On his historic visit to Cuba back in March, President Obama lamented American policies such as the longstanding trade embargo. This fit the president’s pattern of apologizing for past American actions abroad. Many doubtless deserve criticism, but the president can find a better theme for apology in the actions and policies of his own administration on the domestic scene. After nearly eight years, embattled American taxpayers might be able to spot a few problems.
When Obama took office, the national debt was in the range of $10 trillion. When he leaves office, it will approach a staggering $20 trillion. This means that every child in America is born deep in debt, but the administration has shown no strategy to reduce the national debt, nor any desire to do so. Burdening future generations with fathomless debt is immoral, but no apology has been forthcoming from the White House or Congress.
As the current term winds down, the biggest expense for American families is not food, housing or education. In fact, in 2016 Americans will spend more on taxes than food, clothing and housing combined. Americans work until April 24, that’s 114 days into the year, to pay their tax burden, and this excludes local levies such as property and sales tax.
The President of the United States has given no indication that this heavy tax burden disturbs him in any way. So no surprise that the president shows no need for any apology, much less any sensible reform such as a flat tax.
In 2012 the Internal Revenue Service, the most powerful federal agency, was found to be improperly targeting groups advocating lower taxes and limited government. When this scandal hit the fan, the president feigned outrage and said he would get to the bottom of it.
By 2014 the president was claiming that “not a smidgeon of corruption” was involved. Therefore, no apology was necessary. Scandals such as “Fast and Furious,” in which the federal ATF allowed illegal gun sales, also failed to elicit an apology.
During difficult economic times, the president created a vast new entitlement, Obamacare. The president told the people that if they liked their current health insurance plan they could keep it. When this turned out to be false, the president offered no apology.
Likewise, the colossal failures of Obamacare triggered no apology, and neither did the president’s attempt to change the healthcare law by executive action, bypassing Congress, another pattern of his administration. None of this should come as any surprise.
As his two terms confirm, the president is a man shrink-wrapped in statist superstition. In his view, astronomical debt is never a problem and the unchecked growth of government is an unalloyed blessing. So the president duly saddles taxpayers with a new federal agency of dubious utility, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In this vision, as Orwell put it, Big Brother always knows best. This is the “progressive” transformation of the nation the president has been working to impose. In the kind of society the president wants, the people don’t get what they want. They get only what the government wants them to have.
What the people don’t get is an official apology, however massive the failure or deep the debt. On the foreign scene, meanwhile, the President of the United States has also come up short.
On his historic visit to Cuba, the president failed to name a single Cuban dissident or political prisoner, many of whom are black. He failed to call for free elections and his new policy leaves the white Castro dictatorship with total control.
Like those Olympic referees in the 1972 men’s basketball final, President Obama put time back on the clock for a loathsome Stalinist regime and showed not the slightest regret.
That shameful performance should loom large in his legacy.
|K. Lloyd Billingsley is Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent Briefing, California Water: A Case Study of Bureaucracy Versus Tradable, Private Water Rights.|