Obama finally came out from hiding to talk a bit about the economy. One of my liberal friends found this the most exciting aspect of his speech:
“We’ll be working out the details in the weeks ahead, but it will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels, fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.”
You could see my friend thrilling to the Rooseveltian aspect of it all: the government will rebuild America. It’s the CCC and WPA all over again — never mind that after several years of those programs, the US was mired in an even worse depression than that which Roosevelt inherited.
My friend outlined all of the wonderful alternative energy sources that could be created once Obama got his hands on the reins of energy creation. He waxed lyrical about a way to use mirrors and water to create steam all over America’s vast plains and deserts, and then to run this steam into interconnected turbines that would power America.
“It can be done,” he said. “They’re already building the prototypes in Nevada.”
“If it can be done,” I asked, “and it’s so wonderful, why hasn’t the private sector already stepped forward?”
“You don’t understand,” was his reply. “All of these are isolated efforts, like the telephone system a hundred years ago. They need to be tied together so that they work effectively.”
“I do understand,” I said. “But why doesn’t the private sector build this infrastructure tying together all these great sources of clean energy creation?”
“Because of all the regulations blocking them,” was his answer.
“So you’re saying, aren’t you, that the problem isn’t too little government, it’s to much government?”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying. The government needs to bring them all together.” (Always the government.)
My last word was that if Obama can cut the Code of Federal Regulations by 80%, freeing up money and ingenuity without using government money, he will be the greatest President in history. I got a blank stare in response.
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