Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) weighs in on the Obama plan to pour federal money into five select “Promise Zones,” with fifteen more on deck, in order to stimulate economic growth… you know, the way Obamanomics has absolutely and utterly failed to do everywhere else in the country, even though he’s redistributed trillions of dollars already:
“It’s altogether fitting that President Obama is today talking about income inequality, because income inequality has increased dramatically as a direct result of his economic policies,” he said.
Cruz criticized Obama for proposing more government spending and debt without addressing taxes and regulations that were choking job growth, suggesting that he was running out of new ideas to stimulate the economy.
“All of America needs to be a real ‘Promise Zone’ — with reduced barriers to small businesses creating private-sector jobs — and we should start by repealing every word of Obamacare, building the Keystone pipeline, abolishing the IRS and rolling back abusive regulations,” Cruz said.
(Quote courtesy of the Washington Examiner.) Personally, my favorite “Promise Zone” is the one where they tell you there are no promises, no guarantees, and you have both the liberty and responsibility to find your own future…. and then you grow up. But of course, this increasingly childlike electorate has to be baby-talked with soothing noise about how the right people in Washington can guarantee you income and a job, without being so cruel as to suggest those two benefits are inextricably linked, if you just vote for them a little harder.
The Promise Zones in question – San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, according to CBS News – are supposedly bountiful fields of opportunity that await only a driving rain of taxpayer cash to blossom. They’re already swimming in government money, but a bit more should do the trick, coupled with the wise stewardship of the brilliant central planners who brought you ObamaCare.
CBS relates what President Obama said about his Promise Zone idea in his last State of the Union speech:
“There are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead,” Mr. Obama said in that speech. “Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up. Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America is not a place where the chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that’s why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.”
The president’s “promise zone” plan is being put into action 50 years after President Lyndon Johnson first declared a “War on Poverty” and around six years after the start of the recession. It also comes as Democrats and Republicans compete to convince voters they have the right formula for helping still-struggling lower- and middle-income Americans. Democrats so far have largely focused on income inequality, calling for a higher minimum wage, closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy, and extending emergency long-term unemployment benefits. Yet by framing his “promise zone” initiative as a matter of improving mobility, Mr. Obama could blunt the GOP’s argument that the Democrats’ economic philosophy leaves out a significant part of the equation.
How is extending a bit of federally-subsidized “mobility” to a few select communities going to “blunt” Republican arguments in favor of national prosperity through increased liberty and opportunity? Especially since Obama’s snake oil has given us either the longest recession or weakest “recovery” in history (depending on how charitably you wish to describe the past five years) and he just keeps plumping for the same failed policies, bereft of either new ideas or self-awareness? Another round of bitterly divisive class warfare over “income inequality” isn’t going to do a damn thing for America, and there’s a growing sense that a critical mass of voters realizes it – not necessarily because they’ve become supply-side enthusiasts, but because five years of doing the same thing without results is going to exhaust the patience of even the more disaffected voters.
Also, to the chagrin of Team Obama, a lot of people still remember his confident assurances during the 2012 presidential campaign that happy days were here again, the economy was “poised” for imminent growth, yadda yadda yadda. Well, it’s a year later, and instead of the roaring trumpets of growth, we hear the feeble kazoo of more topline unemployment rate “declines” due to workforce collapse. Reworking the growth metrics to cook up headlines about a decent quarter or two isn’t going to change the reality Americans see outside their window, any more than touting activity in the same stock market Democrats spent years telling us to loathe made them forget about the economic realities affecting their own lives.
Obama’s policies crushed the economy through heavy-handed regulation and government spending, which both added to our alarming national debt burden, and filled the economy with confusion and uncertainty. Now he wants to spend more of our money in a few choice areas to help them overcome the effects of his policies. That sounds like the kind of racket we’ll never see the end of.
Marco Rubio delivered part of the Republican response by calling for welfare programs to be shifted back to the states, along with other reforms to anti-poverty programs. Ted Cruz offers another important component here, by reminding us that the private sector only grows when government shrinks, and the last thing we need is Obama mixing more of our money into a paste so he can patch a few holes in the hull of a sinking national economy. Obama’s malaise is not going to be resolved with more aggressive anti-poverty outreach or special attention to the hardest-hit areas. On the contrary, such measures serve only to relieve the political pressure that could bring real, productive change. Everyone struggling to escape poverty should turn to those would increase the size of the private sector that would give them jobs, not the size of the government that would give them benefits. Otherwise, you’re not really trying to escape poverty… you’re just trying to make it more tolerable.
The first step has to involve reconstituting the strength of the national private sector economy. An overweening government must acknowledge that it doesn’t have the answers, and back off, to let the bold, messy, unruly, and glorious power of our widely distributed private-sector intelligence take a shot at finding them. Millions of people acting in nothing even vaguely resembling “unison” can accomplish what central planners can’t even dream of. The threadbare nature of their dreams is part of the problem, because they can’t see any solution – either inside a Promise Zone, or beyond it – that doesn’t involve a larger, stronger government spending more money. Restore the wealth and vitality of American business, reduce the cost and risk of employment, make it easier to invest capital, and then look at what can be done to encourage more investment in troubled areas.
Here’s a tip: an important part of bringing capital into blighted cities is putting a firm leash on the predatory political machines that made them blighted. Here’s another tip: the people who accept the risk of those hotly desired investments will expect to profit handsomely when their bets pay off. Otherwise, they won’t make them, and “income inequality” will be resolved by everyone growing equally poor. I can see why socialist politicians regard that condition as ideal, but nobody else should be interested. On the other hand, if all of America becomes a Promise Zone, the socialists would be stripped of power, so it’s not surprising to see them treat opportunity as one more resource the elites should redistribute as they see fit.