Whoever â€˜Ownsâ€™ the Economy â€˜Ownsâ€™ YouEdward Cline
Several of President Barack Obamaâ€™s supporters, inside government and outside of it, are suffering from a severe, contagious bout of foot-in-mouth disease. The one who contracted it and passed it on was Chuck Todd, NBCâ€™s White House correspondent.
â€œOn MSNBC just now, Chuck Todd frames the â€˜blame Obamaâ€™ narrative while interviewing Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee: â€˜You guys (Team Obama) own the economy at 12 oâ€™clock eastern time today, correct? When Senator Obama announces his Treasury Secretary, announces the Larry Summers position. It is now Barack Obamaâ€™s responsibility on the economy, is that not correct?â€™â€
Goolsbeeâ€™s answer is irrelevant. Todd repeated, and George Stephanopoulos, ABCâ€™s White House reporter, modified the â€œownershipâ€ metaphor to â€œHe owns the economy.â€ Stephanopoulos has repeated it more often than has Todd or any other reporter. When the â€œstimulusâ€ bill has been passed and is signed by Obama, it wonâ€™t be entirely true that he will â€œownâ€ the economy. He will share that possession with Congress and with every federal bureaucrat and employee. The assertion will undergo a transmutation from metaphor to â€œfact.â€
Stephanopoulos has been caught red-handed acting as Obamaâ€™s shill to sell the plan to the American public, having had numerous personal phone discussions with Rahm Emmanuel, Obamaâ€™s White House chief-of-staff, on what and what not to report. ABC has denied the allegation, claiming that Stephanopoulosâ€™ sub rosa calls to and from Emmanuel were in the way of legitimate contacts. Charles Gibson, Dianne Sawyer and other ABC anchors are complicit in the fraudulent reporting, usually introducing Stephanopoulos to present his rhapsodic â€œreporting and analysisâ€ as though he had fresh intelligence and insight to offer on what is really going on in the White House, when in fact it is nothing but disingenuous rationalizations about Obamaâ€™s difficulties.
Further, Stephanopoulos has compounded his fraudulent representations on his own website by handing Obama a â€œReport Card on Obamaâ€™s First Presidential News Conferenceâ€ (February 10th) whose wholesale theatrics and rigging were mentioned in â€œRolling Out the Barrels â€“ Governmentâ€™s Unconstitutional Big Money Blowoutâ€ (February 12th). One glaring tip-off of its phoniness was the teleprompter used by Obama. If the questions were authentic and not prescreened, and if Obamaâ€™s replies to them were genuinely spontaneous and extemporaneous, why would he need a teleprompter, unless it was flashing answers to prescreened questions?
First, he awards Obama an â€œAâ€ for selling the stimulus package. Well, he might have sold it to the White House press corps, gagged as they were during that conference except for those privileged to ask a question. But both Obama and Stephanopoulos must know that most members of Congress have been swamped â€“ nay, deluged â€“ with protests by Americans against the package or its contents, so the notion that Obama has successfully â€œsoldâ€ the public on the virtues and necessity of the package is pure, unmitigated fantasy. Stephanopoulos, with his special, direct line to the White House and thence to Congress, surely must have this startling and unwelcome information but has simply brushed it off as unimportant.
Then he gives Obama a â€œBâ€ for â€œreaching outâ€ to the Republicans to enlist their bipartisan support for the stimulus package. Doubtless Obama, as well as George the Insider, are upset with the Republicans because most of them have, to date, obstructed passage of the package because of their objections to many of its contents. These objections were mostly arbitrary, non-objective, and rooted in partisan obstinacy â€“ there is too much in this pet project or too little in that specific earmark, or the earmark or set-aside is divorced from any honest idea of an economic stimulus â€“ but we should be thankful there were objections. Obama on February 6th called the delay â€œinexcusable and irresponsible.â€ What Stephanopoulos meant by his â€œBâ€ is that he thought Obama wasnâ€™t deceptive enough to win over the Republicans, so they could share credit for the stimulus packageâ€™s purportedly unknown consequences.
Stephanopoulosâ€™ â€œreport cardâ€ on Obamaâ€™s first presidential press conference is as bogus as was the conference itself. By contrast, conservative columnist Larry Elder, on February 12th, in his column, â€œObama in Prime Time: 7 Questions Left on Cutting Room Floor,â€œ helped to confirm the rigging of the press conference, and followed up with seven questions he would like to have seen posed. Obama would not have been able to answer those questions, which contrasted facts with Obamaâ€˜s fictive appraisal of the crisis. His mind would have shut down in a total blank-out, or he would have refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the questions by calling them irrelevant or hostile or instances of â€œfear-mongeringâ€ or of â€œideological nit-picking.â€ The reporter or journalist asking any of those questions would have been barred from future press conferences. Obama and Joe Biden, during the campaign, blacklisted reporters who asked them â€œunfriendlyâ€ questions.
â€œHe owns the economy.â€ A very poor choice of words. Hitler â€œownedâ€ the German economy. Dictator Hugo ChÃ¡vez â€œownsâ€ the Venezuelan economy. The Castro brothers â€œownâ€ the Cuban economy. Vladimir Putin â€œownsâ€ the Russian economy. One would think that it would occur to Stephanopoulos that this is hardly a flattering thing to attribute to a man he earnestly wishes to be perceived as a â€œman of the people,â€ that â€œowningâ€ an economy is the sign of a dictator.
Of course, â€œowningâ€ a nationâ€™s economy is simply a crude metaphor for commanding it. No one can â€œownâ€ an economy. A primitive society whose economy is based on the barter of beads or stones is governed by the same laws of private trade or government intervention or expropriation as an advanced societyâ€™s economy whose medium of exchange based on gold, silver, copper or fiat paper. The economy is autonomous and will serve out its own justice. As King Canute of legend could not command the tides to cease, dictators cannot command economies to defy reality and fulfill their wishes, not even when they employ brute force and not stealthy fraud. Reality will always out. A major â€œdragâ€ on Nazi Germanyâ€™s economy, for example, was the cost of exterminating six million Jews together with using slave labor in its war industries, aside from the cost of conquering countries it intended to loot.
Nevertheless, Stephanopoulos and his ilk in and out of government want Obama to command the economy, that is, to tell Americans to behave in ways that will accomplish their fascist ends, to compel them to make decisions and take courses of action they would not otherwise choose to take. By implication, a tyrant who claims to â€œownâ€ an economy, â€œownsâ€ you, the private citizen. The contempt which Obama and Congress exhibited for the American people is unbounded but disguised in the alb and cassock of â€œcareâ€ and â€œconcern.â€
Conservative writer Michelle Malkin on February 13th, in her article â€œThe â€˜Tinyâ€™ Trillion-Dollar Turbaconducken You Donâ€™t Care About,â€ reports an instance of that contempt in Democratic Senator Chuck Schumerâ€™s derogatory remarks in the Senate on February 10th about Americans who opposed the stimulus package. â€œThe American people really donâ€™t care,â€ he complained, about those â€œlittle tiny, yes, porky amendments,â€ and sneered at conservative and other unconvinced and uncorrupted political observers, calling them â€œchattering classes.â€
And, to pour salt into the wound, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reported Malkin, released a â€œfact sheetâ€ on the 12th about the stimulus package, in which she claimed there were â€œno earmarks or pet projects.â€ Obama, Schumer, Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of our â€œsocial managersâ€ in government are confident they can get away with such brazen behavior because the news media are largely on their side. Neither incident was reported by any of Stephanopoulosâ€˜ colleagues, except perhaps on talk radio, the bane of and threat to the Democrats.
Arguably the most frightening aspects of the stimulus package not mentioned once by the news media are the socialized medicine provisions buried in the 1,100-page stimulus bill, as reported in Bloomberg News by Betsy McCaughey on February 9th. Scattered throughout the package are appropriations for the establishment of controls on physicians, hospitals and patients. They are the natural end of Medicare and all the other federal, semi-socialist medical programs. In short, if you are elderly and require serious medical treatment, a Federal Council will decide whether or not that treatment is â€œcost effectiveâ€ and a potential drain on Medicare resources. If some faceless bureaucrat decides it is not â€œcost effective,â€ you will be sentenced to endure the malady, or to â€œdie quietly.â€
Does this policy differ in any fundamental from, say, the Nazi policy of â€œthinning out the herdâ€ by denying the elderly and disabled Germans medical treatment, or by cleaning out sanitariums of the mentally ill for â€œcost effectivenessâ€ reasons? No.
I have dwelled on George Stephanopoulos here simply because he is the most obvious and noisome symptom of the betrayal of the news media. I do not know where he learned the basic principles of journalism, but it certainly could not have been at the Columbia School of Journalism, on whose gateway is inscribed Joseph Pulitzerâ€™s warning:
"A cynical, mercenary, demagogic, corrupt press will produce in time a people as base as itself.â€
Too many Americans have welcomed Obama and his fascist agenda, have cheered on a compliant Congress, and look forward to hearing the likes of Stephanopoulos hand in his report cards on the Obama administration. These Americans do not mind being â€œowned,â€ commanded, and given their marching orders. They are our carnivorous adversaries, as well.
I can only quote Francisco dâ€™Anconia from Ayn Randâ€™s novel, Atlas Shrugged:
â€œBrother, you asked for it!â€
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Edward Cline is the author of a number of novels, and his essays, books reviews, and other nonfiction have appeared in a number of high-profile periodicals. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org.