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Obama and the United States of China

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Amazing. President Barack Obama's Democratic Party keeps plummeting in the generic polls that measure Americans' party preferences. Yet the president has taken what looks like nothing less than a calculated move to assure the destruction of Democratic rule in Congress, all supposedly in the name of getting the nation moving again.

His proposal to spend more government stimulus money is going over like a skunk at a garden party, both with the public and even with many Democrats. Still, the president stays on message. He's refusing to extend the George W. Bush tax cuts, even though the economy is crying out for it, and even as many of his own party mates are arguing for an extension.

Between Obama's tin-eared reaction to the ground zero mosque and this latest spate of tax-and-spend government and further centralization of federal power, it's getting harder not to entertain the notion that the president might like to see a majority-Republican Congress for the next two years. That way he could shunt the blame to them and put himself in a better position to get re-elected.

What has this to do with China? One need only have read a recent article in The Economist to know that China's leaders are expressing their desire to decentralize their national government and to edge, if slowly, toward a further embracing of entrepreneurship.

Another report has it that Walt Disney Corp. plans to increase its presence of what are essentially privatized schools in China. Parents of these schoolchildren are paying what to them is an emperor's ransom so that their children are educated in state-of-the-art classrooms where they learn to speak English as well as American kids.

So we have China, still one of the world's most powerful communist, totalitarian nations, beginning to see the lighted way to a prosperous future. They're backing off from government centralization, and they're experimenting with alternatives to traditional public education. And then we have America, where President Obama seems hell-bent on more government centralization and essentially more of the same for schools.

I need not exaggerate to make my point. China and America aren't about to participate in a political version of a magnetic pole-switch. For a long while we will continue to have a far more open government and a far freer market than they do.

But the disturbing trends remain. Too rapidly our nation is adopting, piecemeal, policies that one would expect more from Beijing than from Washington. Individual states, too, are drifting in this direction. It seems every day that we read about a state legislature wanting to monitor the prescription drugs we take, how and when we use cell phones, and even the foods and soft drinks we consume.

Government in America has run amuck. The Obama administration displays either ignorance of, or contempt for, fundamental economic principles. They see government as good for whatever ails us, and even for what doesn't. And they are moving at a dizzying rate to make their agenda our everyday reality.

I've written often that the White House is flying blind on its tax-cut proposals for small businesses. Talk of accelerated credits for these businesses to buy equipment sounds dandy. Trouble is, most of them aren't turning a profit, nor can they get a loan. They're usually owned by one or a few people who can derive no benefit from the "tax cuts" being proposed.

Parallel to this, and as I've mentioned, the president is fighting tooth-and-nail against some members of his own Democratic Party to end the Bush tax cuts at the end of the year. Such a policy would have a catastrophic effect on employment. We would again see small businesses refrain from hiring and spending.

Again, I've begun to believe that Obama is playing it shrewdly, if cynically, with his intra-party squabbling among Democrats. He knows full well that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are political dead weight. And he had to know the consequences for public opinion when he weighed in on the proposed building of an Islamic center near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York.

Yet he keeps on with comments one might expect to have been lifted from "Sayings of Chairman Mao." Perhaps the Obama team could recruit some Chinese government officials to hit the election trail here this fall. Some Sino-rhetoric likely would appeal more to American voters than the confusing, hyper-liberal message that the president has chosen at this critical juncture for his party -- not to mention for the nation he supposedly leads.

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