Obama’s Economic Shift

Tait Trussell is a national award-winning writer, former vice-president of the American Enterprise Institute and former Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.


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President Obama’s New Year’s resolution was to “keep the economic recovery going.” It appears he may do this with the appointments of William Daley as chief of staff and Gene Sterling as director of the national economic council. Neither man is ideologically as far left as Obama. They both understand the economy. But is the president trying to moderate to make peace with the business sector, as The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 7? Or is this a play to gain broader support only to be reelected in 2012?

Sperling held this same economic director position under Bill Clinton. On the ideological scale, Sperling falls between a centralist and liberal Democrat. While the Sperling appointment Jan. 7 is important, Obama’s choice the day before of his new chief of staff could also have an impact on economic developments. The chief of staff, replacing fellow Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel, is William Daley, labeled as a Democratic moderate. He was a senior executive at JP Morgan Chase, but earlier served as a pro-free trade secretary of commerce under Bill Clinton. Daley wrote in The Washington Post in 2009, “Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster.” Whether Daley can help captivate the business community and independents, he can surely fund Obama’s re-election campaign with millions of dollars. Daley quickly got the approval of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while the far-left had an expected spit-fit.

Gene Sperling is said to be especially proud of the work he did during the Clinton administration to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for the working poor, which Obama supports vigorously. The clearest statement of Sperling’s economic beliefs, said a New York Times blog Jan. 5, can be found in his book, “The Pro-Growth Progressive.” The book embodies the idea that all problems are solvable if we just set aside ideology and focus on what works. Sperling writes, for example, that resolving international trade issues requires “deep honest exploration that does not easily fit within any right-left, pro-globalization-anti-globalization perspective.” He also has written: “Neither progressives nor conservatives have articulated a vision for retirement security” that guarantees a reasonable nest egg while also helping workers invest in equities. Much of the book emphasizes this third-way theme. His book provides a reproach to progressives who hold that ideological purity requires rejection of market-friendly means. But Obama has shown himself through his political years to be a purist.

In a Bloomberg column, Sperling wrote in 2008 that “Democrats and Republicans are threatening to work together to deal with a major economic issue–a stimulus package—just when you least expect it. To its credit, the Bush administration has played it pretty straight so far. In 2001 and 2003, the administration used the need for short-term stimulus as a ploy to justify long-term tax cuts for the well-off that would ignore all rules of fiscal discipline[.]” While writing the Bloomberg News column, Sperling also was an adviser to Goldman Sachs. For much of this period, he also worked for the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2006, Sperling was among a small group who gave Obama (then an Illinois senator) advice on early drafts of “The Audacity of Hope.” Sperling was a top adviser to Clinton in his presidential campaign in 1992 and was described as a “tireless advocate of fiscal discipline.” At one point, Sperling worked at the liberal, but respected, Brookings Institution. He was one of the principal negotiators with GOP leaders during last month’s agreement on the Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment insurance extension. Most recently, he has been senior counselor to Treasury Secretary Geithner. Surely, Sperling is no conservative.

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  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    Yes we will all understand what this means, the obama economic shift means third world for all of us, much sadness and injustice will follows us all our days and in the end game we will all know what the third world knows full well.

    But understand we did this evil to all of us.

  • nomad

    While I applaud the President's move towards the center, I suspect that his motivation is simply to improve his chances for 2012. If he is successful, he will have four more years to deconstruct our Republic with his progressive agenda. He is not changing. He is merely hiding for the next 2 years.

  • Wesley69

    His move to the center is bogus. What Obama gives with one hand, he taketh away with the other.

    Despite his discovery of the benefits of a market economy, Obama's Executive Agencies and Departments are preparing a host of regulations that will create more red tape for business.

    The regulations of the EPA on greenhouse gases wil, to use the President's words, "skyrocket" the cost of energy to business and consumers alike. The EPA's actions against coal, gas and natural gas, not only make this country more dependent on foreign sources, but they threaten the weak recovery and will cause higher unemployment as iindustry lays off workers due to higher overhead costs, with the result that the US to slides into a deeper recession. $4 gasoline isn't helping.

    • Lori

      Has It Not Been going on for some time? Years of progression? It seems to Be that the Heavy regulations of government Is A falling cave going in A Pit, Pride is too high and the Ride, will Be to Tie,lock up all Markets that want freedom! A fall happens when Pride is too high!

  • RiverFred

    Obama is a true far leftist and is only playing to the upset public to get re-elected. If he is re-elected expect far left proposals and the demise of the U.S.

  • jaythehistorian

    Sperling's statements which are consistent with the Stalinist (Obama) view that anyone who has any wealth is automatically evil proves this "move to the center" is cosmetic. Obama hates any white who isn't poor. Obama primary goal is the destruction of the USA . Obama's real philosophy is exactly what the America hating phony reverend Wright has preached for the past 20 years. The American public's is incredibly gullible to have believed the jihadist who now sullies the White House was any different than Reverend Wright. It takes an incredibly gullible ,uninformed voting public to have believed the Jihadist was somehow not listening for 20 years to Wright's sermons! The traitorous MSM assisted Obama in the blatant falsification of his real beliefs during the presidential campaign. Why is the NY Times ,for example ,allowed to give assistance to this country's enemies without any consequences. Sperling is "proud" of his robbery of productive citizens through transfer of wealth to the "noble" working poor through the earned income tax credit. The (un)earned income tax credit (wealth transfer to the undeserving) is consistent with robbing productive citizens of their EARNED income.

  • USMCSniper

    There is no Obama economic shift. It is all smoke and mirrors. Vince Lombarbi once said; "Fatigue makes cowards of us all" and this is indeed true. The democrats will obstruct all Republican attempts against Obamacare (for example) in every way possible with the MSM on their side, the RINOs will be the first to cave, then a large number of republicans will "compromise" as they will spin it, and Obamacare will not only survive, but be permanent – and they will all congratulate each other and raise taxes, and that is the way it will be.

    • Wesley69

      ObamaCare can not be repealed now. It will be repealed in the House, but there are only 46 Republican Senators, not a majority. Even if by some chance, it did pass the Senate, Obama would veto the repeal. His veto will not be overridden. It takes a 2/3rd's vote in both Houses. But I agree there is no economic shift. Obama's energy policies alone will sink the economy. Does he have a plan for $4 gasoline and it will get worse as long as the Fed continues to destroy the dollar through quantative easing. DO YOU THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL SEE THAT HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS ECOONOMIC MESS????????

  • http://netzero.com Steve Chavez

    THE GREAT REV. WRIGHT SAVED OBAMA. PRAISE THE LORD! He learned Black Liberation Theology which is as RACIST as it gets and then Obama invited his "mentor" and "family" to the annoucement to run for President in the shadow of Abe Lincoln but then was disinvited at the last minute because that nut, Hannity, exposed Wright! Then Wright opened his mouth again and it ticked off Obama and he cut off the relationship. WHY? DON'T YOU THINK THEY STILL TALK IN PRIVATE? IT'S A FARCE! NOW WE HAVE THIS ROPE-A-DOPE AND IF ANYONE BELIEVES HE IS THROWING AWAY HIS BELIEFS, THAT ARE PART OF HIS DNA, YOU ARE THE DOPE!

    Is he all of a sudden claiming to be WHITE?

  • Jim

    Obama is a benefactor of a state af affairs created a long number of years in which our government has been corrupted mainly by way of business ownership of our law makers. It is not rich men that the public dislikes. It is men who became rich by their power over our our congress which caused laws to be written that transfers money from below to the wealthy few.. Does any one resent a man like Henry for for being rich. No his wealth came from making cheap autos that any one could buy. Those autos enabled the ordinary to find work opportunities out side of his small towns.
    If a man becomes rich because he invents a vaccine that saves our lives from dread diseases he is a man we revere. Along with these men we have all become better off.

    But now the land of opportunity has shipped our opportunities to other lands and other peoples while we are thrown from our houses on to the street because we have no jobs. The people who have done this to us did so that they might acquire huge masses of wealth. To see one of the wealthiest business men lie to congress that there are no people of ability and so we must flood our country with cheap labor form abroad. Every one knows rich banking swindlers sold worthless mortgages and when the truth hit they were given massive amounts of bail out while the people they destroyed were blamed as the cause of the disaster..

    As long as these business men have the power to make the public poorer and poorer by of legislative corruption and then try to make the victims believe it is the victims them selves who were the cause, the public will say"It is those who have become rich by paying the legislators to make laws that take our jobs from us and make us poor who have declared class war. If they sell our opportunities to work so that they can accumulate even more wealth to them selves we must fight back in kind and vote our wealth away from them and back to us"

  • Gil Solnin

    Obama’s shift to the center and at times right is calculated to reverse decline in support and do whatever is necessary to win a second term. The appointments of Daily and Sperling – both Clinton aides – are further indication that Obama turned to Bill Clinton as his key advisor after seeing the bad results from his reliance on Axelrod and Emanuel as well as Reid/Pelosi. I am not clear whether that was a unilateral decision on the part of Obama or that he was strongly persuaded to rely on Clinton by Democratic Party leaders who saw Obama squander mass support in only his first year. The press conference where Obama ceded the podium to Bill Clinton was the clearest indication of Clinton’s influence in this administration now.

    While Clinton will have Obama triangulate issues to appear moderate in the hope of winning a second term, I have no doubt that if he were to succeed he would immediately reverse course and attempt to fulfill his plan to bring full socialism to this country.