Dear President Obama Print

Mailed on April 9, 2009.  It undoubtedly went directly to the shredder upon arrival.  But, I feel better now...




April 8, 2009




President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500




Dear President Obama:



While the odds that you will actually read this letter are infinitesimal, I wish to be on the record with my opinion.


The election last year was an historic moment, to be sure.  It divided our house then and still does.  I congratulate you and your organization on your victory and I am writing in the spirit of what I hope you will see as honest criticism.


First, however, recognizing that every cloud has a silver lining, I will admit that there are some things that I do like about you and your party:


  1. You are in favor of a woman’s right to choose.
  2. Perhaps Michael Moore won’t make any mockumentaries for a while.


That is all. 


Here are some of the reasons why I did not vote for you.


You believe in, and want to implement, socialized medicine.

In “Sicko”, Michael Moore takes the position, essentially, that the United States should model its health care on those systems in Cuba, Canada and the United Kingdom.  Personally, I think that anyone who really believes Cuba’s health care is superior to ours has to be some kind of an idiot.  And if Mr. Moore really does believe it, perhaps he should move to Cuba.  Please. 


But, I digress.  Nationalizing our health care—which is your goal—would bring our system on par with that of the United Kingdom and Canada, where it is no longer possible to obtain prompt treatment for many things.  Cataracts, or hip surgery, for example.


In the final analysis, putting the government in charge of just about anything is a mistake.  Members of Congress consistently meddle in matters beyond their knowledge;  Congress has 200 years of well-documented incompetence in most things it has touched.  I don’t want it having anything to do with my health care. 


Combine all this with the well-known fact that it is hugely expensive—in fact, not sustainable, even according to the Congressional Budget Office that is now run by Democrats—and you have something that is repugnant.  Massachusetts is learning now that such programs are not sustainable and is planning to cut back on benefits to reign in costs.  The same will happen to the entire country under your program.


You are anti-business and pro-government, believing that Big Government is good.

This, of course, is the opposite of what Ronald Reagan put in place.  It is the way France operates.  It is not good.  One of my favorite Reagan quotes articulates the frightening moment when someone tells you, “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”  The Government doesn’t do anything as well as a private business.  It never has, and because it has no need to operate within any kind of profit and loss model, it never will.  I do not want the Government to take care of me in any way, and I do not think it should run businesses.


You believe in, and have said you will sign, the “card check” legislation that will take away the right of American workers to vote by secret ballot.

This, despite the fact that some 80% of the U. S. population opposes the legislation, according to virtually every poll I’ve seen published.  Unions confiscate a significant amount of their members’ pay each month in the form of dues and invest much of it in political causes their leadership endorses, regardless of the wishes of the members.  The decline in union membership relates directly to the usefulness of membership.  Taking away the right of members to vote serves only one purpose, and that is to allow unions to organize places of business more easily.


You oppose school vouchers that allow parents to choose alternative private schools.

This is especially appalling considering your own backyard.  Washington, DC has the worst public school system in the country and you had the means and good sense to send your children to a private school.  The voucher system allows less fortunate parents to use their tax-funded education dollars to send their children to the same private school, or others.  It is hugely popular with those parents and for good reason.  Naturally, teachers unions oppose it, because it takes children out of public schools.  This opposition has nothing to do with the quality of education provided anywhere—it’s just numbers.  Anyone who really cares about quality education would expand the use of school vouchers and then, for once, really try to have their public schools emulate the private schools that are so popular.  You turned your back on those Washington, DC children.  Shame on you and your party.



You believe too heavily in global warming alarmism.

Recent years have been colder than usual and the whole debate is hyperbolic.  There is no science in the public pronouncements of Al Gore and his ilk.  Even worse is the perceived urgency to replace fossil fuel generated energy with renewable energy.  It can’t be done any time soon but it doesn’t surprise me that neither you nor your party is being honest about that.  In case you don’t know it (and you evidently don’t) renewable energy in the form of solar and wind power generates slightly over 1% of our power today.  You famously said in your recent address to Congress, “We will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.”  This sounds grand, unless you know that George Bush’s administration did the same thing during its last three years.  And, it doesn’t make a dent in the need for energy.


The technology just isn’t good enough yet to power everything, and it doesn’t matter how much government money you use, or how much you tax our wages and what we buy, the only current technology we have that can replace fossil fuel power is nuclear power.  That’s a good idea and it’s something you folks should be putting in place, because there are no carbon emissions issues with nuclear power.



You believe in wealth redistribution—borderline Communism, in my view.

It would be nice to allow people to contribute to charitable causes on their own.  It would also be nice to let people keep the money they earn.  Unfortunately, you and your party believe that, in many cases, what someone earns should be taken away and given to someone else.  I don’t understand that.  I think we should all pay our fair—that would be equal—share of tax revenue via a flat tax.  The progressive tax system has always been an abomination but your proposals make them even worse, all in the name of the common good, as you call it. 


It’s one more way you folks have of stifling ambition.



You believe the inheritance tax—really a death tax—is a good thing.

In the unlikely event anyone has anything left to bequeath in the coming years, you want to take it away and give it to the government.  This is especially destructive to the small business world, where family businesses provide employment for much of the country’s workers.  The inheritance tax makes it difficult, and frequently impossible, to retain those businesses in the families that started them.  In order to satisfy inheritance tax liabilities, families are forced to sell their companies.  Warren Buffet has snapped up a number of nice businesses this way—small wonder that he favors the inheritance tax.


This is yet another way in which you and your party stifle creativity and ambition.



You believe that Big Labor is good for the economy.

Well, if not the economy, it’s certainly good for your party.  But consider that the Detroit auto industry is in the mess it is in largely thanks to the United Auto Workers, whose contracts with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have run the average hourly rate, including pension and fringe benefits, up to over $70 per hour.  Toyota, Nissan, BMW and others have located their plants in the South, where their contracts “only” provide for about $45 per hour.



You believe in forcing the Census Department to begin providing false statistics.

No wonder Judd Gregg decided he didn’t want to work for you.  Instead of reporting an accurate count of individuals in the United States, you and your party wish to use computer modeling and sampling techniques to adjust upward the number of some types of “missing” people.  You have a purpose in this, of course, but it’s deceitful.  An honest accounting, which is what Census has been doing, is just that.



Your foreign policy pronouncements are, at best, naïve.

Do you really think that you can deal with Iran’s leaders in good faith?  You could do so with the Iranian people but not their leaders.  They hate us, passionately.  You would have equal success sitting down at the table with Osama Bin Laden.  If you want to talk to them, I suppose you can go ahead, but if you believe anything they tell you, you are, well, naïve.


You seem to believe that the United Nations is meaningful.
In fact, it is largely useless, hugely corrupt and hopelessly bureaucratic.  As far as I can remember, the only ambassadors to the United Nations who have been worthwhile in recent years have been Patrick Moynihan and John Bolton.  Paul Johnson argued in Forbes magazine some years back that a better place for the U. N. might be Dar es Salaam, or any of several other African cities closer to the source of the issues the U. N. should be addressing.  That would remove the organization to a location where individuals would really want to serve the organization, instead of play in New York.


In any event, regarding your recent statement that you would turn to the U. N. Security Council for “strong action” regarding North Korea’s missile launch, Bret Stephens put it best when he said that you would be better off turning to Dr. Phil.


The stimulus bill is another issue.  I have never agreed fully with any stimulus proposal, whether George Bush’s or yours.  But yours is a genuine monstrosity.  Only 12% of it has some real potential to stimulate something in the economy, improve our infrastructure and create jobs.  The rest is old-fashioned Congressional pork—in other words, waste.  I thought Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal put things in good perspective on February 12th when he concluded that if it is true, as your political advisor David Axelrod said, that the American people are not “sweating this detail or that detail” in the bill, then:


  1. The whole congressional effort is an irrelevant sideshow; only the final spending number matters.
  2. The economics don’t matter, because the real political purpose of the bill is to neutralize this issue until the economy recovers on its own.
  3. Much of its spending is a massive cash transfer to the party's union constituencies; a percentage of that cash will flow back into the 2010 congressional races.
  4. The bill in great part is a Trojan horse of Democratic policies not related to anyone's model of economic stimulus.


As Nancy Pelosi so inelegantly put it, “We won the election.  We wrote the bill.”  It is nothing to be proud of.  God help us all.







John Peterson