Thursday, July 09, 2009

The thirty-five percent solution 

The Obama administration aspires to restructure large parts of the United States economy. Because its efforts have been broken into separate initiatives with different justifications, few people other than news junkies have noticed how extraordinary Barack Obama's agenda is. Perhaps a number will help: 35%. That is the aggregate percentage of United States GDP produced by the three industries that the Democrats hope to restructure from the top down: Health care (17% of GDP), energy (9.8% of GDP), and financial services (8% of GDP). Think about that. Without even considering the transformational impact of proposed anti-business laws of general application, such as the Orwellian "employee free choice act," the Obama administration wants to redesign 35% of gross domestic product from the center. And he proposes to do it all in a rush this summer, lest the decline in his popularity and that of the Congressional Democrats erodes his power to do so.

Thirty-five percent. Somebody needs to turn that into a bumper sticker.

MORE: A reader makes the useful point that one might also plausibly include the 4% of GDP attributable to the automotive industry. The 39% solution?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 07:49:00 AM:

What percent of GDP is the automotive sector? Obama is plainly attempting to leverage government "intervention" with GM and Chrysler to overhaul the automotive product line -- green cars, Euro-sized cars, etc. -- for all car companies, not just GM and Chrysler, and beyond what he could do with regulations.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 08:10:00 AM:

I think that they're also after the telecoms. Just this week there was a report that ATT and Verizon are being targeted by the Justice Dept. for anti-trust violations. Last week they announced a telecom/NSA alliance to work against terrorists.


By Anonymous scooter, at Thu Jul 09, 08:40:00 AM:

But it's for our own good, really. Just wait and see how everything magically turns out just peachy. Really...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 09:36:00 AM:

I made a similar point the other day, even though I wasn't so audacious as to say "October". Instead I was guessing by early the summer is when the Obama approval rating would have dropped to the point he would have become persona non grata even in Princeton, the bluest of blue towns.

Anyway, I'm linking to that earlier comment because there is a link to the recent Gallup poll in which they make the point that even as Obama was being elected independents were declaring themselves more conservative.

I have a theory that the electorate might really care about deficits, suddenly, and if that's so then shortly you will start to hear the Congressional Democrats elaborately wrapping every new destruction of our country that they call "reforms" in very fiscally responsible messages. This could get interesting.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 09:38:00 AM:

Oops sorry- wrong thread.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 10:24:00 AM:

Aw c'mon, you know those evil white rich guys and business leaders have more than their share, and plenty to be plundered for the good of all.

Who is John Galt?  

By Blogger webmaster, at Thu Jul 09, 11:01:00 AM:

I Have 25 Stents - And I Don't Want The Public Option  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 11:28:00 AM:

Does the Federal Government (military, employees, transfer payments) count in GDP. If so, I am sure the number would be much higher  

By Anonymous Shelby, at Thu Jul 09, 01:13:00 PM:

Y'all are missing the point on the auto companies. They're the trial run, showing how much the Obama Administration will eventually improve every sector of the economy.

Soon you can compare Government Motors to how General Motors was, and you'll see how much he can improve everything else, too.  

By Blogger Viking Kaj, at Thu Jul 09, 01:51:00 PM:

Not to mention the percent of GDP already dedicated to Government and Education.

Private enterprise is dead, the economy is now in the hands of the Chicago machine.

And we are all well and truly in the $#!tt@&.  

By Blogger Victor Erimita, at Thu Jul 09, 04:10:00 PM:

This post is just talking about this year. Next year we will have federal control of all wage levels in all spheres of the economy. Card check will resurrect, and they will commence their long march through what is left of American business by any means necessary. While Americans sleep and marvel at the international chic of the lovely and talented Michelle, the historic significance of "Thriller" and whether Trig is really Sarah Palin's child,our country is being snatched before our glazed over eyes. It is breathtaking how quickly it is being done.

Maybe a few percent of "independents" will wake from their media-infatuated stupor to notice that, say, that nice young man has done a few things I'm not entirely sure I agree with, it will be too late.

I disagree with many that Obama wants to rule everything. He wants to destroy America, which he sees as fundamentally evil and the cause of the world's ills, the default position of the Left. He doesn't know America, never rweally lived in it and has the contempt of it his meager grad student, expat-raised Marxist mind thinks it knows. He is the Great Destroyer, and we have brought him on ourselves.

But meanwhile, who said what about Michael Jackson? Huh?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 05:28:00 PM:

I am more optimistic than a week ago.


Because Obama's approval rating is at new lows on Rasmussen. I did not think this would happen as the media will spare no dishonesty to prop up Obama, and two large groups (blacks and single women) will vote for Obama no matter what he does. The GOP has no group that is this unconditionally loyal.

With this troika of structural advantages, I thought Obama would never dip below 60% approval.

But he has. And quickly.

So there is hope. Once a President's approval rating falls below 45%, he is effectively neutralized, and cannot push any partisan causes through.  

By Anonymous joetauke, at Thu Jul 09, 06:59:00 PM:

I'm gonna chime in here, because I feel that this is a bit misleading. I'm no fan of Obama's economics - just check out what I wrote about the shipment of fail that a second stimulus would be over on the site that I run (The Melting Pot Project, with the greatest political commentary in all the land!) - but to use these percentages, you have to understand the context behind them. Health care is 17% of GDP because it costs so damn much. Every bill that every patient pays contributes to that percentage. We don't want it to be 17% of our GDP.

Now, you can argue (as I would) that the tendrils of government will only make health care more expensive, and therefore increase its percentage even further. But to say that it's too big a part of the economy, therefore Obama shouldn't mess with it, kind of misses the point.  

By Anonymous Michael Lonie, at Thu Jul 09, 08:27:00 PM:

I don't think anyone here is objecting to the takeover of health care because it is such a large part of the GDP. The objections would still exist if it was 5 percent of GDP or less. The objection is to the takeover per se. But the post is showing that the ambitions of the Obama Administration must be looked at in aggregate, not just each item alone. In aggregate the ambitions of the Administration go far beyond a single sector of the economy, and point towards a wholesale takeover. Between the four sectors mentioned above, health care, financial, energy, and automotive, and adding in Federal expenditures beyond those, we are looking at something around 60 per cent or more of the economy's GDP directed by the Federal Government. And that is just this year's target.

The "Saga of Burnt Njal" begins with a short description of an Icelander. I forget his name, but let it be Snorri. It begins "Snorri was the wisest man in Iceland who was not gifted with foresight." The bunch we have running the country now is trying to convert the US into a socialist country, on the philiosophy of never pass up a crisis, as Rahm Emanuel said. When one thinks about the record of impoverishment, criminality, murder, and destruction racked up by socialism over the last century, one has to wonder why the Obamaniks think it is a good idea to put it into practice here. They can't all want the destruction of the USA; if nothing else that will break their rice bowls. They are not only, like poor old Snorri, not gifted with foresight. They are not even gifted with hindsight.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 08:47:00 PM:

Dear people, whoever you may be,

I'm rereading Atlas Shrugged for the third time. The first two times (a long time ago) I applied its lessons to the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. Now Ayn Rand's work seems more pertinent than ever due the events unfolding in my homeland.

The reason I say my homeland is because I'm an expatriate American English teacher living in South Korea. I've been living and working in the ROK for twelve years, but I still send in my absentee ballot for presidential elections every four years.

What I've been seeing taking place in the USA since January 20 is making me more upset by the day. The mounting deficits, the growing and dangerous dependence on China (many South Koreans are very jittery about China) to finance those deficits, the talk of instituting new (VAT and a big one at that) taxes to help cover those very same deficits, the bailouts of GM, and particularly Chrysler, the attempt to remove choice and private enterprise from the U.S. health care system, the stimulus that went mostly to government drones rather things that would really stimulate, and above all, the despicable behavior of the mainstream media in covering up Obama's real Chicago background. I had to go and find the red star at the top of William Ayers website all by myself!

All these things have made me very alarmed concerning the future of my country. So I've reached one overriding conclusion: it's time for Americans to revolt against royal authority for the second time in 234 years.

I say this because I don't believe the traditional legislative process can stop my country's slide towards the comfortable euthanasia of West European-style socialism. With the idiocy of Bush to guide them, the Republicans have done a very creditable job of taking Dirty Harry's 357. and pointing it at least at their feet, if not their heads.

So it's time to revolt. This will be a difficult idea for many Americans to grasp. After all, we are the product of a culture that has based on the rule of law from its very beginnings back in medieval England.

What I'm talking about is starving the Government Beast. Come next April 15, 2010 don't send in your tax forms. Refuse to pay! If you're a small businessman don't pay your state (If you live in California, New York, or New Jersey, this applies especially to you) or federal business taxes. Don't pay your licensing fees! When the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011, don't file! Simply don't feed the Beast!

If you're worried about prosecution, there's safety in numbers. If ten million Americans refuse to pay, the looters can't possibly oppress more than a very small number of people. If ten million small business people refuse to knuckle under to the New Jealously Class, then the Beast will be truly crippled and will be forced to beg for mercy. View your refusal to pay blackmail to the looters as a civil rights issue along the lines of what inspired Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and the early 1960s. IT IS NOT YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY TO PAY HIGHER TAXES! In fact, it can be considered a form of treason to file on April 15, 2010.

Anyway, this has happened before. What most Americans don't remember or never learned is that in the run-up to the American Revolution the British backed down twice over the issue of taxes. Parliament repealed both the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts in the face of fierce colonial protests. Remember, the looters don't have the mighty Royal Navy behind them, or ranks of hard fighting British Grenadiers, all they have in their favor is the willingness to submit of a people who have been comfortable for far too long.

Michael G. Gallagher, Ph.D.
Seoul, Korea

Yes, Michael G. Gallagher

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 09, 08:56:00 PM:

Not to mention the percent of GDP already dedicated to Government and Education.

How are those two things different?

We don't want it to be 17% of our GDP.

How is "we"? I rather like the (expensive I'm sure) film-free low-power panoramic x-ray machine my dentist used to image my jaw.

Besides, it would be a lot cheaper if government weren't involved.

1) Compliance costs are expensive. You wouldn't see forms in sextuplicate and endless layers of bureaucrats without it. The reason Medicare has such low apparent overhead is that all of the overhead is off book. It's still there, but on the books of insurers and hospitals.
2) Regulatory costs. Health insurance is a lot cheaper if your state doesn't have a thousand mandates about what it must cover and how. Too bad you can't buy insurance out of state, residents of Maine and Massachusetts.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 10, 10:15:00 AM:

Congress is considering another surtax on income, along with the extension of Medicare taxes to all income. Happily, the poor won't really notice what's left of the economy crashing since most of their income comes from "the government", right? Sort of like pennies from heaven. Obama is like Jesus, turning water into wine. If only he would give us a Sermon on the Mount to go with it....  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Fri Jul 10, 07:42:00 PM:

Obama is moving forward with these initiatives not because of a PERSONAL agenda, but because(for lack of a better term) the "Inner Party" has decided that it is now or never.

Obama didn't "arise from nowhere". He was carefully positioned and aggressively promoted. We have backers of substantial wealth, media conglomerates who do little more than provide gushing support, crackpot populists who provide "end of the world" scenarios unless we act "NOW", weak opposition from the "other" party, an uneducated and politically ignorant populace (thanks NEA!)and a financial crisis that was brought about by the very people who are now voting record deficits to "fix" it.

I honestly cannot believe that this amalgum of apparent incompetence and obfuscation from Washington is not a political movement by a cabal of wealthy men to seize the reins of power in the most prosperous place on the planet.

I'd love to hear anybody provide a logical counter-argument.

Perhaps a revolution of sorts is what is really needed. But to think that Obama is our main problem is to ignore the Men Behind the Curtain.  

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