Obama’s Economic Dogmatism

Member Group : Reflections

In Commentary magazine, Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, quotes Walter Russell Mead, a professor of humanities and foreign affairs at Bard College and the editor-at-large of The American Interest magazine, who provides a stinging assessment of President Obama’s mindset and performance.

"Rarely has an administration so trumpeted its superior wisdom and strategic smarts" and "rarely has any American administration experienced so much ignominious failure, or had its ignorance and miscalculation so brutally exposed," wrote Mead, who voted for Obama in 2008.

Regarding Obama’s record of repeated blunders in the Middle East, Mead noted: "Few in the mainstream press seem interested in tracing the full and ugly course of the six years of continual failure that dog the footsteps of the hapless Obama team in a region the White House claimed to understand. Nothing important has gone right for the small and tightly knit team that runs American Middle East policy."

Added Mead: "Now, from the ruins of the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy, the most powerful and dangerous group of religious fanatics in modern history has emerged in the heart of the Middle East. The rise of ISIS is a strategic defeat of the first magnitude for the United States and its allies (as well as countries like Russia and even China). It is a perfect storm of bad policy intersecting with troubled times to create the gravest threat to U.S. and world stability since the end of the Cold War."

Mead’s conclusion: "So here, alas, is where we now stand six years into the Age of Obama: The President isn’t making America safer at home, he doesn’t have the jihadis on the run, he has no idea how to bring prosperity, democracy or religious moderation to the Middle East."

With regard to that last comment, I’d enlarge it to say there’s zero evidence that Obama has any understanding of how to bring prosperity and job growth to the United States.

With the U.S. economy already in its slowest economic recovery from a recession since World War II, the Commerce Department announced on June 25 that the nation’s gross domestic product dropped at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the first quarter of this year. This decline represents the largest economic drop since the recession officially ended five years ago.

The 2014 first-quarter GDP decline was produced by drops in residential and nonresidential fixed investment spending, declines in the growth of personal consumption and a decline in U.S. exports.

Two days before the report, Obama called for paid family leave, a recommendation that came on top of new federal mandates that add ObamaCare costs to businesses, higher business costs due to higher rates of taxation and expanded environmental regulations, and calls from the Obama administration for higher mandated wages.

"If France can figure this out, we can figure this out," Obama said, referring to paid leave in France.

The unemployment rate in France increased from 9.6 percent in 2011 to 10.2 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, in 2012 and 2013, and to 10.9 percent this year.

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur ([email protected]).