This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published April 1, 2011 on The Washington Times website.
President Obama needs to reinvent reality, so where does he go? A college campus. And why not? With gas doubling in price toward $4 a gallon, what better place to talk energy than to backpacking cyclists at trendy, urban Georgetown University? It’s a far friendlier crowd than, say, one composed of truckers, commuters or laid-off workers.
Besides, the last time Mr. Obama spoke at Georgetown, on April 14, 2009, college officials complied with a White House request to cover up pesky Christian symbols behind the presidential podium. Georgetown is a very friendly place for the O Force.
Truth be told, Mr. Obama could pick almost any campus other than Hillsdale, Liberty or a few others and feel right at home. Most students are primed to have their ears tickled about what a great future they’re going to have if only the government gets bigger and more powerful.
Since their first day in class, they’ve been pounded by left-wing professors to believe that liberation consists of succumbing to their vices and that any residual unhappiness is the work of evil Republicans or the evil Tea Partyers, who don’t want the nice government to make everyone rich.
Mr. Obama gave his energy speech at Georgetown on Wednesday and received repeated ovations. He stopped short of claiming to have calmed the seas, probably because of Japan’s tsunami. But he did claim with a straight face to be clearing the way for more oil drilling in the United States. Remember, it was just last month that he was looking forward to the day when Americans would import oil from wells offshore from Brazil.
The speech served up progressive approaches to save the planet with windmills, toy cars (“1 million electric vehicles on our roads by 2015”) and generators hooked up to millions of people playing Angry Birds on their iPhones.
Just kidding about the Angry Birds. The top-selling app in the world (100 million downloads), the addictive bird video game was developed without government grants. Not a useful example in any case for a president who extols the idea that all good things come from government’s hand.
The real and tragic irony is that Mr. Obama is most popular among the people on whom he is inflicting the most damage. They voted for him in higher numbers than any other age demographic because he was “cool.” And what did they get for this?
Students and parents seeking to borrow for college are now denied a private option, with Uncle Sam taking over all federally backed student loans courtesy of sleight of hand in the Obamacare bill.
The Department of Education is harassing for-profit colleges such as the University of Phoenix and Strayer University, which provide useful courses for prospective employees, particularly young people without a standard college degree.
Unemployment was 25.7 in February for teenagers and 15.7 percent for those 20 to 24 years old, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recent college grads are despairing of landing anything above the fast-food counter, where they face stiff competition from millions of recent immigrants.
Businesspeople won’t hire because they know the Obamacrats see the rule of law as merely a speed bump on the way to more top-down management by Uncle Sam.
Another job killer is the Environmental Protection Agency, which under Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has launched a slash-and-burn campaign against carbon dioxide despite the public’s – and the Senate’s – rejection of cap-and-tax legislation.
Our relatively healthy stock market reflects not so much a recovery as an indicator that businesses are happier with their bottom lines now that they have fewer employees. Benefits are disappearing as well as employers run scared from Obamacare and regulation-crazed bureaucrats. With every employee representing a plethora of federal, state and local obligations, you can’t blame businesses for trying to do more with fewer. This is not good for those kids clutching their degrees and entering the job market.
The national deficit is careening upward of $1.6 trillion this year, with a projected debt of $24 trillion by 2021. Those young people applauding Mr. Obama so heartily are the very ones with bull’s-eyes on their backs for ruinous tax increases in their prime earning years. They also are going to find out that Social Security has been a huge Ponzi scheme, with them as the “marks.”
Young people love the Internet. It is one of the last unfettered, cutting-edge technologies. Well, enjoy it while you can, kids. Mr. Obama’s Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and two Democratic commissioners decided in December that they needed no congressional authority to begin issuing net-neutrality regulations that could cripple innovation. If unchecked, this also could lead to government meddling with Internet content.
At Georgetown, Mr. Obama’s speech was about energy, but the subtext was saving the planet from gas-guzzling cars, not to mention organizing students for something or other in 2012.
“We’re going to have to think long term, which is why I came here, to talk to young people here at Georgetown, because you have more of a stake in us getting our energy policy right than just about anybody,” Mr. Obama said.
Shortly thereafter, his message turned to alarm.
“We’ve got to discover cleaner, renewable sources of energy that also produce less carbon pollution, which is threatening our climate. And we’ve got to do it quickly.”
And then he issued the “don’t ask what your car can do for you, but what you can do for your car” pitch, warning students that they had better buy the kind of vehicle Washington wants them to buy.
What he didn’t say was that it’s tough to buy any kind of car if you don’t have a job.