President Obama lauds Latin American democracies as role models for the Middle East,
“With decades of experience, there’s so much Latin America now can share, how to build political parties and organize free elections, how to ensure peaceful transfers of power and how to navigate the winding paths of reform and reconciliation.”
How to build political parties while encouraging them to “get in their face and argue”
Organize free elections with the backing of the SEIU,
How to ensure peaceful transfers of power while naming three dozen “czars” that are not overseen by Congress, and how to navigate the winding paths of reform while pushing through healthcare legislation that was drafted behind closed doors,
Healthcare legislation that, exactly one year later, remains as unpopular as ever: Thirty-seven percent of Americans support the measure, with 59 percent opposed.
The timing of the trip itself is questionable, too. The White House argues that Obama’s trip could not be postponed since it was planned ahead of time; however, as Ed Morrissey points out,
Obama refused to leave the country when ObamaCare was at risk, but refused to postpone a trip while putting the US military in harm’s way in Libya for the first time.
But the hypocrisy doesn’t end there:
President Obama had nothing but praise for Chile’s democracy and economic miracle, declaring it a model “for the region and world.” So why is he obstructing the same reforms in the U.S. that gave Chile its success?
In 30 years, Chile has gone from being a Third World country to a developed one, raising per capita income to $17,000, achieving 6% to 7% GDP growth most years, and attracting billions in foreign investment.
It didn’t happen in a vacuum.
The country was the first nation to try free-market reforms as articulated by the great economist Milton Friedman, whose ideas were still new in 1974.
First, Finance Minister Sergio De Castro made the central bank independent. He ended subsidies and cut government spending. He slashed bureaucrats from 700,000 to 550,000. It was a painful austerity in the absence of a big private sector.
In the first four years of the new government, Chile’s economy surged 32%.
Next, economist Jose Pinera, Chile’s Labor and Social Security Minister, privatized social security. The plan helped the government balance its books and let workers choose between personal retirement accounts or the bankrupt state-run pension system. Workers could keep their own money, invest it, decide when to retire, and, best of all, owned their pensions as property they could leave to heirs. Some 97% of Chileans switched.
Pinera’s privatized accounts not only outperformed the state system by a factor of 10, but the savings they created provided capital to rebuild the country.
The last step came as Chile slashed tariffs and opened itself to the world. It signed more free-trade pacts than any nation, 58 at last count, which gave it access to 2 billion customers, an outsize market to swim in for a relatively small nation.
In Brazil, Obama said his trip was about encouraging US exports while ignoring the Panama and Colombia Free Trade agreements, which continue to gather dust,
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama discredited his trip even before it began by peddling it as a trade mission to create jobs and boost the U.S. economy. With those goals in mind, he would have been better off staying home and lobbying Congress to drop the 54 cents per gallon tariff on Brazilian sugar ethanol, and to end all U.S. subsidies on cotton, which have been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization in a case brought by Brazil. Or he could have sent the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, where they would be easily ratified.
Worse yet, Obama Praises Brazilian Oil Industry While He Stifles Oil Drilling at Home; indeed, Obama is in favor of drilling, but not in the USA,
His numerous bans, restrictions, and proposed taxes are hamstringing America’s ability to produce more oil and gas and are thereby increasing gas and diesel prices. In fact, even the federal governmentprojects that domestic oil production will drop by 220,000 barrels per day in 2011 due to the President’s anti-drilling agenda. Production in 2012 will drop even more.
The administration has even approved Petrobras’s deep-water drilling in the Walker Ridge area in the Gulf of Mexico, while continuing a drilling moratorium on American offshore oil production.
The result of the drilling moratorium? 19,000 jobs and a billion plus in wages lost.
Obama has pledged that the United States will be a “major customer” for Brazilian oil; as he continues to ban the US from exploring and exploiting its own resources, he’s making sure we continue to remain dependent on foreign oil.
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