February 05, 2009

RE: Obama the Free Trader

Putting aside the question (a very real one) of whether many Americans really want to go back to work in factories constructing all those plastic trinkets, flatscreens, and electro gadgets they like to buy at Wall Mart, I?m not sure it was ever feasible for Obama to pursue the kind of nationalist ?Buy American? economic policy he hinted at in the Spring primaries. I believe that America needs to become a producing country again?and will be forced to, due to macro-economic factors (most pressingly the destruction of our currency.) But this transformation will take decades and will involve new industrial revolution; American politics is all about quick-and-easy solutions right now??Obama?s gonna pull us out of this crisis!? and bullshit like that.

Moreover, what plays even better than ?Buy American? are lines like, ?We need to keep people in their homes!? ?We need to stop housing prices from falling!? ?The banks need to start lending again!? ?We need more student loans, so everyone can go to college!? Put simply, Americans are far more excited by the prospect of easy credit, debt-financed consumption, and asset inflation (even when it?s phony) than they are by the prospect of returning to the factories to make the next generation of Tickle Me Elmos.

My guess is that Obamanomics will include lots of subsidized loans for consumers, while a few prestige, heavy industries?carmaking in particular?will be bailed-out and stimulated so many time that they?ll become indistinguishable from wings of the government. Obama was never interested ?protectionism? in the way Buchanan and other paleos imagine it. It?s all about the government-directed manufacturing of the next ?green? automobile that no one wants to buy. I?ve seen the future of American industry, and it?s comprised of autos like ?Ester, The Post-Feminist Organic Diversity Mobile.? Get ready. 

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