Letter: How harmful policy is good politics

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Thomas Sowell’s May 8 column, “Obama’s policies aimed at scoring political points,” reveals how harmful policy is good politics. Opposition can be driven out, or intimated into silence, by obnoxious governance. Compliance from those who remain can be encouraged by promises of a utopian future combined with corrupting, dependency-inducing exemptions, favors, and handouts. Regimes can hold unchallengeable power, while their domains suffer and languish.

This is recognizable as the dark political artwork of foreigners like Cuba’s Castro or Zimbabwe’s Mugabe. Yet Sowell’s examples are all home-grown -- James Curley’s Boston, Coleman Young’s Detroit, and now, Barack Obama’s America.

The president’s tax and regulation preferences further encourage wealthy Americans to invest abroad. The president accuses these investors of being greedy and unpatriotic, while boasting his own policies are socially “just” and ecologically “sustainable” “investments” in our economic future. Since the economic present under his administration is so dismal, the president distracts us with pathetic offerings such as extended unemployment payments and payroll tax cuts.

In America, we like to believe that leaders are always punished for malignant statecraft, and American democracy assures us of prosperity and freedom. But what if what we like to believe is a foolish conceit?

John Burke

Vancouver