Obama Winners and Losers

I mentioned Newt Gingrich‘s article “Are You an Obama Winner? Or an Obama Loser?” at the tail end of Wednesday’s episode of OTB Radio (“Republican Party, RIP?“) but never got around to blogging it.  It is both a classic Frank Luntz-inspired use of obnoxious language to paint a dire picture of the Democrats — and thereby quite amusing — and yet a pretty decent argument against some of Obama’s policies.

The boldface Winners/Losers are very much the former.  Some examples.

Winners: The People Who Are Evading Responsibility for Chrysler’s Bankruptcy
Losers: Consumers Who Want to Buy Good American Cars

Winners:  Terrorists and Anti-Americanism Worldwide
Losers:  The New Neighbors of Terrorists and The American Tax-Payers

Winners:  Anyone the President Deems Deserving of Judicial “Empathy”
Losers:  Everyone Else

Winners:  Government Favored “Green Industries”
Losers:  Anyone Who Heats a Home, Drives a Car or Has a Job

The last is my favorite.  It’s hyperbolic to the point of absurdity.  But he follows this with an explanation that’s more reasonable:

I’m in favor of doing all we can to protect our environment, but I have a fundamental difference with Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House:  I believe in incentivizing Americans to produce the innovations that will protect our environment, not punishing Americans with taxes, regulation and litigation.

The Administration’s cap and trade legislation makes losers of the American people by imposing a $1 trillion-$2 trillion energy tax on an already struggling economy.  And the winners?  They’re the lobbyists for favored special interests and “green” industries who are already lining up in Washington to collect the spoils.

A little sketchy on the public policy prescription angle, to be sure, but the outline of a counter-argument.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brian Knapp says:

    I’m in favor of doing all we can to protect our environment, but I have a fundamental difference with Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House: I believe in incentivizing Americans to produce the innovations that will protect our environment, not punishing Americans with taxes, regulation and litigation.

    But…but…history has shown us at what lengths businesses will go to sell without consequence.

    99% of the time, it is not until legislation or civil action do companies start filtering their waste or stop pumping toxins into the streams and groundwater.

    I am a HUGE advocate of voluntary responsibility. I absolutely believe that you cannot legislate morality.

    But gross negligence that causes real public harm requires legislation and enforcement. Why? Businesses (take tobacco companies for example, but insert any monopolistic utility) have demonstrated time and time again that not only are they willing to pollute without consequence, but knowing the effects of their action, they are willing to cover it up too!!!

  2. Phil Smith says:

    Slightly OT, but the beginnings of the backlash in the financial markets is here.

    Yeah, those craaaaazy wingers, pointing out that tripling the annual deficit (from an already unacceptable level) was going to have negative consequences.

    Your taxes are going up. Not just “the rich”, and not just a little.

  3. But gross negligence that causes real public harm requires legislation and enforcement. Why? Businesses (take tobacco companies for example, but insert any monopolistic utility) have demonstrated time and time again that not only are they willing to pollute without consequence, but knowing the effects of their action, they are willing to cover it up too!!!

    Kind of like governments, right Mr. Knapp???

  4. Mithras says:

    Pollution is a negative externality that cap-and-trade will price into goods and services. Not doing so is a subsidy that seriously distorts the markets. Why does Newt Gingrich hate capitalism so much?

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    The last one hyperbole? Green power costs more. Green cars costs more. Green fuel costs more. So check, check, check. All are true.

    Let’s add in the fact they all must be subsidized and either drive up taxes or the debt. Unless you’re anointed you are a loser.

  6. Rick DeMent says:

    They’re the lobbyists for favored special interests and “green” industries who are already lining up in Washington to collect the spoils.

    How that’s different from the lobbyists for coal and oil I can’t say. But one thing is for sure Coal and oil are heavily subsidized and none of the tea-baggers really bitches about that all that much. Ditto for farm subsidies, tobacco subsidies (and protectionism). Newt is a loser.

  7. DavidL says:

    Face the facts, the one simply isn’t very smart. In his delusional Obamaland, there are no costs associated with benefits, no trade-offs, no law of unintended consequences but rather only false choices. If Obamacare includes full mental health coverage, Obama should be the first patient.

    Now here question for the Obamatards, given Obama’s massive federal debt, and propensity to trash the rule of law to favor campaign contributors rather than senior creditors, how long will it be before that the Treasury Department will not be able find anybody willing to buy an Obama treasury bill?

  8. spencer says:

    Can someone tell me how you “incentivizing Americans to produce the innovations that will protect our environment” without using “taxes, regulation and litigation”.

    this I have to see.

  9. Phil Smith says:

    Exactly, Spencer. We’re going to continue the beatings until morale improves. We all remember these great moments in taxation:

    1876: The “Sending Letters to Friends Just to Chat Tax” drive A.G. Bell to invent the telephone.

    1879: The “Wax and Whale Oil Tax” provides T.A. Edison with the incentive to invent a long-lasting electric bulb.

    I’m sure that others can remind me of other Great Moments in Taxation.

  10. Phil Smith says:

    Great Moments in Regulation

    1793: Eli Whitney invents the Cotton Gin, spurred on by the abolition of slavery (what?)

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Your taxes are going up. Not just “the rich”, and not just a little.

    Sorry to fill you in on this, but that was going to happen anyway as the result of actions taken long before Obama was elected president…

    Kind of like governments, right Mr. Knapp???

    So, umm, what’s the cure for that? Having dozens of different governments competing against each other? Or hell, why even have government at all…

  12. Brian Knapp says:

    Kind of like governments, right Mr. Knapp???

    Yeah, well, governments don’t have a great track record either, you’re right.

    So it sounds like we are all sort of the problem, huh?

  13. Phil Smith says:

    That’s the best you’ve got, AIP?

    In addition to the auction mentioned above, and the massive increase in the deficit, the Chinese have stopped buying our debt, and are making moves to gold. And now, after months of “nuh uh, the deficit isn’t really tripling” and “nuh uh, only the top earner are going to get taxed” and “nuh uh, even they are only going to see increases back to the good old days of Clinton”, all you can come up with is “Well, that was going to happen anyway?” Because it wasn’t, genius. Taxes might have – probably would have – gone up some. But we aren’t talking about “some”. It’s going to be massive, and economy-crippling, and it is absolutely going to be primarily the responsibility of the current government.

    The answer to too much spending is not massive increases in spending. That’s just not all that difficult to understand. Anyone who cannot understand that is quite simply an imbecile, or a completely dishonest partisan hack. There ain’t no third answer to this quiz.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    re: Phil Smith May 9, 2009 13:54

    Where the hell have you been the past 8 years, “genius”? Yes, Obama’s proposals for spending are greater than Bush’s, but spending has been outpacing revenues for some time, it is not as though this is something new…and Bush’s (and a pliant Congress) policies were going to lead to tax hikes or benefit cuts, or both, anyway…by the way, to simplify it so that you can understand, that isn’t a justification for what Obama is doing, but, rather, an explanation of reality…deficits are a completely bipartisan phenomenon…if you want to talk about a dishonest partisan hack, check out a mirror…

  15. Phil Smith says:

    Where have I been? Pissing and moaning about the spending, for one thing. But you’re being entirely disingenuous to call tripling the deficit merely “greater than”.

    My objection to your mendacity is the attempt to equivocate between the two budget shortfalls. That’s either stupid or hackery, and you just checked “hack” with a large indelible pen.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Yes, deficits are bad, everyone knows that…you know what else is bad? The current economic downturn that we are in…it could be argued that the government trying to alleviate the problem with deficit spending is one solution, but I’m sure you would accuse anyone who was in favor of that of “hackery” too…but do keep pissing and moaning as I suspect you will have plenty of opportunities to do so over the next 4-8 years…