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Magic words and numbers

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Barack Obama, the first president shaped by the celebratory culture in which every child who plays soccer gets a trophy, and the first whose campaign speeches were his qualification for the office, perhaps should not be blamed for thinking that saying things is tantamount to accomplishing things, and that good intentions are good deeds. So, his presidency is useful after all, because it illustrates the perils of government run by believers in magic words and numbers.

The last progressive president promised Model Cities, with every child enjoying a Head Start en route to enjoying an Upward Bound into a Great Society. Today’s progressive president also uses words — and numbers — magically emancipated from reality.

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