Barack Obama leads the most socialist administration since Richard Nixon. Let me explain. As I said in a previous post, a government is socialist if it tries to control the economy by means other than the free market. In 1971, Richard Nixon imposed wage and price controls on the US economy, the only time outside of wartime (WWII and Korea) a president has done so.
I remember this because in 1974, I gave a speech on it. As an indication of how times have changed, not only did we have a long speech unit (several months and 6 speeches, if I recall correctly) but Newsweek magazine was my primary reference ! My speech was no more successful than Nixon’s wage and price controls. No one could follow it – my teacher said it cried out for visual aids – and the wage and price controls predictably did not halt inflation as intended.
Judging from Obama’s policies, he would have been in favor of this heavy handed approach to beating inflation. He is a big fan of the federal government. He signed a law where government will micromanage health care and health care insurance. And he is continually generating bills and regulations that embody the idea that unless government favors an activity, it won’t happen and unless government controls it, those involved (evil capitalists) will harm others or the environment.
The latest example is the conversion of the fishing industry from one with an overall quota to a ‘catch share’ system. Under the old system, anyone who wanted could fish until the quota for a given species was reached. Now, you need a permit with an associated quota to fish for a given species. This is equivalent to a farmer needing a permit to grow wheat, up to a certain amount, or a manufacturer needing a permit to produce a widget. As Ed Morissey from HotAir recently put it, this approach will “essentially turn fishermen into government employees, and they’re not happy about it.”
The new system has fishermen from New England, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the Florida Keys up in arms. The irony is that the overfishing problem has mainly been solved. Two Massachusetts congressmen (yes, even Barney Frank), recently called for resignation of Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the head of NOAA who administers the new system.
In case you were wondering, Dr. Lubchenco, recipient of a Macarthur “genius” award, was an academic – environmental scientist and marine ecologist – before Obama appointed her. Unlike the fishermen whose livelihood she controls, she has never worked in the private sector.