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Obama’s Plan to Humble America

shapiro-headshotOn April 6, 20-year-old Ty MacDowell led a march in Portland, Maine, designed to raise awareness of sexism. She did this by walking bare-breasted down the street with two dozen fellow women. MacDowell was shocked to learn that far from decreasing sexism, revealing her bosom drew hundreds of men with cameras. "I'm really upset by the men," she moped, "watching it like it's a parade."

This is called the law of unintended consequences. Anyone with half a brain could foresee the consequences of MacDowell's march — there's a reason men spend years of their lives perusing the Internet for booby shots.

There are other applications of the law of unintended consequences, however, that are less obvious.

In the 1960s, liberals dramatically expanded the welfare state under the banner of Lyndon Baines Johnson's Great Society. Johnson and his liberal allies created Welfare, the Job Corps, the Model Cities Program, Head Start, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Medicare, Medicaid and many other governmental make-work, pay-the-poor programs. Johnson referred to these programs as a "beautiful woman." (Johnson was a serial womanizer, so that was his dearest metaphor.)

At the same time, Johnson was escalating spending in Vietnam; from 1965 to 1968, Johnson augmented the military budget by 25 percent. This frightened Johnson to no end. According to historian Robert D. Hormats, "Johnson frequently remarked to his assistant Joseph Califano that the massive financial demands of World War II had killed the New Deal and the increase in funding for the Korean War had killed Truman's Fair Deal, and he was concerned a similar fate would befall the Great Society." Vietnam was, in Johnson's word, a "bitch."

The beautiful woman and the bitch were fighting over the same tax dollars. Eventually, LBJ was forced to raise taxes dramatically in order to curtail the budget crisis that was destroying the dollar. In 1968, the same man who had created the massive social safety nets, comprising a huge portion of the federal budget, suddenly called for "fiscal restraint" and "responsible fiscal policy." Not coincidentally, in that same speech, LBJ announced he would not run for re-election. Only a few years later, Democrats in Congress refused to fund the Vietnam War, instead choosing to continue funding the social programs LBJ had instituted.

In short, LBJ's Great Society had two major short-term unintended consequences: First, the Great Society weakened us on the home front by foisting tax hikes and unsustainable debts on the American people; second, the Great Society weakened us abroad by sucking up cash needed to win the Vietnam War. The Great Society forced a choice between guns and butter, and the Democrats chose increasingly expensive butter, paid for by productive Americans.

LBJ could honestly claim that he had no idea his programs would do such immediate damage to the financial and military status of the country. After all, LBJ bought the Keynesian myth that FDR's programs had spurred the economy and made us stronger on the military front.

President Obama knows better.

Obama's decision to incur unthinkable new debts via gargantuan entitlement programs, to raise taxes in the midst of a depression, to intensify inflation to catastrophic proportions, is specifically calculated to effect the exact same two consequences as LBJ's Great Society program. First, Obama wants to weaken us on the home front by "spreading the wealth around" in the name of equality. Second, Obama wants to use that aggravated economic weakness to undermine America's foreign policy standing around the world.

First, Obama's real domestic agenda. He doesn't care about economic expansion — this week, even as economic reports intensified general gloom, his economic hit man, Paul Volcker, talked about instituting European-type "value-added tax" (VAT). VATs are merely a long-winded way of dramatically exacerbating sales taxes, which would raise prices. Basic supply and demand dictates that raising prices will lower demand, leading to yet another economic spiral. That's Obama's goal — as Rahm Emanuel put it so succinctly, Obama is not one to let a good crisis go to waste.

Second, Obama wants to use our economic weakness to undermine our military status in the world. Obama believes the greatest threat to international security is American brutishness. He seeks to alleviate that brutishness by unilaterally cutting our nuclear arsenal, removing honest phrasing like "Islamic radicalism" from our national security documents, and setting egg timers for troop surges.

President Obama does not want a greater, more powerful America; he wants a smaller, more humble America. And he knows how to achieve it. He is not acting out the law of unintended consequences — he strives for the consequences. Unlike LBJ, Obama acts not out of ignorance, but insidiousness. Like LBJ in 1968, he must be made to pay the price.

Ben Shapiro, 26, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. He is the author of the new book "Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House," as well as the national bestseller "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth." To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


1 Responses »

  1. DO YOU PEOPLE really WANT Republicans back in power? I regularly have to ask Republicans/Conservatives what is IT they WANT!

    1) You don’t like big government but government grows under Republican rule.
    2)u don’t want government in your lives but you like the “show me your papers” law in AZ.
    3 You don’t like Wall St. but you want to keep them unregulated so they can FINISH the job of ruining our economy.
    4 You chant “Drill Baby Drill” but don’t think Oil Companies should be responsible for SPILLS and let the government take care of the environmental disasters.
    5 Conservatives despise illegal aliens but hire them on a regular basis. Right-wing chicken hawks get off on WAR but you let your children/grandchildren PAY FOR IT.
    5 and a half, lol) You people hate gays but Larry Craig’s men’s room was the most popular attraction of the 2008 Republican National Convention.
    6) You hate taxes but love Reagan even though Reagan/Bush RAISED taxes. On & on & on…

    What the #*~/? Can you blame Progressives for thinking Republicans/Conservatives are corrupt, mental deficient hypocrites?

    Not since the WWII has a population been so damn messed up. The Germans and Italians had an excuse for embracing corporate, police state Fascism. They didn’t have any history of such political abominations to learn from. However the Republicans/Conservatives have the examples of Mussolini/Hitler to examine. SO TELL ME PLEASE WHY you’d put SO much wealth and power in a Corporate owned police state?

    (Ask John McCain why the Energy Department is involved with so many military projects in AZ instead of working on new tech and alternative sources)

    Funny how the news media jumped on this Arizona immigration law story but completely IGNORED the following: John McCain and the Republicans seem to be leading the charge toward a police state:

    S.3081 - Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010 proposed by Senators Lieberman and McCain “…removes the right to trial for American Citizens and gives government the AUTHORITY to detain Americans INDEFINITELY for SUSPECTED TERRORIST ACTIVITY…”

    The really IMPORTANT thing about this Act is just WHO defines SUSPECTED ACTIVITY? I’m sure the CRIMINALS and CONS who oversaw the recent economic meltdown (or what I like to call greatest looting of a nation’s wealth and resources in the history of mankind) FEEL THREATENED by the ACTIVITY involved with calls for JUSTICE.

    Republicans know DEMANDS for ethics, responsibility and accountability are going to come down HARD on them. Especially McCain/Lieberman who’ve been covering up Banking/Financial/Wall St SCANDALS since the 80’s. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what comes next…
    “THE Devil knew not what he did when he made man politic…”