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Obama’s Choice on Poverty By: John Ellis
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 23, 2009

There is still much abject poverty in the world, and it is axiomatic for many on the left that America is to blame: greedy Americans have, apparently, got their hands on a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth by exploiting the labor and resources of other peoples. Of course any theory that ignores the way in which our political culture creates prosperity by releasing the talents and energies of its people is not likely to impress those of us who are less determined to find fault with our own country. And yet we may at last be seeing the emergence of a more solid basis for the view that America is causing world poverty and starvation—though not in a way that the left imagined.

What is clear is that America’s economic crisis is leading a world economic recession, and that if this administration were to mishandle the situation badly enough, the result would be a dramatic increase in world poverty: in already marginal situations throughout the world, we could cause untold suffering. And so, given their history of lamenting American insensitivity to its impact on the world’s poor, we might expect liberals to keep their eyes firmly fixed on what their new administration is doing to those people, pressing for a change of course if American policy is putting them at risk.

But already the signs are not good. Any careful observer of the world economy knows that India and Ireland are two dramatic cases of a huge recent improvement in the condition of the poor. And there is no doubt how this happened: a greatly improved climate for business was created by sharp reductions in taxes on businesses and individuals. But the Obama administration is going in exactly the opposite direction with its anti-business measures, and as a result the stock market has dropped sharply and prospects for a quick recovery are sliding with it. Each thousand points of the Dow represents nearly half a trillion dollars of wealth taken out of the hands of businesses and individuals. If a few dollars of Obama tax rebates is supposed to stimulate the economy, how anti-stimulative is it to take a trillion dollars out of the hands of businesses and individuals through policies that predictably drive the market sharply down? How much weaker will this make the world economy, and how much more misery will it create for the world’s poor? Liberals, you people of the always prominently displayed and over-active conscience, are you paying attention yet?

Confidence is key in any economy, and confidence is rapidly evaporating as Obama is increasingly seen as a man who has no idea what he is doing--one with no understanding of economics and in the grip of the economically destructive ideas of ivory tower university radicals. Fear is spreading as Obama courts hyper-inflation with massive spending and deficits, conducts a war through every conceivable tax increase against business and wealth creators, burdens us with massive new entitlements when we can’t even pay for the ones we already have, and adopts growth-stifling new regulations in the pursuit of an ideological wish list. But the liberals who elected Obama knew perfectly well that he was inexperienced, knew nothing of economics, and kept company with economically illiterate radicals obsessed with getting even with the business class. There can be no excuses here. If liberals want to stop what they have done from spreading misery and privation throughout the world, they will now have to summon some honesty and realism. Will they accept responsibility and try to protect the world’s poor from the consequences of their actions? Or will they instead protect themselves from embarrassment, hide from this issue, and let those people rot?

But what can they now do? Let’s do a little Einsteinian thought experiment. What would happen if the bogus and highly inflationary stimulus package were repealed (as it could be with Republican and non-radical Democrat votes), and replaced with known growth-producing measures--sharp cuts in corporate taxes, capital gains, and the like. In our thought experiment, what then happens to the stock market? Nobody could be in any doubt about that. It would rally strongly, probably by something between one and two thousand points. Again, in our thought experiment, what would be the effect of that on employment? The rally would put up to a trillion dollars back into the hands of businesses and consumers. (Once more, this dwarf’s Obama’s tiny tax rebate “stimulus”.) That would mean greatly increased consumer confidence and spending, and consequently increased employment. Increased employment leads to even more consumer spending, and thus even more employment. The downward vicious cycle would be reversing itself, and we should be moving out of the recession. The deficit would also be reduced as tax revenues increase. America’s economy would begin to have a stimulative effect on the world economy. The world’s poor would see improvement in their condition.

What stands in the way of this scenario? Certainly, the radicalized sector of the Democratic party, grimly committed to its war on its own society, doesn’t really care about the collateral damage in that war. But if the more genuinely liberal wing of the Democratic party were to overcome its embarrassment and make a determined attempt to halt the damage to the desperately poor of the world that its votes have set in motion, it could force a change in economic policy. As for the rest of us, even if we think this is not likely to happen, we should make sure that liberals understand very clearly both the meaning of the choice that faces them, and the fact that we shall not want to hear any more lectures from them about how America (themselves never included) oppresses the world’s poor.

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