Early into the presidency of Barack Obama, the ‘new hope” in presidential politics is resorting to old tactics. Most importantly, he is using fear as a political tool. Fear is one of the most powerful political options available now and throughout history. Typical political analysis shows that people are most likely to look to new and fresh leadership when they are fearful, but shy away from strong leadership when they believe all is well. Already, Obama is using this psychology to his advantage.

Obama is particularly using fear to instill trust in his economic leadership. In the nearly three weeks since he has taken office, his description of the economic state of the country has grown dramatically stronger just in time for his new economic stimulus bill, coincidently. USA Today analysis plotted his connotative move toward economic fear. On Jan. 20, Obama was quoted saying, ‘Our economy is badly weakened.” By Jan. 30, he was saying, ‘This is a continuing disaster for America’s working families.” Most recently on Feb. 4, Obama said, ‘A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.” Obama’s move from ‘weakened” to ‘catastrophe” is a very quick way to transition the public from believing that things are under control to believing that they are at serious risk.

By making the public believe that they are at a heightened risk, Obama is forcing them to search for a way to save themselves and their country’s well being. Out of the panic comes hope, in the form of the bailout plan. The problem is, how hopeful is the bailout itself?

Through years of research and analysis, Fox News reporter, John Lott Jr. has warrented his strong opinion on the new bailout plan. Lott reported that ‘President Obama and the Democrats’ “stimulus’ package will increase the unemployment rate.
The changes they propose will also make us poorer, with fewer, less productive jobs.” Lott’s point is that the increased unemployment benefits may actually cause unemployment to skyrocket.

Many people who are unhappy with their jobs will be more likely to quit before securing new employment, knowing that government benefits may now be able to support them. Those who are already unemployed have one less incentive to reenter the workforce.
Another idea that Lott introduces is far from mainstream. He says that creating new jobs in alternative energy, though beneficial to the environment, will cause a deficit in other sectors of the workforce. The one problem many forget is that when creating new energy jobs there will be an immediate depletion of resources and funds directed toward oil and coal businesses across the country. Unfortunately, America is not ready to completely convert to green energy; therefore we still need oil and coal. A more gradual and integrated transition to alternative energy may be best for the economy.

Lott stated, ‘Of course, people see the jobs being created and they don’t see the jobs that disappear. They will probably thank the government for providing them jobs, even though the government is draining the businesses that they currently work for of the money that keeps them going.”

Another unforeseen problem with all of these jobs created by government subsidies what happens when the subsidies run out? If the industries that we will be propping up with subsidies are not able to support themselves on consumer need and world demand alone, it is only imminent that without the subsidies they will shrivel back up and lead to a terrible cycle of wealth followed by unemployment. The sudden and rash subsidies and movement of jobs and funding will only lead to catastrophe.

The Wall Street Journal is worried about the bailout plan as well. An editorial said, ‘The biggest gamble with this stimulus is what it means if the economy doesn’t recover. Monetary policy is already as stimulative as it can safely get.” In a way, this is true. Any more economic regulation and government involvement will start to degrade the capitalistic principles our country is based on.

Time will only tell what the continued economic stimulus will do to the country. Hopefully, though, the country will be able to react and respond to the plan in the best way possible. Hopefully, even just the idea of this stimulus will lead to newfound hope and trust in the American economy. That shift in the mentality of the people will hopefully be a stimulus in and of itself.

Rogers is a member of
the class of 2012.

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