- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 28, 2011

The only thing dropping faster than President Obama’s poll numbers is America’s economic future. Only one in five believe the country is headed in the right direction, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday. More than half of those responding to Gallup’s queries believe we are either in a recession or depression. The grim mood reflects growing disenchantment with administration policies that have sucked the life out of the economy.

Reports piled up yesterday casting further doubt on the prospects for recovery. Just as many people stood in line last week to file an initial jobless claim as did so the same time last year. The dollar finds itself in a free fall against other currencies and gold. The measure of the growth in the country’s productive output fell to 1.8 percent in the first quarter of this year. The Federal Reserve is not hopeful. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke dialed back real gross-domestic-product growth expectations for the rest of the year from 3.4 percent to 3.1 percent. Thanks primarily to sky-high gasoline and energy prices, the Fed’s best guess is that consumer prices will rise 2.1 percent, up from the Fed’s inflation prediction of 1.3 percent made in January.

None of these developments are accidental in an administration that has actively sought to raise energy prices. “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Steven Chu told the Wall Street Journal in an interview less than six months before he became Mr. Obama’s energy secretary. Mission accomplished, Mr. Chu. There’s nothing like stopping drilling to constrict supply and drive prices up. “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” candidate Barack Obama said in 2008.

These sound like cold calculations, and Mr. Obama was anything but warm in his response to a windmill factory employee concerned that his large family was hit hard by the cost of gas. “You may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big,” Mr. Obama said. After the man informed the president he had 10 children, Mr. Obama’s giggling, condescending response was, “Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then.”

Mr. Chu and Mr. Obama embrace pricey petrol because they think it will send the masses running to take municipal buses, light rail and other government-controlled forms of transportation. Or, better yet, they’ll buy a Chevy Volt or a “hybrid van” from Government Motors. Obamanomics has never been about prosperity; it’s always been about control. Consider that the stimulus showered billions on worthless green energy projects, especially those pushed by the likes of General Electric, one of Mr. Obama’s top campaign donors. Bailouts of automotive companies were engineered to give unions unprecedented control over the manufacturing process. Each decision focused not on increasing the country’s wealth but the country’s dependence.

In his 27 months in the Oval Office, Mr. Obama has written $3,677,533,458,800 in checks against a bank account that contains no money. It’s time to stop pretending that extracting money from private-sector entrepreneurs to spread around among political cronies will do any good. It’s time for Mr. Obama to side with the vast majority of Americans who are demanding a change in direction.

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