Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Obama's first speech as President

I listened to President Obama's Inauguration Speech this morning. It was a good speech. It lasted about fifteen minutes. It has some memorable lines. I particularly liked the line about the American People caring more about a government that works than a government that is big or small. He promised to make government smaller by eliminating programs that don't work and to make government more efficient by strengthening those that do. He will, of course, start several new programs to deal with the present crises in the economy and the "war" on terror.

Grover Norquist and other Conservative thinkers have dominated the thinking of Republic elected officials for years. They argue that taxes are too high and government is too big. They base these assertions on two beliefs. First, they believe that individuals spend their money more wisely than government. Second, they believe that government is inherently beaurocratic, slow, inefficient, and unresponsive.

These high-sounding philosophical arguments had their start when a business man, many long years ago, wanted government to be small and ineffective so that it would leave his business alone. Business men are motivated to make a profit, and the more profit the better. In the short run you make more profit by using inexpensive, unsafe cutting machines in a factory that makes object out of wood or metal. You make more profit by urging workers to work as fast as possible and not worry about safety. You make more profit by not buying gas masks for painters who spray paint the things that you manufacture.

I was happy to hear that Mr. Obama's primary goal is to make government work better for people, rather than to make it smaller. Take that, Grover Norquist!

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