Yesterday, in keeping with hundreds of years of tradition, Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog Day groundhog emerged from his burrow as he does each year. To celebratory applause and rapt attention of all the local dignitaries, Phil cast his beady eyes around the assembly in search of his shadow. Lo and behold, no shadow - thus we are preserved from six more weeks of winter, not withstanding the current monster storm engulfing 30 states. Perhaps Phil has unwisely been listening to Al Gore?
Last week, President Barack Hussein Obama Jr. emerged from the White House as prescribed by Constitution and tradition, to tell us his plans for the economy.
Much like the groundhog's, Obama's appearance this year was eagerly anticipated and carried a great deal of uncertainty. Was he preparing to turn over a new leaf - to acknowledge the demands of an angry America for urgently-needed change?
We've had a long, long two years of a never-ending array of new and intrusive regulations, corrupt officials, government takeovers of entire sections of the economy, and ongoing desecration of traditional American freedoms and liberties. This was billed as necessary to save the economy; in fact, unemployment is worse than ever and our national debt is well exceeds human comprehension. How's that Hope and Change working out? Lousy.
But Bill Clinton, too, spent his first two years in governmental overreach, with Hillarycare and other liberal shibboleths at the top of his to-do list. Then as now, American revolted and sent in a new Republican Congress to demand a different approach.
And Slick Willie obliged:
The era of big government is over.
This was not just a sound-bite, Clinton actually behaved as if he believed it - reforming welfare and, prodded by Gingrich's Republicans, actually balancing the budget for the first time in living memory.
Result? Tremendous economic growth and wealth-creation - and an increase in government tax revenues to boot. Clinton himself, the old scoundrel, is still revered by almost all Americans as a great President albeit a shady character, because he was able to learn from his political mistakes and do what actually worked.
Would our next Democratic president be as wise?
As well-calculated and eloquently-articulated as the speech was, it failed to honestly address the greatest immediate threat to the United States: internal economic collapse... If the budget deficit is not tackled soon, this will happen to the United States. If nothing is done, a consensus will emerge among a section of academic economists and investors that the level of Federal Government debt is unsustainable.
Even California's Gov. Moonbeam has realized that government must cut, and harshly. Not Obama! So he's going to freeze bureaucrat salaries for a few years - what will that accomplish, when their current salaries and numbers are bankrupting us? Perish the thought of shutting down entire departments, much less reducing taxes paid by actual productive citizens in the real economy.
No, the SOTU Groundhog has predicted two more years of economic winter for the United States. Let's hope we haven't all frozen to death by the time we get a replacement.