Barack Obama’s campaign took a surprising turn yesterday as the presidential hopeful used an Iowa campaign stop to smear the reputation of former president Theodore Roosevelt. The freshmen senator from Illinois accused the Bush administration of creating a “second gilded age” by favoring the wealthy over working families.
Obama is of course referring to the late nineteenth-early twentieth century Gilded Age where rich industrialists preyed on the poor. As president, Roosevelt initiated the trust busting movement that broke up various corporations, who had seized monopolistic positions in the business market. Obama’s campaign has vowed to also take on large corporations and unfair marketplaces once elected into office.
There is, however, a large difference between the actions of Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama. Namely, Roosevelt’s anti-monopoly reform was rooted in capitalism—Obama’s campaign stinks of socialism.
Roosevelt broke up enormous trusts in order to encourage competition in the market. Roosevelt did not place an unequal burden on the moneyed class with the aim of discouraging wealth; rather, his legislation aimed at creating a larger moneyed class by enabling others to enter the capitalistic business market.
Obama’s plans of redistribution are the antithesis of Roosevelt’s reforms. After all, it is impossible for a government program to create wealth—it can only take money away from some and give it to another. If anyone in the business world did what Obama plans to do, it would be called embezzlement. The inevitable result of Obama’s taxation plans is a statist monopoly, in which the government, rather than a corporate trust, decides who will suffer and who will profit in society.
Such policies are destined to fail (e.g. Jimmy Carter’s entire economy, Hitlery Clinton’s Healthcare, etc.) and Obama’s will be no different. If George Bush heralded a second Gilded Age, then Obama will surely follow with a second Great Depression.