By Dick Morris - 02/24/09 03:04 PM EST
Ultimately, all recessions and depressions resolve themselves into crises of confidence. The instant, global, 24/7 communications of today make them ever more so. President Obama, in his pursuit of liberal big-government spending, has totally neglected the role of the president of the United States in reversing global panic. To the contrary, his every remark and the constant preoccupation of his Cabinet is to heighten the sense of crisis and to escalate the predictions of doom if we do not do as they tell us and raise spending now and taxes later.
Instead of being a firewall, reassuring Main Street even as Wall Street crashed, he has become a conduit of panic, spreading the mood of desperation from the stock exchange floor to kitchen tables across the world.
Previous panics have been global in impact, but local in focus. The world panicked because of developments in Mexico or Argentina or Thailand or South Korea. Now, with Collateralized Debt Obligations spreading the poison of a bunch of bad loans all over the world, infecting every portfolio, the panic is not only global in impact but in focus as well. Modern communications have hastened the spread of the virus of panic throughout the global bloodstream.
In addressing this panic, the president of the United States must truly be the leader of the world — showing the way back to confidence.
Instead, Obama has been instrumental in purveying fear and spreading doubt. It is his pronouncements, reinforced by the developments they kindle and catalyze, that are destroying good businesses, bankrupting responsible people and wiping out even conservative financial institutions. Every time he speaks, he sends the markets down and stocks crashing. He doesn’t seem to realize that the rest of the world takes its cue from him. He forgets that he stands at the epicenter of power, not on the fringes campaigning for office. This ain’t Iowa.
Why does Obama preach gloom and doom? Because he is so anxious to cram through every last spending bill, tax increase on the so-called rich, new government regulation, and expansion of healthcare entitlement that he must preserve the atmosphere of crisis as a political necessity. Only by keeping us in a state of panic can he induce us to vote for trillion-dollar deficits and spending packages that send our national debt soaring.
And then there is the matter of blame. The deeper the mess goes — and the further down his rhetoric drives it — the more imperative it becomes to lay off the blame on Bush. He must perpetually “discover” — to his shock — how deep the crisis that he inherited runs, stoking global fears in the process.
So, having inherited a recession, his words are creating a depression. He entered office amid a disaster and he is transforming it into a catastrophe, all to pass every last bit of government spending and move us a bit further to the left before his political capital dwindles.
But the jig will be up soon. The crash of the stock market in the days since he took power (indeed, from the moment he won the election) can increasingly be attributed to his own failure to lead us in the right direction, his failed policies in addressing the recession and his own spreading of panic and fear. The market collapse makes it evident that it is Obama who is the problem, where he should, instead, be the solution.
Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of Outrage. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by e-mail, or to order a signed copy of their new best-selling book, Fleeced, go to dickmorris.com .