Saturday, February 27, 2010

The coming political tsunami

By the time the tsunami hit Hawaii today it was pretty tame. But there is a huge political tsunami that is headed to Washington, and it is expected to hit in early November of this year. This chart, which shows Obama's Approval Index hitting an all-time low for the second time, is the evidence for my claim.

The chart makes it clear that more and more people strongly disapprove with what Obama is doing, at the same time that fewer and fewer strong approve. Obama and the Dems seem to think the reason for this is that they haven't done enough to advance the liberal agenda, but for any objective observer, I think it's clear that they have tried to do way too much.

The sudden birth of the Tea Party movement about a year ago was like the first of a swarm of earthquakes that have since generated bigger and bigger aftershocks. The Massachusetts election of Scott Brown last month was not only a major aftershock, but it eclipsed all of the prior ones. Just two days ago was the healthcare reform summit, another major aftershock. (Don't miss Peggy Noonan's excellent description here.) The tsunami waves have been set in motion, and they are traveling all around the 50 states, gathering momentum and amplification as the errors of Washington collide with political topography of the country.

Are there enough Democrats really willing to sacrifice everything in order to engineer a government takeover of almost one-fifth of the economy? Rahming it through via reconciliation is surely a no-win situation. The public doesn't support the package at all, and any attempt to force it through, especially if more behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing is necessary to accomplish it, will only sour the public even more. I don't see Nancy Pelosi getting the votes. And the harder she tries, the worse it's going to be. And even if the bill does somehow pass, it is so riddled with fatal flaws that it is unlikely to ever be implemented.

So my sense is that Democrats will be scurrying for high ground in the months to come, just as the residents of Hawaii evacuated the shoreline this morning in advance of the tsunami's arrival. Gridlock will be the likely result, and that's a very good thing at this point.

The true path to high ground lies in radically scaling back the ambitions of Washington lawmakers. Otherwise, they are going to be swamped. Mark Steyn has a good analogy for all this:

While Barack Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand new, even more unsustainable entitlement at the health care "summit," thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split-screen - because they're part of the same story. It's just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They're at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is further upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided, instead, that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe.

Think of Greece as California: Every year an irresponsible and corrupt bureaucracy awards itself higher pay and better benefits paid for by an ever-shrinking wealth-generating class. In Greece, they've run out Greeks, so they'll stick it to the Germans... in America, Obama, Pelosi and Reid are saying we need to paddle faster to catch up with the Greeks and Germans. What could go wrong?

We need to stop the runaway growth of government, entitlement programs, wealth redistribution, transfer payments and taxes, and we need to send politicians to Washington who understand this. I think this can happen, and that's one reason why I remain optimistic. The coming political tsunami is going to wash away a lot of the deadwood and corruption in Washington, and it's going to leave in its place a new generation of politicians who understand that the best thing for the country is to just leave the people alone.


Anonymous said...

Why weren't you worried about the government getting bigger during the Bush administration? Remember the Patriot Act? What is wrong with you?

In a way that was inconceivable when he took office, Bush—the advance man for the "ownership society," smaller and more trustworthy government, and a humble foreign policy—increased the size and scope of the federal government to unprecedented levels.

Think for a moment about the thousands of Transportation Security Administration screeners—newly minted government employees all—who continue to confiscate contact-lens solution and nail clippers while, according to nearly every field test, somehow failing to notice simulated bombs in passenger luggage.

Or schoolchildren struggling under No Child Left Behind, which federalized K-12 education to an unprecedented degree with nothing to show for it other than greater spending tabs. Or the bizarrely structured Medicare prescription-drug benefit, the largest entitlement program created since LBJ. Or the simple reality that taxpayers now guarantee some $8 trillion in inscrutable loans to a financial sector that collapsed from inscrutable loans.

Scott Grannis said...

As I have said in many posts over the past 18 months, I was extremely disappointed in the Bush administration, and there is no denying that Bush allowed way too much growth in the size of government. I'm most definitely NOT an apologist for Bush. Bush went too far, but then Obama, who many thought might steer a new course, instead pushed the big government lever to the max. Bush was symptomatic of the problem, while Obama has acted as the catalyst for a huge wave of discontent.

Bill said...

I think Duck is right about Bush. Instead of tax and spend, he implemented borrow from the Chinese and spend. I wish we could get a true Libertarian elected, but then they seem to put up wing-nuts for candidates. I think the answer is divided government with gridlock like we had with Clinton. It's never a good idea to have one party in power. I'm also beginning to wonder if the Tea Party movement will fall to the right wing-nuts.

Paul said...

I agree with Duck for the most part. Bush spent far too much on failed Liberal programs. However, he did kick alot of terrorist ass and liberated millions of people. Surely that counts for something.

W.E. Heasley said...

The large size and scope of government is basically the result of “progressivism” over the last 100 years. Make no mistake, progressives exist in both the democrat and republican parties. The entire situation has become one big Cadillac plan.

The government somehow is going to provide for the needs of roughly one half the population by taxing the other half of the population. The taxed segment is saying stop it or we will pull a John Galt.

The polls say stop it. Greece and California are warning signs saying stop. But as Thomas Sowell would surely tell us, the anointed/intelligentsia view creates a imaginary world for the benefit of one another intellectual and they collectively push their view onto the public through verbal virtuosity.

However, this view of “how things should be” has produced run away government and runaway spending leading to unmanageable debt (Greece and California). In other words, the “how it should be” view has produced a pathetic result and this glaring example of the cumulative progressive policies give the tragic/objective view the upper hand as they can quickly point to the dismal results created by the collection of the progressive movement policies over time.

Benjamin Cole said...

An "ever shrinking wealth generating class"?

Mark Perry often runs charts and posts relating to the higher-than-ever per capita income of Americans (pre-recession), and that it USA per-cap income is the highest in the world, save for a few small nations.

Moreover, most charts show increasing concentrations of wealth in the USA--if the wealthy want to deply their money to starting up business etc, they have the means, like never before. Capital is everywhere.

There is also a fundamental misunderstanding about the federal budget. The huge entitlement programs are largely financed by payroll taxes (Medicare, SS).

The federal income tax, 70 percent of it, it eaten up by the Department of Defense, USDA, VA, Commerce, Interior and debt.

You want to cut your federal income taxes--now you know where to cut outlays. Good luck--aside from debt, all the above agencies are favorites of Red Ink Republicans, Red State Socialists and militarists. And we have to pay the debt.

BTW, the biggest tax break is for homeowners, and the bigger and more expensive the home, and the higher your income tax bracket, the bigger your break is. You want to end that tax break, so everyone has a lower rate?

All that said, I am dubious about Obama's health care program, I was against Bush's drug program,and I think we should cap federal outlays at 15 percent of GDP, and then argue about how to allocate it.

I really don't care if people beat up on Obama--what I regret is that by doing so, there is zero trenchant analysis of the glaring runaway-red ink supertanker sailed by the Republican Party, which has crashed on shore several times already.

It began with Reagan--Red Ink Republicanism. No R-Party prezzy has even proposed federal black ink in a half-century. 50 years! What is the definition of insanity--doing the same thing over and over and expecting a change?

So who to vote for? Maybe Tea Party, but they strike me as whack-jobs.

I see this as America's Achilles Heel--the inability to pare down debt.

Paul--I don't know if establishing a Shiite state in Iraq is "liberating" people. Well, you mean, except for women and religious minorities (most Christians and Jews have had to leave Iraq). We spent $1 trillion in Iraq, or about $50k for every man, women and child in that nation. Now Maliki make nice with Iran--fellow Shiites.

The oddity is that there was the secular state of Turkey nearby, with a Moslem population--a role model.

investment catcher said...
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ronrasch said...

We have given up to much control in education, environment,and social benefits to the federal government. The cost is seen in soaring budget deficits.
Large federal programs such as the Great Society and the stimulus bill were expensive failures. Now Obama and the radical left want even more of them. The majority of Americans want limited government, a stable dollar, and a strong defense. The data above supports the belief that O's agenda is not the right course for America

marcusbalbus said...


brodero said...

Who will lead the Tsunami???

Paul said...

"It began with Reagan--Red Ink Republicanism. No R-Party prezzy has even proposed federal black ink in a half-century. 50 years!"

And armed with this (incomplete) knowledge, Benji The Wise One voted for Obama, the messiah who decided to fight Bush's wave of debt with a tsunami of debt.

Well played, Benji. Well played.

Colin said...

And they're not happy with the Democrat-led Congress either:

Steve Fulton said...

I'm not sure what the "Bush sucked too" crowd would have us do at this point in time.
Resist spending increases that are clearly damaging to the US economy and unsustainable or join the "everyone does it-over the falls we go" group?

Scott Grannis said...

Indeed. However badly you might feel about Bush, the main point here is that Obama's first two budgets have set the "gold standard" for fiscal profligacy.

Benjamin Cole said...

Yes, I voted for Obama, and I am not happy with the results.

But McCain-Palin? Can you name the nations on Earth McCain did not want to invade? On more than one hand?

Palin?--Alaska gets back more money per dollar sent to DC than any other state. It is Red State Socialism defined. The Bridge to Nowhere is typical federal spending in that state. As mayor, Palin took on debt and raised property taxes in her hometown for the necessity of...building an ice rink. This is our Great Hope?

No, it has not turned out well under Obama, although he inherited a train wreck into a sewage treatment plant. At least he is well camouflaged.

It could have been worse under McCain, of course we will never know. I actually like McCain as an individual. But he openly stated he knew nothing about economics, and had never bothered to learn.

I agree, there is no party to vote for.

I do not believe the R-Party will ever run black ink, as federal spending is tilted to R-Party interest groups. See 2000-2006. They controlled House, Senate, White House and Supreme Court. The result was a economic train wreck. I want to vote for that again?

Nor will I vote for Obama again. I guess I have been marginalized.

If Scott Grannis runs, I will vote for him.

Scott Grannis said...
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Paul said...

"It could have been worse under McCain, of course we will never know."

Yes we do. All anyone had to do is look at McCain's record. His whole career he's voted overall against big government.
You could have done the same for Obama and his atrocious history, or looked at the communists and criminals he surrounds himself with. This was an easy call, and you blew it big time. So say what you will about Palin, but at least she was smart enough to predict the Obama disaster.

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