The paper yesterday (11/12/08) headlined that "most confident that Obama can fix the economy". It is discouraging to me that so many Americans seem to have forgotten that ultimately the only tool a president, or anyone else in government for that matter, has to fix the economy is a sword. In past elections we have been given the choice between two candidates, one who is all for brandishing the sword with greater swagger and one who is for sheathing it, partially at least, but in this election each presidential candidate was simply out to prove to the largest number of people possible that he would be the best swordsman in their behalf. Obama was clearly the winner in that contest.
But as I contemplate what is necessary to fix the economy, I mean really fix it, I can't help be a bit skeptical about "most people's confidence". One thing Mr. Obama could do as president, for example, is change the tax laws so that individuals and even most small companies did not have to hire a tax accountant to "do their taxes". This would remove an enormous drag on our economy and free up much needed capital. He could encourage the repeal of laws providing subsidies, regulations, grants and other legal aids to people and corporations thus removing the motivation to hire lobbyists and lawyers, thus again removing another enormous drag on our economy.
With the law thus simplified the ordinary citizen would be more motivated to live by the laws that are almost universally accepted in theory, such as the traffic laws, instead of feeling that there are so many laws why try to live by any of them if they are inconvient or if we happen to be too drunk or even too sleepy to abide by them. This would provide a tremendous reduction in the number of personal injury attorneys and other losses to the economy due to disobedience to laws that even those who disobey them agree to in theory.
I wonder if Mr. Obama will be able, or even try, to reduce the number of people in our country who are determined to live directly at the expense of others through stealing or fraud or gambling. I wonder if anything he suggests will reduce the number of people who live partially or completely at the expense of others because their use (and abuse) of drugs and alcohol have made them less (or completely) unproductive. Will we have fewer people with cancer, or diabetes, or heart disease, or obesity, causing an enormous drain on our economy, when Mr. Obama becomes president? Or will he continue to spend money in an attempt to cure these problems without so much as addressing possible lifestyle connections?
Will he, like so many of the economists at our most prestigous university, refuse to acknowledge the correlation between the erosion of our currency and the erosion of our character? Or will he, like them, and most in the media, refuse to acknowledge any correlation at all between character and the economy?
Will we have fewer of our people in prisons under Mr. Obama? The same day that people were expressing confidence in Mr. Obama to fix the economy, a man in my city was arrested for sexually attacking young children. He was released today because there was no room for him in the jail, thus making it necessary for those of us in this city to spend our resources to do what the government should be doing--providing protection from such. Will we be able to dispense with the cost of private security systems, carefully gated communities, special school police and maybe even locks on our cars, our homes, and our important papers when Mr. Obama becomes president?
Will we have more people living up to their commitments? Will we have fewer adulterers, less pornography, and hence, fewer men (with many simply giving up and becoming dead-beat dads), trying to support multiple families? Will people honor the promises they made across the altar at marriage? Will our children feel more secure from the devastation of divorce?
I, like everyone else, wish the best for President-elect Obama, not only for my sake, but more especially for the sake of my children and grandchildren. But in everything I have heard him say I cannot help but believe that at the end of his term--be it 4 or 8 years--in office that we will have more tax accountants, more lawyers and more lobbyists. Our money will be worth less and we will have more people addicted to drugs and alcohol. Our people will be sicker, sadder, and and both their persons and their property--and worst of all, our children--will be less secure. My greatest fear is that more--many more of our people will be determined, through either personal or public means, to live at the expense of others. And that cannot in any permanent way, "fix the economy".