When is Failure Actually Success?
By Matthew Givens
Posted Feb 1, 2009
There is a controversy swirling around this country, and it centers on our new President and his goals for the future. Specifically, it focuses on people who have expressed a desire for President Barack Obama to fail. Talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh made headlines with his desire for a Presidential failure, and has been criticized – even vilified – for it.
But what exactly does it mean, to wish for failure? Regardless of the visceral reaction that wishes for failure evoke, they are not necessarily a bad thing. To judge whether wishing for failure is good or bad, we must look at the intended goal of the effort.
Always look at the surrounding situation. If a police officer is aiming his firearm in order to shoot a criminal about to commit murder, then wishing for failure is a bad thing. The last thing we want the officer to do is miss. But if it’s the criminal aiming his weapon, intending to fire at a policeman, then wishing for failure is a good thing. In fact, in that situation, wishing for the criminal to fail is actually wishing for success on behalf of the police officer and, indeed, society.
Or take an example from my home state of Alabama. Some years ago, a brand new Republican Governor decided to kick off his administration by asking the voters to approve a massive $1.2 billion package of tax increases, an amount equal to approximately 7% of the existing budget at that time. Predictions of doom abounded, describing hordes of released prisoners threatening our children, schools closed to lack of funds, and massive layoffs in state government. By today’s standards, we all should have wished the Governor success and joined hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya… but we didn’t. Recognizing the folly of such a large tax increase – the largest in Alabama’s history – the people fought it and won. As expected, none of the dire predictions came true, and the state balanced the budget intelligently with budget cuts. By working for our Governor to fail, we helped our state to succeed.
In judging whether to support or oppose our President, we have to examine his goals. Not his goals as stated in campaign speeches, but as expressed in the legislation he supports. His biggest push so far is for massive amounts of spending in a futile attempt at “economic stimulus”. The $850 billion stimulus bill contains little, if anything, that will favorably impact the economy. If the goal is simply to get money to people to spend, that $850 billion would be worth more than $2,000 for each and every man woman and child in this country. If checks were issued to everybody equally, at least the money would be in possession of private individuals to spend as they see fit. Instead, the President supports a bill full of pork spending that will dramatically increase our debt, as well as the size and scope of government.
In this case, the goal seems to be spending money for the sake of government growth. Perhaps President Obama hopes to garner political benefits from being seen to “do something” to help the economy. It’s also possible that he is simply taking this opportunity to indulge the Democratic love of big government. In either case, I think I can honestly say that I wish the President to fail in this endeavor, for in his failure lies economic success for this country.
To turn this country around, we do not need profligate and irresponsible government spending. We do not need bailouts (read: welfare) handed out to everybody who cries loudly enough and who, in most cases, caused their own problems. We do not need government dictating to private businesses how to run those businesses. What we do need is a return to sanity, in the form of reduced taxes and regulations on individuals and businesses, greatly reduced amounts of spending, and the intelligence and wisdom to not only get rid of the budget deficit, but also to begin retiring a national debt that now totals more than $35,000 for every person currently alive.
Mr. President, I do not want you to succeed in your goal of bankrupting our government and seizing control of the private sector. Your success will cripple us for generations. But your failure may just enable us to turn our economy around before it is too late. And that would be an amazing success.
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