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Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Tough Love" For Africa, But Not For America

Tough Love for Africans

This Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended her 11-day tour of Africa by saying she has no regrets about her message of "tough love" for Africans: "The Obama administration has delivered ... a message of tough love. We are not sugarcoating the problems. We're not shying away from them."

Clinton's words and tone echoed the message brought to the African continent just a month ago by U.S. President Barack Obama, who said in his speech to Ghana's Parliament: "
We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans... And it won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks."

Corruption, Taxation, & Tyranny in Africa

If only the Obama Administration had words of "tough love" for their home country back here in America! President Obama should be telling Americans: "We must start from the simple premise that America's future is up to Americans- not the government. Economic recovery won't be easy. It will take time and effort, not magical government solutions. There will be suffering and setbacks, not an easy way out provided by Congress."

I have to say that I really like President Obama and Secretary Clinton when they're overseas. If they governed here by the principles that they preach over there, our country might be in a lot better shape and have much brighter prospects for a solid and lasting recovery from its present ailments. For example, Mr. Obama actually had the gall to say:

"No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves... No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt."

Corruption in the United States

What about America, Mr. Obama? Don't our leaders exploit the economy to enrich their friends? One of the number one reasons health insurance is unaffordable for many Americans is the coverage mandates that vary from state to state, which require residents to be insured for any number of things that they may not want or need to be covered for- from in-vitro fertilization to morbid obesity treatment.

These mandates persist even though they prevent Americans from choosing the kind of coverage that's right for them, while steeply driving up the price of health insurance. Why? It's a way for lawmakers to pay off special interest groups without overtly raising taxes on Americans. Why havn't Obama and the Democrats (or the Republicans!) made this a centerpiece for health care reform? Because as much as they would have you believe that change has come to Washington, they are still corrupted by special interests and corporate lobbying.

So while lecturing leaders abroad to keep corruption out of their political process and refrain from hurting their nations' economies to enrich themselves and their friends, the American President brazenly ignores such behavior here in America. Even worse, he acts to cover it up. This June, Obama fired an inspector general for blowing the whistle on the Mayor of Sacramento for wasting government funds. Why? The mayor is one of Mr. Obama's political allies.

Confiscatory Taxation in the United States

And what about the part where the U.S. President says this?- "No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top." I would love it if Mr. Obama believed that statement so earnestly, that he reformed U.S. tax and spending policies to encourage more direct foreign investment and small-business development here in America.

When he uttered these words last month, THL reader Dave, sent me a link to this page, which shows U.S. Government spending as a percentage of GDP. It's been above 20% since 1942, and above 30% since the 1970s! And Obama's right: taxation at this level strangles an economy, stunts growth, and discourages investment from at home and abroad. Why then, has he only thrown gasoline on the fire by spending at levels entirely unprecedented in U.S. history?

Executive Tyranny in the United States

Does he believe that the government can solve our problems and fix the mess we're in? Not when he's in Africa. Another highlight of President Obama's speech in Ghana was when he said, "Africa doesn’t need strongmen. It needs strong institutions." And how many "czars" are we up to now in the U.S. Federal Executive? Three dozen, give or take!? And Mr. Obama really believes that strong institutions, not "strongmen" make a country prosper?

How about the United States government's oldest institution: the U.S. Constitution? How about an even older and more sacred institution: the rule-of-law? What about the institution of private property? What about one of America's finest institutions- one which helped us to win our independence- the citizen militia, along with the right to keep and bear arms, which allows us to maintain that institution? What about all these institutions? Would the U.S. President make America a country of institutions or a country of "czars?"


For much of what he says, if President Obama governed according to his own rhetoric, both overseas and at home, he might very well be one of the best presidents in recent history. If he really did bring change, transparency, bi-partisanship, practical solutions, measured objectivity, lower taxes, less corruption, and more attention to our civil liberties, Obama might very well be one of the best Presidents in all of U.S. history. Sadly, it would seem that his actions do not match his words.


  1. Good post. One of the reasons health care is so high is especially annoying because government has made it that way. Hospitals are terrified of messing up so they charge enough to make it worth it if they get sued. Thanks to John Edwards and lawyers like him doctors perform all kinds of unnecessary treatments and tests just to cover themselves. Gynecologists are one of the fastest declining of specialists, what are women and families going to do in 10 to 20 years? Health care and hospital stays wouldn't be so expensive if judges and lawyers would just use common sense. I know many times injured parties were truly wronged and deserved compensation, but many times they were not and we are all paying for activist judges and ambulance chasing lawyers.

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful service your blog provides. It's great to see communication in action, meaning you do take the time to read your readers comments and e-mails. You never cease to astound me with the eloquent way you put into words what many of your readers are thinking and feeling about our government and the people who try to run it and us.

  3. Yes I do! Even when I'm very late in responding to them! Thanks so much for your e-mail and suggestion- it ended up being a "thought seed" for a really good post.