Another August, another round of complaints about President Barack Obama (and to a lesser degree, Congress) taking a vacation. But we really should leave them alone; after all, if they’re not in Washington, they’re leaving us alone.
“The accomplishments are few, the chaos plentiful in the 113th Congress, a discourteous model of divided government now beginning a five-week break,” the Associated Press reported last week. “House Democrats claimed to hate all of this, yet couldn’t get enough. After attacking virtually every move Republicans made for months, they demanded the GOP cancel summer vacation so Congress could stay in session.”
There were similar calls for the president to cancel his vacation, taken at taxpayer expense.
“President Obama began his Martha’s Vineyard vacation in traditional style Sunday, wasting no time in hitting the golf course,” the Washington Post reported. “Taking a break from wrangling over immigration reform and planning for federal budget debates, the president began his first full day of vacation with a midday round at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs… Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, [told] a newspaper last week that the choice made the president appear ‘tone deaf’ because most of Stewart’s constituents ‘could never afford to visit Martha’s Vineyard.’”
True enough, but neither can most of us afford for Congress and the president to be in Washington all year. If Obama is in town, he’s sure to be working on his agenda. And just what is that agenda?
“There’s now no doubt what the president thinks his second term is about, and where he wants his legacy to lie,” the Wall Street Journal observed in July. “That legacy isn’t overseas, it’s at home; it’s economic more than social; and it lies somewhere between old-fashioned populism and current-day progressive thinking.”
That means more spending (“infrastructure investment”), higher taxes (to alleviate “income inequality”) and more and bigger government programs (“universal pre-K,” for example).
“And he pointedly wrapped into this economic vision his two other big domestic initiatives, the health-care overhaul and immigration reform,” the Journal explains. “Obamacare, he argued, will aid both businesses and workers by helping them find, jointly or separately, health insurance at more competitive rates. And an immigration overhaul will bring workers out of the shadows and into the mainstream workforce, where their labors and taxes can help pay retirement costs...”
Even Obama’s “grand compromise” isn’t really a compromise at all. In exchange for some tax reform (revenue-neutral), he wants more domestic spending and more control over the economy.
The fundamental principle bears repeating: Gridlock is good. What’s really wrong with the economy right now is economic uncertainty. That uncertainty is made worse by an activist government that continually tries new experiments and tests new theories.
When Congress isn’t in session and when the president is on the golf course, we’re all a little bit safer.
So let them vacation. We need the break.