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The Bankruptcy of the Obama-Pelosi 'Progressive' Agenda: Opinion

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- No one can accuse the Democrats of being the party of personal responsibility. Confronted with an economy that contracted in the fourth quarter, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blamed Congressional Republicans for obstructing the president's agenda and creating uncertainty.

In the wake of the financial collapse, the Democrats took full control of both the Congress and the presidency in 2009 and were presented with an historic opportunity to put their ideas into practice. Unfortunately, the newly elected President Obama and then-Speaker Pelosi treated the situation as a political opportunity to build a Democratic majority rather than an obligation to fix what's broken in the economy.

Shrewdly, President Obama cobbled together a broader Democratic coalition by delivering to women free health-care services, to Hispanics amnesty for young adults, to younger folks overly generous student loans, to teachers and civil servants subsidies to protect their jobs, to labor unions a rebuke of Simpson-Bowles recommendation that the retirement age be raised, and to his political friends generous subsidies for solar panels, windmills and other whimsical projects. Meanwhile, he cut defense, raised taxes on small businesses and imposed unproductive regulations on manufacturing.

No surprise, the revolution of the takers has instigated a strike among the makers. Rather than be slaves -- yoked under burdensome taxes, regulations and endless hectoring from the Left -- small banks aren't lending but instead are looking to sell out to the Wall Street barons who financed the President's rise to power. Small businesses are not expanding, and multinational corporations are taking factories and jobs to China and other Asian venues where genuine enterprise and capitalism, paradoxically, is supported.

Now, Obama's tepid recovery is failing.

When the President campaigned in 2008, he promised to address the huge trade deficits with China and oil, which together sap demand and slow growth and jobs creation, and address skyrocketing health care costs.

Early in his presidency, Obama blamed China's undervalued currency for slow U.S. growth and warned Chinese leaders if they did not cooperate to redress the situation, he could act unilaterally. Liberal economists like Paul Krugman, conservative economists like this author and moderates like the Peterson Institute's Fred Bergsten all recommended viable courses of action.

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