Freedomnomics

Article published Friday, February 22, 2013, at Fox News.

Will Obama push us over the edge?

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Obama thinks he has a mandate for change. But this is the man who ran for president in 2008 promising to “cut net spending” and to shrink the federal government; a man who promised that his “stimulus” spending was only temporary.

Obama hid regulations from view until after his reelection. The press maintained the fiction that Obama supports the Second Amendment and is no threat to citizens’ keeping guns for self-defense. Yet the day after his reelection, Obama called for the UN Arms Trade Treaty negotiations to be started again, and a few weeks later he promised to put the full force of the federal government behind a push for massive new gun control.

Even on taxes, Obama’s post-election demands contradicted the positions on which he campaigned. Sure he promised higher taxes on “the rich.” But during the campaign he said that he wanted $800 billion from them. As soon as Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, agreed to raise that amount by eliminating various credits and deductions for high-income taxpayers, Obama announced that he really wanted twice that amount.

Does a candidate who won re-election with just less than 51 percent of the vote and who has adopted a second-term agenda that he never talked about during the campaign really have a “mandate”? Hardly. Certainly not a mandate for the radical changes that he has in store for Americans. Indeed, the Republican members of Congress have a mandate to stop him.

There is a growing awareness in the United States of the mounting debt problem, and opinion polls show increasing acceptance of budget cuts. But a Barack Obama who will never face the voters again doesn’t have to worry about public opinion. He wants to raise taxes to redistribute wealth, not to reduce the deficit. As investments that would have come to the United States are diverted to other countries, federal revenue will fall short of Obama’s optimistic estimates. The nation’s metastasizing debt will overwhelm the small increases in incomes.

What can we expect of a second Obama term? Obama will continue to try to pick winners and losers. He will continue to pursue the agenda of organized labor at the expense of the unemployed, especially young people. He will continue to try to achieve through the regulatory power of the executive branch what he cannot get through Congress. He will continue to try to grow the government at the expense of the free market and of individual freedoms, especially the free exercise of religion and the right to bear arms.

Our country, in short, is in trouble. Can we pull ourselves back from the brink? Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I believe that in America facts can change minds. And the facts are overwhelmingly lined up against Barack Obama.

John R. Lott Jr. is a FOXNews.com contributor. An economist and former chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission, he is also a leading expert on guns. He is the author of several books, including "More Guns, Less Crime." His latest book is "At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge? (Regnery Publishing 2013).". Follow him on Twitter@johnrlottjr.

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