David R. Henderson  

Public Choice for Children

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Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems.

In "Obama Visits a Nation that Knew Him as Barry," November 8, the New York Times, uncharacteristically given the subject, has a revealing story about an interaction between Barry Obama (as he was then known) and his Indonesian playmates.

One time, recalled the elder son, Slamet Januadi, now 52, Mr. Obama asked a group of boys whether they wanted to grow up to be president, a soldier or a businessman. A president would own nothing while a soldier would possess weapons and a businessmen would have money, the young Obama explained.

Mr. Januadi and his younger brother, both of whom later joined the Indonesian military, said they wanted to become soldiers. Another boy, a future banker, said he would become a businessman.

"Then Barry said he would become president and order the soldier to guard him and the businessman to use his money to build him something," Mr. Januadi said. "We told him, 'You cheated. You didn't give us those details.' "

"But we all became what we said we would," he said.


Obama understood, at an early age, the power of the imperial presidency that his predecessors had built in the previous century or so.

HT to Lew Rockwell


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CATEGORIES: Public Choice Theory



COMMENTS (6 to date)
Yancey Ward writes:

I really don't believe the story, however.

Bob writes:

Agreed. Too pat.

Foobarista writes:

Ol' man Suharto was running the place in those days, so young Obama definitely was exposed to a seriously imperial President.

chipotle writes:

Politics is the architectonic, the master art that orders all the others.

That's in Aristotle--and it may even be older than him, I'm not sure--so you don't need to rely on relatively recent sources like the advent of "the imperial presidency" in the 20th century.

David R. Henderson writes:

chipotle,
Good point but overstated. Politics is what you say. But that doesn't mean the presidency is. What made the presidency so powerful was a series of presidential decisions, congressional failure to defend its powers, and Supreme Court decisions.

FC writes:

This is like the stories of Boy Jesus in the apocrypha. Thanks for the chuckle.

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