No cheers for Obama

The View from America

The following is from the letters page of the Wall Street Journal published last week under the title, “Australia has Lessons for President Obama”. No irony was intended by anyone:

Australia’s new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was savvy enough to realize that former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s increasing taxes on mining companies would not instil prosperity and economic stability.

Uncertainty, exacerbated by high taxes and runaway spending, stifles private investing and hiring. Business owners need to be certain that their government will not tax them to oblivion before they invest, expand and hire. Australian leaders understand as much; unfortunately, we cannot say the same for our leaders.

In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher instituted a series of tax cuts, while controlling spending. The strategy resulted in private investing, expansion of business and increased hiring in both countries.

Fiscally irresponsible policies are doomed to fail. President Obama would do well to heed the advice of Ms. Gillard and other world leaders who have recognized as much.

This was from a gentleman living in Brooklyn, New York. What he actually knows about Australia he almost surely only knows from third party sources, mostly through the American media. That his take on things Australian is ridiculously wrong need hardly be pointed out to an Australian audience.

There is nothing like distance to lend enchantment although what a Julia Gillard would make of it who can tell. Cannot do her any harm if the rubes down in New York think she is the second coming of the Reagan Revolution and Thatchernomics.

There is also nothing, it turns out, like distance to add disenchantment. I am here in the US at the moment and what I find so extraordinary is that one has to make an effort to follow politics and to see any negatives in the public sphere about the American President. Since when I am home, my chosen websites will typically dwell on the kinds of features that I will judge any political leader on, I am well aware of the problems being created.

So whether it is economics or foreign policy, I have an entirely negative view of Obama and his policies. The way out of the economic harm is beyond me, while every day he adds just a bit more to the harm he added the day before and on some special days he adds on an extraordinary amount that create problems that may never be undone. 

The media in the US are, however, as bad as their reputation for subservience to the Obama agenda. They are the three wise monkeys; sight, sound and speech, so far as the politics of the President are concerned, are near perfection. How someone living here eventually forms a negative opinion of what Obama does is almost beyond me. The fantastic level of incompetence and outright damage that this President is visiting on his country is quite astonishing, but it is an effort to find any of it out by watching the news or reading the press.

Politics is, I suppose as it should be, just one of the many parts of the world. There are other things that matter. But somehow the way in which the media ignore issues that damage the President is incredible. That his ratings keep sinking and the Republicans keep rising show that one way or another, the message of gross incompetence does get through, at least to some. But how that actually happens is a process almost invisible to an outsider like me. 

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