President Obama opened his
angry campaign speech State of The Union message with a brief recap of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a prelude to cynically self-serving praise of the troops.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.
The troops don’t argue about their mission because the authors of the Constitution (largely scorned by Obama and the progressives) created a brilliant system of civilian control over the military so the arguments – and there are always passionate arguments about any war – take place in election campaigns and in Congress. (An exception was Obama’s Libyan operation, launched without seeking approval from Congress in order to silence dissent.)
The President skipped over the recent decade of acrimonious debates in Congress and on the campaign trail about the troops’ mission. Indeed, Senator and Candidate Obama was one of the most bitter debaters of all, as he tried his best to bring about failure in Iraq because, as an Illinois State Senator, he had opposed the invasion.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.
Translation: Utopia is within reach if only those Obstinate Republicans (and even some Democrats) would follow orders like the troops do, and enact Obama’s sweeping agenda of government expansion and regulatory tyranny. The speech continued:
We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known.
Since the President brought it up, let’s review what happened at the end of World War II. The American People – not the government – did indeed build the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. [continued below the chart]
But Obama did not mention the most important fact: That economic success coincided with the most rapid downsizing of government in US history.
To pay for the war and hyper regulation of the civilian economy, federal spending had exploded from $9 billion to $91 billion in four years. Thirteen million young men became soldiers, sailors and Marines. Over 100,000 women also served in the military. Millions of civilians were employed manufacturing guns, tanks, ships, aircraft, uniforms, boots, etc.
When the war was over in 1945 the government immediately ceased buying war material and quickly discharged more than ten million from military service within two years. Federal spending dropped 68% in three years.
A 68% spending cut now would transform our trillion dollar deficits into trillion dollar surpluses!
If President Obama and today’s political-media “economists” had been there in 1945 they would have warned that any spending cuts would spell disaster for the economy, that unemployment would skyrocket. They would have been wrong. The number of jobs increased by 21% over the same three years. Never before or since have job seekers enjoyed such a sudden increase in demand for their services.
A 21% increase today would be enough new jobs for:
- All of 13.1 million currently unemployed,
- All of the 6.4 million who want jobs but are not officially classified as unemployed,
- 8.2 million more!
Today’s chronic unemployment would turn into a labor shortage. Employers would be competing for workers.
This historic surge in employment and prosperity happened before our wise overseers in Washington created any of the following to regulate our lives:
- Department of Energy
- Department of Education
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Department of Transportation
- Environmental Protection Agency
- New regulatory boards and commissions mandated by Dodd-Frank
- ObamaCare to dictate the coverages and terms of all health plans
Indeed, there was massive DEregulation as the wartime rationing and price controls were lifted. There was no government “investment” in politically selected energy technologies. This was a decade before the beginning of the Interstate highway building program.
President Obama should learn from his own post World War II example that liberty, not authoritarian government intervention, brings about prosperity.