Any Crisis Can Support Obama’s Agenda

Three weeks after Barack Obama was elected President in November, 2008 his top aid, Rahm Emanuel, said in a TV interview:

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.  What I mean by that is its’ an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.

That bit of political philosophy, bespoken in the after-glow of an election victory turned out to be one of the guiding principles of the Obama Administration.  The financial crisis became the pretext for unprecedented government expansion and spending.

On Thursday President Obama held a press conference to discuss what is becoming a huge negative for his administration, failed efforts to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.  His opening statement included emphatic assertions that the government, not BP, has been in charge of the whole operation “since day one.”  His conclusion displayed the Emanual Doctrine:

More than anything else this economic and environmental tragedy – and its a tragedy – underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean and renewable sources of energy.  Doing so will not only reduce threats to our environment it will create a new home grown American industry that can lead to countless new businesses and new jobs.

The only problem Mr. President, is that despite decades of government subsidies and regulations intended to coerce us to buy non-petroleum energy sources, the technology is still not mature.  By far the most cost effective and reliable sources of energy are oil, natural gas and coal.  There are plenty of wealthy companies and individuals around the world who would gladly invest billions into production of a reliable, cost effective, alternative energy source.  They will do so the moment one exists.  In the meantime, only government has the billions to waste on blue sky energy dreams that never become reality.

Then Obama got to the point:

We’ve talked about doing this for decades and we’ve made significant strides over the last year when it comes to investing in renewable energy and energy efficneicy.  The House of Representatives has already passed a bill that would jumpstart a permanent transition to a clean energy economy.  And there’s currently a plan in the senate, a plan that was developed with ideas from democrats and republicans that would achieve the same goal.  If nothing else this disaster should serve as a wakeup call that it’s time to move forward on this legislation.

This was about Cap and Trade, the legislation that he intentionally did not name because it has already developed a bad reputation.  The “Cap” part refers to a cap on the total amount of conventional, oil-gas-coal energy American companies would be allowed to produce.  In other words, government would create an artificial energy shortage.

Cap and Trade would also require all energy producers and most businesses and even some churches to buy permission from the government to produce or consume energy.  It would be a gusher of cash for government and a dead weight cost on every business and every household in America.

Cap and Trade died in the Senate months ago.  But Obama hopes to keep this crisis from going to waste, even as it stains his Presidency, by using it to revive Cap and Trade.

The first time we heard  that word “jumpstart” from President Obama was in the first week of his Administration.  He promised that the $787 Billion “stimulus” an immense government power grab born of the financial crisis would immediately, in his words “jumpstart job creation and long  term growth.”  The stimulus obviously failed to live up to the promise.  There are now 3.4 million fewer private sector jobs than there were back in January, 2009 when Obama made that promise.  Federal employment has grown however, by 187,000 jobs over the same period.

Give Obama credit for tenacity.  Even as the oil spill has generated bitter criticism of his administration from both left and right, even as he tries to appear actively engaged and overcome the perception that he and his people are incompetent, he begins the campaign to exploit the crisis.

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