Progressive economic policies generate disastrous results. High government spending; over-regulation; higher taxes or their current equivalent, borrowing stifle business investment and economic growth; generous unemployment benefits "stimulate" more unemployment.
Obama and the leftists don't get it. The more government gets involved in the economy, the more dependent people become on government, and the weaker becomes the private economy. That is what is happening now, and will continue to happen as long as anti-capitalist leftists are running Washington.
As I have been writing for years, the left is in love with the Depression and its imagery. They were therefore determined to recreate it by crashing the economy. Then they could be the "government to the rescue" types they have dreamed about. FDR envy is at the center of the Obama administration.
I am an empiricist, and there is a big difference between an ideologue and an empiricist.
An ideologue, like Obama, believes what he believes with religious fervor, in spite of the facts. The belief stems from a sense of "how things should be" rather than an understanding of how they are.
Therefore, Obama can continue to argue for Keynesian stimulus because it might cause a temporary blip in GDP, without any thought about the long-term consequences of the other side of the balance sheet, the debt that must be taken to support the Keynesian stimulus.
An empiricist, alternatively, observes the functioning of the world and develops opinions based on observation of reality. This is a scientific approach to developing theories and policies.
I support policies that encourage business investment because I have observed that business investment is what creates jobs, wealth, and economic growth. I don't support it as a matter of ideological belief, but because of what I have seen happen in reality.
Now, of course I know what liberals will say before they even say it--that I am wrong and that their observations of reality lead you to opposite conclusions: that government drives the economy and government spending is good; that business is greedy and thinking only of itself; etc. and all the other leftist tropes that are bandied about so easily as if they are facts.
At core, though, the leftist world view is predicated on a framework of understanding that is warped. Call it deconstructionism or socialism, it begins with an assumption that traditional observation of reality using the scientific method is "a choice" or "an opinion" or "a perspective." Therefore, alternative perspectives and opinions are equally valid, even if they began in the mind of a philosopher rather than in observation of the world.
This approach also enables the left to discount empirical theories as just alternative "ideologies," even if they are based on observable reality.
Leftist ideology doesn't work in the real world. Leftist economics don't work in the real world. Those are observable facts.
The Constitution recognizes that citizens, individually and collectively, have natural rights that are derived from our Creator. In the interest of order and the common good, we grant some of these rights--a specifically and deliberately limited set--to government.
At some point, government began reversing this order--beginning with the Progressive Era and accelerating through the New Deal, the Great Society, and the Obama overreach. Now we have a large group of miseducated people who see government as a grantor, rather than a grantee, of rights.
In a limited government, people are left to decide many things for themselves. These things are decidedly outside of politics, as they should be.
The Church you go to is your own business, not the governments.
How to educate your children is your own business. Yet the government and union-run schools are rife with ideological indoctrination of our children.
Finance is not, or should not be, a political construct. One person wants to loan money; another wants to borrow. Government may play a role in establishing and supporting laws to ensure that the terms of the transaction are fully disclosed; government may support the establishment of markets. Government should not dictate the terms of the financing, such as who gets money.
Once politics becomes involved in finance, money is misdirected based on political ideology rather than based on market decisions (meaning, the aggregated decisions of millions of people about how they want to spend their own money).
In case some people haven't noticed, we already have a two-class society: those who contribute and those who receive. The upper 10% of income earners pay 50% of federal taxes; the bottom 50% pay nothing and most receive government transfer payments. We are thus incenting people to do little, and punishing those who do a lot.
Barack Obama is, at core, a socialist. Socialist believe that all wealth is the result of some crime committed by the "haves" against the "have-nots." He then spins this invented concept into narratives that he uses to hector his political opponents, manipulate the media, and manipulate a large portion of the populace that doesn't delve deeply enough into the construct of these narratives to question them.
After 6 years of full-fledged assault on free market capitalism, it is logical to assume there will be even more such in the coming 2 years by the Obama administration.
Conservatives have to pound the message that government is not the solution. That individual effort is the key. This will not resonate with the liberal left. They simply don't understand markets or they distrust markets.
I'm guessing there is a large enough percentage of Americans who inherently understand that the government causes many more problems than it purports to solve. I'm guessing there are enough that would understand an elected official who would say, we propose to get out of your way, so you are free to make your own decisions in your own best interest, and to provide necessary minimal government backstops in cases of extreme destitution.