Government Spending

Obama: The More Things Change…

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D.C. Examiner columnist Melanie Scarborough goes to the man's website to figure out his plans for America. Some high-spendin' samples:

» "Obama will make college affordable for all Americans."

» "Obama will quadruple Early Head Start and increase Head Start funding. Obama will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.

» "Obama will double funding for after-school programs.

» "Obama will provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society.

» "Obama will create a fund to help people refinance their mortgages and provide comprehensive supports to innocent homeowners.

» "Obama will create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods.

» "Obama will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in areas that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement … which provide a full network of services, including early childhood education, youth violence prevention efforts and after-school activities, to an entire neighborhood from birth to college.

» "He will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries, and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe haven.

» "Obama will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion."

……Obama plans to meddle in minutiae, such as radio programming in Topeka ("An Obama presidency will promote greater coverage of local issues and better responsiveness by broadcasters to the communities they serve")…

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  1. My only hope that as president, he’ll be restrained by the limitations of the off….oooooh….nevermind…here’s my wallet.

  2. Obama will provide hope where there is no hope.

    Obama will make puppies more affordable and less likely to cause allergic reactions.

    Obama will singlehandedly cook a healthy and nutritious dinner for all of our men and women of the armed forces.

    Obama will ensure that every child likes to read.

    Obama will “promote greater coverage of local issues and better responsiveness by broadcasters to the communities they serve”… no wait, scrap that last one. That’s just too silly.

  3. Obama will make sure all foods taste good and are good for you.

  4. From each according to his ability, to Pro Libertate according to his need. If Obama says that, then I’ll vote for him.

  5. From each according to his ability, to Pro Libertate according to his need. If Obama says that, then I’ll vote for him.

    What if you need a good swift kick in the ass?

  6. It used to be “a chicken in every pot.” Now it’s “a public servant in every home.”

    But once he’s busy raising our children, bailing out everyone who makes a mistake, and buying approval aboad, maybe he’ll be too busy to worry about banning guns. What’ya think?

  7. Frankly, none of these things sound very “high spending” to me. The only two potential big budget items are the housing trust fund and the mrtgage refinincing thing, and those only seem big because they are so vague . . . which is par for the course, no?

    The reest of this represents fairly small expenditures compared to the budget as a whole.

    Now, that don’t mean anyof them are good ideas, but it does seem to imply that “high spending” is not the angle. It is easy to disagree with Democrats on the role of government, but all of these things seem less objectionable than the Iraq war, ethanol subsidies, etc.

    Also, his plans to open up the government to public scrutiny are the best in the pack, in as much as they are the only such plans in the pack. Might the long-run benefits of that sort of opening up dwarf these relatively small spending increases.

  8. Rabbit Scribe,

    No, only I know what I need. Ten trillion dollars. Annually.

  9. Not promising. But better to blow money here than to use it to kill more people while losing more of our own soldiers. If forced to pick, I would rather have a more moral war policy than the money. But of course, I would rather have both.

  10. Will he tuck us all into bed as well?

  11. and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe haven.

    And thus we get the first hints as to how Obama will rationalize the continuing occupation of Iraq. “I want a surge of hope for the Iraqis! I want to crate safe havens so that every Iraqi child can hope for a better future.”

    I hope that I’m wrong about this.

  12. “Each American home will be issued four stanzas of inspirational poetry…”

  13. He will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries,

    In other words, financial support for the Iranian regime. Great idea!

    and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe haven.

    Dunno about you, but this sounds to me like an open-ended commitment of American troops until Iraq is completely stabilized and secure.

  14. If the Head Start initiative will do something about the smell, it might be worth the extra money.

    I had a job delivering books to a Head Start. It wasn’t rundown, it wasn’t full of the desperately poor, but the place stank of milk, piss, and vienna sausages. I’d go home and change my clothes somedays before going back on my route.

  15. The ex-offenders bit sounds almost OK, except when you consider that they probably should not have been offenders in the first place.

    How will his inner city initiatives differ from all the others since LBJ? Will he deregulate and decriminalize so that people can make a living without minimum wage, zoning and drug laws in the way?

    Kind of doubt it. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  16. Obama smiled when he heard me mention your name.

  17. Bibertarians–is there anything they cannot do? Just once, I’d like to hear a presidential candidate say point blank that he’s sorry, but the executive doesn’t have the legal authority to do X. Bah.

  18. Boy, if that’s the worst thing about him, I might have to vote for him twice.

  19. Pro,

    Kinda like Paul has said…

    People want a patriarchal/matriarchal figure. They just want it to be like them.

  20. John-David,

    Kinda reminds me of Carter….

  21. Empty campaign rhetoric and pandering. Vote a split ticket (Obama for president and Republican for Congress) and let the two fight.

  22. Obama will find my mojo. Yeah baby!

  23. Oddly enough, if he does all of those and pulls most of our troops out of Iraq. The net effect will be a decrease in the budget.

    McCain’s 100 years in Iraq is a very spendy proposition.

  24. LIT,

    Not counting Paul or any LP candidate, naturally. I meant a candidate who was likely to win.

  25. Pro,

    if we want to be really picky, McCain told Michiganers that he was not going to be able to save the auto industry, but he was probably just saying that because he failed to realize that money drives the economy, not war.

  26. Barack Obama is a liberal, but also a solid civil libertarian, and a consistent opponent of the Iraq War.

    I can only think of three reasons why libertarians would consider voting for him:

    1. Because a truly historic rout at the ballot box for the Republicans could convince them to reject neoconservatism (at home and abroad) once and for all.

    2. To end the Iraq War and avoid starting new wars in the same vein.

    3. Because, at this poing in our history, Big Brother stuff like torture, domestic spying, and using prosecutors’ offices to conduct dirty tricks on political opponents outweighs having marginally lower taxes.

  27. Obama will do all that? I hate to say it, but damn – Bush is looking better and better. 😉

  28. ? “Obama will quadruple Early Head Start and increase Head Start funding. Obama will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.

    Well that make sense. Compared to those who weren’t enrolled in Head Start, the educational achievements of students who have attended have improved by … zero. We need more of that.

    Coupled with the NCLB act, eduaction problems are well on the way to extinction. Just a wee bit more money and we’ll be done.

    ;-(

  29. The way those bullet points are all written, it reads like OBAMA is an acronymn for some nonprofit.

    The Organization for Bringing Awesome Management to America will…

  30. Q: What will the Omnibus Budget And Management Act do?

    O.B.A.M.A. will…

  31. When I read this, I said to myself:

    “Oh no, Obama sucks!……..

    …oh right, I forgot for a second, the other guy is that bastard McCain.”

  32. Change? We can believe in every cent being wasted.

  33. As long as there are enough Republican senators left to filibuster, we can survive an Obama presidency.

  34. Obama will be able to do away with personal responsibility in nearly every aspect of life, which is explicitly listed on the democratic party platform.

  35. eduaction

    Does this count as a new law?

  36. It’s easy to tee off on Obama, but as joe said – let’s prioritise here. The key issues for the next administration (which are the key issues for every administration if you’re a minarchist) will be public finance and not sticking our collective dick into every foreign sausage grinder that gives us a come hither look.

    None of the possible presidents are any good at all on the first – McCain plays the fiscal conservative, but he’ll keep driving up defence spending, which will almost certainly match any expansion of non-defence discretionary by Obama. (It takes a lot of college loans to oay for a single JSF, you know.) And Obama is the only one likely to, metaphorically, keep it in his pants. Who knows – a few billion more on refugee assistance and foreign aid might even start repairing some of the damage Bush has done to our image abroad.

  37. Wow. That looks like a lot of new, wasteful spending. It looks like a big increase in government intrusiveness. It looks like Big Government on steroids.

    Then again, we know that War Is the Health of the State. And McCain seems determined to keep us in a series of Neverending Wars. Obama’s increases seem rather reasonable to me when compared with the inevitable growth of government under Maniac McCain.

  38. The good news is that are guaranteed to get an Irish president — either John McCain or Barry O’Bama.

  39. Frankly, none of these things sound very “high spending” to me.

    Doug, even in my tripping days, I could recognize the difference between reality and hallucinations. A billion here, a billion there, and before you know it, it starts adding up to real money. Yes, the Iraq war has been a phenomenol waste of money, so the fiscal solution is end the war and have the productive sector of society nibbled to death by ducks instead?

    “Obama will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in areas that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement ? which provide a full network of services, including early childhood education, youth violence prevention efforts and after-school activities, to an entire neighborhood from birth to college.

    One will surely be in Detroit. Who wants to put thier own money on a statistically significant improvement compared to neighborhoods not in the program?

    I have to bring this line up again.

    …a full network of services, including early childhood education, youth violence prevention efforts and after-school activities,…

    That is called parenting. I’m surely not the only one uncomfortable with the feds taking on that responsibility.

  40. I’m going to have to, unfortunately, agree with joe in this case.

    I think this is really an election when libertarians are going to have to acknowledge that they have lost the economic battle.

    If you take a look at the candidates on the economic front, I think Hillary is the worst. She will continue the Iraq war (yes, she will) as well as enormous government spending increases for various nanny state projects.

    McCain comes in a close second for his seriously misguided views on extending the war. And who knows what other fiascos. Yes, he’s the only one who has said that he is committed to serious budget cuts…except for our biggest, largest spending and most wasteful department.

    Obama will no doubt reach into our pockets for a multitude of ridiculous projects, but none of them on the scale of Hillary or McCain. He won’t plunge us into fascist policies like Clinton’s mandated health care or McCain’s insane adventurism.

    As a serious candidate, he’s the best we could ask for. And, yes, economic liberty means fuck-all when we have no civil liberty left.

    As a note, joe, I don’t want simply want lower taxes, I just want my government to spend only the money it has. I want fair taxes for reasonable expenditures.

  41. Oh Boy! Another Messiah Afoot.

  42. “As a serious candidate, he’s the best we could ask for. And, yes, economic liberty means fuck-all when we have no civil liberty left.”

    Yeah, we get to spend all that cash from our 3 part time jobs only on things which the government thinks are OK for us.

  43. A friend sent me an interesting link. Sources for Obama’s speeches.

  44. Come this november, we’ll all be voting for the evil of two lessors.

  45. I should like to append the previous statement above:

    As a serious candidate, he’s the best we could ask for.

    as

    As a serious candidate, he’s the best we could ask for on the civil libertarian front

    I don’t think he is the best we could ask for, overall.

  46. Trotsky was probably the best the Bolsheviks could have hoped for after Lenin on a civil libertarian front.

  47. I doubt this is what Obama has in mind, but Tyler Cowen had an interesting post about the effect of vouchers, recently.

  48. Trotsky was probably the best the Bolsheviks could have hoped for after Lenin on a civil libertarian front.

    Yes, I agree. Without any other serious choices, would you rather have Trotsky or Stalin?

    Look, any way it goes we’re fucked. The only thing I’m hoping for at this point is a reacharound and the small chance that I’ll be the pitcher one day.

  49. Always remember that on the economic freedom angle, McCain only sees getting rid of free speech as a means to an end.

    McCain’s stated reason for wanting to get rid of free speech is because “monied interests” have too much influence on the political process. What policy outcomes does McCain think would result when the right of “monied interests” to participate in the political process is throttled?

    A charitable reading of his intentions on this score would say, “He thinks there would be less pork,” but I think it goes well beyond that, given his history.

  50. That is called parenting. I’m surely not the only one uncomfortable with the feds taking on that responsibility.

    You certainly aren’t. However, I have more sympathy for structural support for child-rearing more than many other expenditures since it became nearly necessary for every family to become a two-income household to stay afloat. Sure, it is a stupid idea to have government raise kids, but babysitting a kid while their parent(s) work(s) to put food on the table is hardly that.

  51. Obama is not a liberal of any kind…he is a socialist.

  52. Obama will create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods.

    Who wants “affordable housing” in their neughborhood? You work hard and save your money so you can distance yourself from the projects. If they are erected down the street, it was all for naught.

    I’m sorry, but I believe long term poverty is behaviorally caused, and most struggling folks don’t want that behavior in their neighborhoods or their schools. No, I don’t have the solution for the permanently poor, but from LBJ on, what we’ve been trying hasn’t worked. The war on poverty has arguably perpetuated the very problem it has created to solve.

  53. Joe makes some good points there. If the choice is narrowed to McCain and Obama, from what we presently know of both candidates, McCain will ultimately be the more expensive choice.

    We tend to treat a presidential candidates pronouncements on foreign policy to be the plot of course for how there presidency will handle those issues, but to be frank, IMHO, Obama doesn’t have what it takes to stand up to the generals in the Pentagon, the spooks in the three letter agencies, and the foreign policy lobbying establishment.

    If the generals want to get out of Iraq, it is doable in an Obama administration. Otherwise, I doubt it will happen without significant political pressure (read: midterm collapse).

    I also expect an increase in ‘humanitarian’ adventures in an Obama administration, that’ll resemble similar happenings in the Clinton administration, with Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Sudan, Afghanistan, etc. None of these can compare in disaster to our adventure in Iraq, but Clinton got very damn lucky none of these seriously blew back at us during his administration. Fortune may not hold for Obama.

  54. Speaking of Obama, I saw something stupid about Obama at Rockwell’s site this morning.

    Lew approvingly links to an article claiming that Obama was taught to hate America by his anthropologist mother.

    Now, let’s leave to one side for a moment the merit of that argument. Instead, let’s consider the fact that by any reasonable standard, Lew Rockwell – and all other libertarians – hate America. Since we hate America, what grounds are there for criticizing Obama for hating America?

    Sure, we will claim that we love the “true” America, and that libertarian philosophy would, if put into force, “restore” that “true” America. But loving a theoretical America that might have existed if different political developments had taken place doesn’t mean you love America. If we’re talking about the America we’ve actually got, who despises its current and actual laws, political accepted wisdom, major parties, domestic and international policies, grasping population eager to unjustly expropriate or shackle their neighbors, etc., more than libertarians? Not many people, that’s for damn sure.

    Particularly Rockwell. His site is brimming and overflowing with rage every day. What is the object of that rage? America.

    If anything libertarians should be LOOKING for a candidate that hates America.

  55. I don’t know why you guys are so nervous about this. It’s not like candidates actually do anything they promise in the campaign.

  56. Yes, I know it’s shocking, but Obama is in fact a Democrat. Like all Democrats, he sees an active role for the government in managing the economy and providing social services. This should surprise exactly no one. At least he’s not pushing for government muscling in on voluntary mortgage contracts, unlike Shillary and her foreclosure and interest rate freeze. And at least he seems to understand somewhat that choice matters, unlike Shillary and her plan to garnish your wages or impose fines if you refuse to buy health insurance. He’s about as good as you’re going to get out of the modern Democratic party.

    Meanwhile, the Republicans have nominated John “Patriotism not Profit” McCain, and his 100 year occupation of Iraq. It seems to me libertarians have 3 main choices on the Presidential front:

    Obama, who’s definitely a horrible Democrat on economic and social meddling agendas, but who isn’t as bad as some, and who has a proven track record regarding civil liberties and transparency in government.

    McCain, who’s definitely a horrible Republican on foreign policy, but who also supports government meddling in the economy (i.e. McCain-Lieberman) and only got churched on taxes when he needed to secure his party’s nomination.

    Or you can effectively sit this one out by voting for the LP candidate.

    FWIW, I intend to split my ticket. I think one of the posters above was right. As long as we have divided government Obama wont be able to get much of his agenda through. At this point, all we can do is slow down the creep. The American public clearly isn’t ready to accept a reduction of government meddling, as evidenced by Paul’s abysmal showing even in places where he should have done well, like Alaska.

  57. Of course, I should add Hillary may still grab it, in which case the choice becomes pretty clear.

  58. Dear Andrew Ian Dodge,

    Barack Obama has not proposed the public ownership of any industries.

    And no, you can’t have the word back. Or “gay.”

    Sincerely,

    The Liberals

  59. Am I completely loony for planning on voting 3rd party in this election?

    I can’t stomach Obama or McCain, and quite frankly, I find the various libertarianish arguments for Obama somewhat wanting, despite the fact that they are well presented.

    The way I figure it, the odds that my vote has any mathematical impact on the outcome of the election are so infinitesimally small that my casting a protest vote for Loony McCrazyPants (LP) will not change the outcome of the election one iota.

    I guess I just don’t understand the stigma associated with voting third party. Are we really so in love with camping out with the winning tribe that we’re willing to sacrifice practically all of our principles?

  60. Regulatory socialism. Don’t take, don’t own, just control. Yee-haw!

  61. It’s funny to see people complain that the meaning of the term “liberal” has changed out of one side of their mouths, and then make up these outlandish adaptations of “socialism” and insist that everyone else take them seriously.

  62. um… anyone look at the military budget lately?

  63. Take his foreign policy for example, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Obama talks about the issue of Iraq and how we have to get out, but not promising anything by the end of his first term when prompted in the debate. If Zbig is in there you are going to get a lot of foreign intervention. He gave Bush I a B in his new book and Clinton a C. W got an F but who didn’t see that coming. Bush I would have gotten a better grade if he would have had more intervention in the Eastern European States. Obama is not going to “cut and run”, he will be the head of a multipolar police force that involves a couple large countries and many interventions. If you want to compare him to a past President I think Woodrow Wilson would be apt.

    Obama’s doing a lot of talk right now, and it serves everyone more if Reason and Co. would do more background on his advisers than all the stuff he says because those are just words. I fear the philosopher that “influences” the ruler much more than the ruler himself.

  64. joe,

    Outlandish to you but not to this battlestation.

  65. I keep seeing people talking about how Obama will get us out of Iraq. I don’t see a quick exit if his goal is:

    [to] ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe haven

    Unless this is code designed to cover up a plan for ethnic cleansing and partition, how does this differ from McCain’s goal of staying until the place is safe and stable?

  66. Maybe if you didn’t crop the quote so much that you removed the entirety of the portion that explains his proposal, it might be clearer.

    He will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries, and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe haven.

    I don’t think it’s very difficult at all to understand how “provide money for refugee services” is different from “shoot at insurgents until Iraq is safe and stable.”

  67. If elected Obama ain’t gonna do crap if the Congress is still controlled by the Republicruds. Let’s hope.

  68. Obama will create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods.

    Oh, boy. Reminds me of something they’re proposing here in Connecticut: housing is insanely expensive mainly due to snob-zoning laws that require new houses to be much bigger than necessary and on enormous oversized lots. So they’re thinking of taking MORE tax dollars to bribe local towns into pretty-please loosening their zoning codes in a few areas so that people are allowed to build, for example, a house of less than 3,000 square feet.

    If you want the housing market to have affordable options, tell the government to keep its damned hands off of it.

  69. Yeah, a split government would be fine and dandy, except that Congress is not currently controlled by the GOP. The Dems control the House (and by all accounts I’ve heard, will only increase their numbers). So I should vote for Obama and hope the Republicans retake the Senate? Its evenly split 49/49 (with “Independents” Jeffords and Lieberman voting with the Dems most often). Harry Reid would be surprised to hear that the GOP controls the Senate.

    I don’t have any confidence that minority Republicans will stand up to President Hope O’change and filibuster.

  70. I don’t think it’s very difficult at all to understand how “provide money for refugee services” is different from “shoot at insurgents until Iraq is safe and stable.”

    It is difficult to see how merely providing money for refugee services creates safe havens in the presence of an active armed insurgency with a history of targeting civilians.

    You can’t have “safe havens” in a country that is unsafe and unstable.

  71. As a matter of fact, RC, countries that are unsafe and unstable are exactly where “safe havens” applies the best.

    If those countries were safe and stable, the safe, stable places wouldn’t be “havens.”

    We provided a great, big safe haven in Kurist- er, “Northern Iraq” for a decade, and Lord knows Iraq was neither safe nor stable.

  72. “””Yeah, we get to spend all that cash from our 3 part time jobs only on things which the government thinks are OK for us.”””

    I think Bush called this uniquely American.

  73. Amen to Jennifer on the zoning.

  74. I quit voting. Democracy sucks ass.

  75. We provided a great, big safe haven in Kurist- er, “Northern Iraq” for a decade, and Lord knows Iraq was neither safe nor stable.

    Iraq was quite stable, joe. Hussein ruled the joint for how many years?

    I might point out that your example of a “safe haven” was made so only because the US was at war with the Hussein regime, providing a constant military presence in the form of air cover, with frequent hostile encounters with his military.

    How, exactly, are these “safe havens” going to exist in an Iraq that is (a) neither safe nor stable and (b) has no US military presence?

  76. How, exactly, are these “safe havens” going to exist in an Iraq that is (a) neither safe nor stable and (b) has no US military presence?

    It won’t happen. Obama is just talking sunshine, rainbows and lollipops in this instance. When we leave Iraq, a humanitarian disaster will ensue. It won’t be Barack Obama’s fault. The coming conflagration can be laid solely at the feet of GW Bush.

  77. “Sure, it is a stupid idea to have government raise kids, but babysitting a kid while their parent(s) work(s) to put food on the table is hardly that.”

    How do you figure this acceptable? The problem exists BECAUSE of government forcing both parents to work to offset the mans tax burden. To me fixing a problem you created by using more of MY MONEY is not a solution.

    Wow I would love a job where I can spend 30 years fucking things up so I can then be hired for another 20 to “fix” things.

    All these calls for help are aimed directly at problems the government has created and yet now it acts like these issues have just manifested themselves over the years all on their own.

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