Sometimes the wrong medicine can make a struggling patient far sicker than he would have been had he been allowed to recover naturally. Western medicine began with the premise that the physician either must know how to cure the patient or simply leave him alone — but above all not make him worse through harmful treatment.
As 2011 ends, we have discovered how to turn a natural recovery from a near-record recession into a serial slowdown. Almost every haphazard, ad hoc attempt by Barack Obama to jumpstart the economy has only further stalled it. The president has never articulated a diagnosis of why the economy was stalled, never outlined a coherent treatment plan, and so cannot offer a prognosis. If we have a sick budget, a Byzantine tax code, bankrupting entitlements and long-term debt burden, and a costly imported-oil bill, one would never know all that from the president, who has never offered any sort of plan for addressing these crises.
Borrowing over $4 trillion terrified investors and business owners — especially given campaign promises that Obama would not be so “unpatriotic” as to match in three years the debt that Bush had piled up in eight. After all, no one could accuse the Bush administration of having left the economy moribund by slashing government, running balanced or surplus budgets, reducing the national debt, and in tight-fisted fashion denying federal bailouts to reckless banks and Wall Street firms. Apparently, Barack Obama saw the Bush administration’s economic transgressions not as warnings, but as a green light to borrow and spend even more on a predetermined redistributive agenda (“Never let a crisis go to waste”) — as if once a Republican administration had trespassed, conservatives could hardly throw stones at even greater sinners.