.

At least, that’s how some see it. Me? I haven’t consumed any of that Kool-Aid.

It may be that Obama will bring some positive change to the federal government. But just how much harm will his big-government philosophy pile on? Coming from Chicago’s Democratic machine via less than a full term as arguably the most liberal United States senator, Obama offers mostly grist for the skeptics’ mill.

It remains unlikely that we’ll see any meaningful reform, and surely no shrinking of big government.

But remember, President Obama is not acting alone. He will have accomplices.

Though the outgoing Congress earned the lowest public approval scores in the history of such polls, soon-to-be President Obama certainly seems to be counting on the new, even worse, Congress.

Unprecedented for a president-elect, Obama made a national television address before his inauguration to urge swift action on the economy. NBC News reported, “While short on specifics, Barack Obama said that Congress needs to act fast.”

We’ve been getting this “short on specifics” stuff a lot lately. In fact, close to 100 percent of the time. Little explanation or analysis. No deliberation. No transparency. No accountability. Just hysterical (or in Obama’s case: much calmer) pleas to do something — anything!

And fast. Ándale! Ándale!

Has anyone considered the possibility that neither Obama nor Congress has a magic wand with which to wave away our economic troubles? So far, talk of spending an eight or ninth or tenth trillion on more bailouts of failing companies and giving tax cuts to people not paying any taxes are the best things they have come up with.

Where will they get more trillions? The dough could come from us in the form of very unpopular higher taxes, but that too obviously defeats the purpose of this Dr. Frankenstein game. More likely the money will be borrowed (please, President Hu Jintao) and then the money plus interest will be repaid by our children and grandchildren, through onerous taxes.

Or they could simply print lots of new money. Inflating the money might spur the economy for a time. But, long-term, it would steal much of what’s left from those who have managed to save.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.