Saturday, November 3, 2012

Obama, Biden and Economic Patriotism

Perhaps the clearest example that Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has abandoned all hope is their slap-dash effort at articulating an economic agenda for a second term. Specifically, in response to trillion-dollar deficits, an imminent tax cliff, and the largest debt in the history of planet Earth, the president issued an absurd little pamphlet populated with pictures of himself.

Apart from the sheer flimsiness of the document – it looks like an Order of Service for some Eco-Unitarian congregation in Culver City (though they’d probably have a paperless “app” with complete liturgies and Wiccan hymnal) – one is struck by its Stalinist title: “New Economic Patriotism.”

From the beginning, it has been the wont of this administration to equate their leftist policies with patriotism itself. In 2008, Joe Biden chided those who might dare to disagree with the wisdom of raising tax rates, saying it’s “time to be patriotic” – this from a man who gives about 400 dollars to charity annually, despite collecting a hefty government salary for 40 years. As others have noted, Mitt Romney donated 1,000 times more to charity last year alone than Biden gave in a decade. Demonstrably, Democrats do not consider personal choices like charitable giving to be as worthy as forking over money to the IRS. For statists like Obama and Biden, patriotism means government redistribution.

See how that works? If you oppose Obama and Biden, or if you simply feel that the private sector is better able than centralized government to spur economic growth, you are unpatriotic (and probably a racist).

One more word on Biden: It was an act of monumental irresponsibility for Barack Obama to place that malignant buffoon a heartbeat from the presidency. If nothing else, the fact that Biden is followed around by the backup nuclear football ought to be enough to secure a Romney vote. Since he entered the Senate in 1973, Biden has been deadly, desperately wrong on every major issue of his time – from South Vietnam to the Nuclear Freeze to the 1991 Gulf War, right up to opposing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. But beyond Biden’s legendary bad judgment, his clearly unhinged temperament – the sort only Democrats can get away with in public – poses a greater danger. To voters who imagine his maniacal, bizarre behavior while debating Paul Ryan was somehow an aberration, take it from those of us who have watched him for years: That’s just Joe.

As for Obama himself, on June 30, 2008, he declared, “I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign.” Three days later, he labeled President George W. Bush “unpatriotic” for adding $4 trillion to the national debt in eight years (a rate of borrowing that now seems quaint, as Obama has added $6 trillion to the debt in half that time). Democrats are always getting their aprons over their heads that their patriotism is being questioned, yet they are the ones who routinely hurl such charges in explicit terms (Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, please call your offices).

But back to Obama’s 20-page treatise and its totalitarian parlance: Economic patriotism is not defined by any one person or party. However, since Obama and Biden have presumed to provide their version (in short, “give us your stuff”), here is another: It is the belief in the American Dream, that tomorrow will be a bit better than today, that in this great country, it’s worth the risk and effort to build something, and to make something of yourself, free from fear that the fruit of your labor will be confiscated to satisfy someone else’s notion of fairness. If you believe that, and are willing to strive for such a goal, you are, indeed, an economic patriot.

Theo Caldwell, an international investor and broadcaster, has been a member of the New York Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, and the Kansas City Board of Trade. He can be reached at