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politics

More on Obama

It seems to me that most of my friends and family are totally swept away by the symbolism of Obama being elected. Who can blame them really? A black man as president? A switch from neocon philosophy? Big suff indeed. I, along with many other people are a little worried about what happens once the power of that symbolism wears of. What kind of Democrat have we elected? Are going to get another Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter? Are we going to get the guy that helped ink trade agreements (however flawed) and reformed welfare or are we going to get price controls and ill conceived foreign policy?

A commentator on NBC remarked that there seems to be a pendulum swing going on right now in politics. He also brought up the legacy of LBJ as the model of “government as solution” politics. That cuts both ways. LBJ really did help with civil rights issues, but he also helped to create an enormous amount of welfare dependancy and let’s not forget Vietnam. Those latter things are part and parcel of a philosophy that government is the solution to all things. Government spending also ballooned, it has been the high water mark for government spending until the current president. That’s not accidental, W also believed that government was the solution, but to different problems. The result? All of our money gets flushed away…

The thing to remember is that government is a very blunt instrument. When you use it to correct something, you will also affect a lot of other things and it’s impossible to see what the exact effects will be. This effect of government action is one of my primary reasons for wanting government to do as little as possible. The bluntness of government action is also one of the reasons that there seems to be a pendulum swing in political thoughts. One group will do something with all of the resultant effects. There is then a backlash and people like the opposite thing. Of course, that entails that groups blunt force trauma as well.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not unaffected by the symbolism of this election, but I have some serious worries about this upcoming presidency since his party has control of both house and senate. We all feel good about W’s philosophy and his party being rebuked, but don’t forget that using government power for a lot of complicated things (like the economy, health care, etc.) always has collateral damage. We’ll see if Obama will be any better at limiting the damage…

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