Political fictions: These sure are funny 'successes'

| Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, 8:59 p.m.

It's pretty stunning to think that Democrats conventioning this week in Charlotte will tout as “successes” the kinds of “progressive”-improvised devices that implode the pillars of capitalism, republicanism (with a small “r”), freedom and liberty.

Yet that's exactly what they'll be doing when they re-coronate Barack Obama as their presidential nominee and highlight, among other things, cradle-to-grave government dependence, the rule-of-law perverting auto industry bailout and, with it, the promotion of an even more expansive national industrial policy that is nothing more than corporatism (with a smattering of mercantilism) masquerading as socialism.

It's almost as if the Democrats have an electoral death wish by doubling down on an agenda of “If at first you don't succeed, fail, fail again.” Do they really believe that they can convince the voting public to buy their spiel, hook, line and snooker, when all they're really doing is repackaging these pigs of “progress” and spraying on some cheap parfum ?

Democrats are expected to trot out the usual rank-and-file “real people” to showcase everything that is good about government beneficence (with other people's money). It will be an extension of “The Life of Julia” campaign, that elementary-level glorification of the Blessed Leviathan that gives “elementary” a bad name.

“The dream that Obama has for ‘Julia's' life is scary,” Kevin Glass, managing editor of Townhall.com , reminded in May. “There was a time that the ‘cradle-to-grave' formulation of the welfare state was disparaging.” Now, “President Obama takes pride in having the government's fingers pushing ‘Julia' along at every stage of her life,” Mr. Glass notes.

Think of the expensive failures of Head Start and public schools. Think of how government subsidies fuel outrageously escalating higher education costs. Think of everything ObamaCare. Think of onerous tax rates that punish hard work and entrepreneurship. Think of the unsustainability of Social Security and Medicare.

Then there's the auto bailout. Mr. Obama will be packaged and sold as “The Savior of Detroit.” Talk about a false prophet (if not false profits).

The bankruptcy process was perverted. Organized labor was given preferential creditor status. It's a “success” that has cost taxpayers $25 billion and counting.

“As the losses continue to grow, will the president acknowledge that the only people truly ‘rescued' were the unions?” The Heritage Foundation's Amy Payne wrote in June. “The president could have kept the automakers running without losing money — if he had restricted his administration's involvement to only providing bankruptcy financing.

“Instead, the Obama administration involved itself in the bankruptcy process, picking winners and losers instead of following normal bankruptcy law,” she adds.

In General Motors' case, the results don't even rise to being “mixed” — it's a mess. It's so bad that Forbes.com columnist Louis Woodhill is predicting that GM is headed for another bankruptcy.

“The company once again is losing market share and it seems unable to develop products that are truly competitive in the U.S. market,” he writes.

To wit, the totally redesigned Chevrolet Malibu, hoped to be GM's profit-leading bread-and-butter car, is being savaged in the auto press as being dated and behind the curve.

And Obama wants to do for/to all U.S. industries what he's done for/to GM? Or Solyndra? Or the next business sector in which he chooses to intervene?

Ah, yes — “national industrial policy.” Lovers of command economics have flirted with this disaster-in-the making for generations. The free markets of capitalism have failed America, don't you know; “we can direct the economy better,” they say.

No, they can't.

Writing in the Cato Journal back in 1984, economist Thomas J. DiLorenzo reminded that the government's proper role in the economy “is to cultivate an institutional environment in which the spontaneous forces of the market can best coordinate individual plans so as to enhance individual welfare,” not the collectivist follies of a redistributionist, wealth-transferring government.

“Government, however, has strayed far from this role and it now actively supersedes the forces of the market and is, therefore, the cause of many economic problems,” he reminded.

Witness the predictably lousy economic record of the Obama administration. These are the “successes” Democrats will recount this week in Charlotte.

Once wrote the great Greek tragedian Euripides, “Along with success comes a reputation for wisdom.” Having so little of the former, it's easy to prove that Barack Obama has even less of the latter.

Remember this as Democrat after Democrat after Democrat tries to spin you otherwise.

Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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