RTCS

Views on the News

March 21, 2009

 

Views on the News*  

Obama's political strategy is becoming clear: seize the opportunity that the crisis, and his high popularity, offers him, and tackle multiple fronts both to accomplish as much as possible as quickly as possible, and to keep opponents off balance.  Obama’s intention is to cause such devastating losses to all Americans that they will welcome government intervention – and the nationalizing of all major institutions – as their last best hope for survival.  Sound familiar; it should.  This is exactly the plan that all megalomaniacs, like Marx and Lenin and Mussolini and Hitler and Mao and Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden and the president’s other guiding lights, radicals Saul Alinsky, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Louis Farrakhan, Father Michael Phleger, terrorist Bill Ayers, et al, have spoken and written about in their toxic philosophies of Black Liberation theology, Marxism, Communism, Socialism, and Terrorism.  All of them have in common a deep envy and hatred of America, and a desire to destroy the freest, most benevolent, and, yes, most powerful and rich and militarily strong country in the history of the world!  Obama’s so-called “stimulus package,” costing about $1.2 trillion, is aimed at reducing healthcare costs, converting our carbon-based economy to “green” power and expanding government involvement in education.  Obama’s energy strategy is also becoming clear: shove aside offshore drilling leases, reinstituting some of the drilling bans, and limit any surviving plan for drilling offshore while heavily investing in unproven alternative fuels and doubling energy bills!  Obama’s environmental strategy is a “bait and switch” to pass a “cap and trade” plan as a stealth tax increase to not solve the climate hoax, bit to fund his other social entitlement spending plans.  Obama’s education strategy is to expand the liberal indoctrination to pre-school age while rewriting history to support the transition to socialism and secularism.  None of those three factors is among the reasons for the accelerating recession and increasing unemployment.  

 

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel said last November "you never want a serious crisis to go to waste… It's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before."  Emergencies call for urgent responses that allow little time for substantive debate.  The rush was such that not only did Obama break his pledge to allow for a 48 hour review period prior to the vote, but not even 24 hours were provided to read the 1400-plus page bill.  The main reason the "stimulus" bill had to be passed in such a rush was because it had to be passed before the economy had a chance to rebound on its own, which has already started.  The economy's hard take-down last year was due almost entirely to a longstanding government policy that forced banks to lend to unworthy borrowers plus missteps in Fed interest-rate policy.  The combination of soaring oil prices, bad mortgages, a collapsing housing market and rising interest rates crushed much of our financial infrastructure, causing mass bankruptcies, layoffs and a financial crisis that hammered economies around the globe.  But now, after months of seemingly nonstop bad news, there are hopeful signs are beginning to appear on the horizon.  The White House has fallen into the kinds of partisan habits the President once decried: overwrought rhetoric, misrepresentation of the other side, and ad hominem attack.  Criticism of Limbaugh for hoping that Obama fails is disingenuous coming from Democrats who openly wished President Bush to fail repeatedly for eight years.  Attacking Rush Limbaugh as a Republican surrogate was a strategy to distract people from critical review of Democrat economic overreach has clearly backfired.  The revenue for Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio program in the first quarter of this year was up 13.5% versus the same time period a year ago.  His Arbitron listenership was up 32%, which was especially hard since it's a percentage increase over his already record-breaking national audience.  Expect each and every positive bit of economic news to be attributed to the President’s plan, regardless of whether or not it is even possible for it to be related.  The current attention on AIG retention bonuses is another clear strategy to distract people’s attention from the corpulent budget proposal to the contrived corporate AIG “greedy villains.”  This strategy is calculated; it is deceitful; it is manipulative; it is opportunistic; and most of all it is un-presidential.

 

 

Despite Democrat control of the White House, Senate, and House the approval rating of Congress remains at historic lows of 18%.  The financial crisis has been widely interpreted as proof of the need for extensive government regulation of banks, insurance companies and other capitalist institutions.   The antics of politicians now that they have a greater role, however, are a vivid reminder of why they can't be trusted with such power.  Upon closer review the AIG distraction is meant to hide Congressional inability to run any company and its contractual obligations that were known and even protected by the Dodd amendment hidden inside the “stimulus” bill.  How dare congressmen piously denounce the scandalous waste of $165 million in AIG bonuses after having wasted billions of taxpayer dollars in recent pork-laden spending bills?  How dare Congressman Barney Frank trying to lord guilt over all AIG bonus recipients when he himself thwarted needed reform at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, resulting in taxpayers being saddled with $5 trillion of liabilities?  How dare Senator Chris Dodd acting indignant about AIG bonuses when he apparently undid congressional attempts to curtail such bonuses by slipping into the “stimulus” bill the provision that explicitly allowed these contractually obligated bonuses?  Some taxpayers feel that members of Congress should forfeit their salaries in years when they fail to balance the budget.  Our leaders' contempt for failure apparently applies only to the private sector and never to their own obvious failings.  Midterm elections can have a dynamic all their own, and even a popular Barack Obama may not be enough to protect all Democratic candidates from voter anger.

 

Barack Obama has already set numerous records during his young presidency, not the least of them is the number of campaign promises he has already broken.  It is a development that was entirely foreseeable given candidate Obama’s soaring rhetoric, which ranged from the implausible to the absurd.  Team Obama thinks the president, having spent a good portion of the campaign decrying the $2.9 trillion in deficits during the Bush years, can now double the national debt held by the public in 10 years.  Having condemned earmarks during the campaign, the Obama administration now believes it can wave through 8,500 of them in the omnibus-spending bill, part of the biggest spending increase since World War II.  With the Dow at 7,000 and unemployment at 8.1%, Mr. Obama says the economy is fundamentally sound.  Does he suppose the nation won't recall him attacking John McCain last September for saying the same thing, when the Dow was at 11,000 and unemployment at 6.2%?  Rather than working with Republicans on the budget, the administration attacked them as mindless obstructionists.  The overall rhetorical turnabout to a more positive economic outlook is fraught with risks for Obama and his aides.  One is to the president’s credibility if the new language is not seen as driven by objective evidence.  Another is that Americans who are hurting feel abandoned by the increased talk of recovery.  The final danger is that the prophesied economic rebound is not actually at hand and that investors or consumers who heed Obama’s advice could end up even deeper in the hole.

 

 

A number of really smart people endorsed Obama only to find out that they were hoodwinked, since they fell in love with the idea of Obama and that blinded them to the reality of the man Obama.  The “Teleprompter-in-Chief” is revealed as a hard leftist, a man with no management skills, a man with no knowledge of history, and a man who insults our allies.  He who promised change has dredged up the failed nostrums of the past as if they were something new and fresh.  In fact, the ordinariness, the dullness, the lifelessness of the Obama Administration is obvious.  It seems as if Obama cannot think of anything more creative than doing what Franklin Roosevelt did but on a grander scale.  The President’s budget would generate unsustainably large deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade.  The new Congressional Budget Office figures predict Obama's budget will produce $9.3 trillion worth of red ink over 2010-2019. That's $2.3 trillion worse than the administration predicted in its budget just last month.  Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under Obama's policies would never go below 4% of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable. By the end of the decade, the deficit would exceed 5 percent of GDP, a dangerously high level.  61% of Americans say government spending is almost always wasteful and inefficient.  57% of Americans think free market solutions are better than government at creating jobs and economic growth.  61% of Americans were concerned "the federal government will spend too much money" and "drive up the budget.”  What is Obama's foreign policy? It is a return to the naiveté of Woodrow Wilson of a century ago and to the sanctimonious silliness of Jimmy Carter three decades ago.  Now, as the reality of what they have done is hitting them in the face, these naive people are painfully coming to grips with their colossal gullibility.  Obama has found out that his protectionist policies abrogating parts of NAFTA has already resulted in Mexico retaliating with $2.4 billion in tariffs on 89 U.S. goods that have been traded duty-free since 1994.  With the exception of Fox News and CNN, the Mainstream Media have ignored the 30 plus “Tea Parties” that have taken place across the country to protest Obama’s plan to “stimulate” the economy a bailout homeowners through unrestrained government spending.

 

The miraculous marketing machine that carried a junior senator into the White House is now at work trying to convince Americans that writing fat checks from an empty Treasury represents a giant step toward fiscal responsibility.  President Obama has framed his budget as a break from the Bush Administration’s policies.  In reality, the Obama budget accelerates Bush’s borrow, spend, and bailout policies.  The President’s budget would double the publicly held national debt to more than $15 trillion.  Even after the recession, his $500 billion to $700 billion budget deficits would exceed the budget deficits under President Bush.  The President’s budget would raise taxes by $1.4 trillion over 10 years.  He's proclaimed this first budget as ringing in a "New Era of Responsibility."  According to the president’s budget, federal outlays will be 27.7% of GDP in 2009 and 24.1% in 2010, levels not reached since World War II.  Call it the Audacity of Hype.  The President proposes a new PAYGO budget law, but his proposed budget would violate it by $3.4 trillion.  His entire claim to responsibility rests on raising taxes on the wealthy, an action that is as ideologically driven as anything George W. Bush put on the table and will likely do severe harm to the economy.  The Obama budget perpetuates the have-it-now, pay-for-it-later mentality that has brought us to the brink of financial ruin.  He isn't going to let the economic crisis deter him from enacting his hugely expensive social agenda.  Nor will he heed warnings that his energy and health initiatives may place additional financial hardships on struggling taxpayers.  One of the lesser known provisions is the White House commitment to budget cuts that will force 10 million seniors off their Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and back to the more expensive and less comprehensive coverage of traditional Medicare.  Guaranteeing health care coverage for all Americans may cost about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.  That would be more than double the $634 billion 'down payment' Obama set aside for health care reform in his budget.  Cutting the tax deduction for charitable deductions made by the wealthy will take an estimated $9 billion away from nonprofits and send it to Washington, where it will be redistributed as Obama sees fit.  Obama is pushing his “card check” provision to help unions identify and overcome any opposition, despite 81% of non-union workers not wanted any union representation.  Obama will spend less of the budget on defense than any president since Jimmy Carter, a dangerous choice in a world that is increasingly unsettled and where those hostile to America's interests remain unsubdued.  Overall, the Obama budget will make Americans more dependent on government, explode the federal deficit, risk further crippling of the economy and leave the nation more exposed to its enemies.

 

President Obama frequently claimed his mortgage bailout plan provided necessary and justifiable aid for those who "played by the rules" and "through no fault of their own" were being forced out of "their homes."  Like all of Obama's rhetoric, it sounded great and tugged at heart strings everywhere.  Like too much of his rhetoric, it's a solution for a situation that doesn't really exist.  Unlike many of the clever but dishonest straw men that Obama has created to sell his programs, this is one most Americans will see through.  It's clear to anyone who is willing to be honest about the situation that most of those who will qualify for Obama's bailout didn't play by the rules.  They agreed to mortgages they couldn't possibly afford, some right from the start, others when higher interest rates they agreed to kicked in at a later date.  Still others would have been fine with their original mortgage payment, but when the perceived value of the home skyrocketed they took out second mortgages to fund home improvements and all sorts of other things, things they couldn't really afford unless they continued to suck additional artificial equity out of the home.  Everyone who has been playing by the rules will pay hundreds of billions in additional taxes to cover the bailout of delinquent homeowners who broke every rule in the book.  Several banks including Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, TCF Financial Corp., Northern Trust, and Signature Bank of New York are trying to return bailout funds.  The reason to return the funds is because they limit the recipient’s dividends, executive pay, employee conferences, and jobs for foreigners.  Out of the blue, bank stocks mounted an impressive rally last week, jumping nearly 40%.  However this anticipated-profits turnaround doesn't seem to have anything to do with the TARP.  When the Fed loosens money, and short-term rates are pulled well below long rates, banks profit enormously from the upward-sloping yield curve.  The upward-sloped yield curve is the real bailout for the banking system.  Instead of spending a trillion TARP dollars to rescue toxic assets, why not ease or liberalize mark-to-market accounting rules?  Let the banks hold their toxic investments over a long period, rather than force them to sell now and the economy will get better, as will housing and other impaired assets.

 

With their majorities in the House and Senate lost, Republican leaders have adopted a communications strategy as their best hope.  Republicans have little ability to influence the legislative debate, particularly in the House, if Democrats are determined to press ahead with President Obama’s plan to take on health care, climate change, education, transportation and other major issues.  Republicans are going to attempt to both challenge the assumptions and the content of the president’s budget.  Republicans have been providing a steady stream of complaints depicting Obama’s plan as spending too much, taxing too much, and borrowing too much.  But first Republicans need to repackage their party platform to emphasize share a culture of Christian faith, the right to life, a traditional family structure, and a solid work ethic.  Then Republicans must focus on exposing Democrats for their role in class exploitation; in particular, their assault on those who provide jobs.  Finally Republicans need to define themselves as the party of all Americans: all races, all religions, all backgrounds; all with a dream to achieve in America!   The GOP is the party for entrepreneurs and businesses who turn the economic wheel, not unions and not government.  Newt Gingrich has called on the Obama administration to abandon the strategy of bailing out failing companies, and instead insist the companies choose bankruptcy or receivership as the only way to restore a sense of order and fairness to the economic system.  

 

The demoralized, unproductive, gray prison of a communist state is defined by deep impoverishment that the egalitarian fantasies of socialism inevitably lead.  The condition of life under communism, so filled with repression, suspicion, and hopelessness, dragged one down into an early grave.  Every totalitarian regime begins with the same heartfelt promises of justice and equality, just those promises of fairness that Barack Obama has made the fixation of his political career.  Soon, however, those who come to power, even with good intentions, discover that for all men to be made equal, some men must be made poor, and most men will not agree to be made poor in the absence of force.  So force must be applied, assets must be seized, censorship must be imposed, dissidents must be jailed, enemies must be destroyed.  At the heart of the ideal of fairness is the fundamental mistake that all workers should be equally rewarded, regardless of effort and ability.  Under socialism, those who are lazy and unproductive, or not productive at all, or even blatantly destructive, get a free ride; those who are skillful and enterprising are punished.  The longer that ambition is repressed, the less productive the overall economy becomes.  At that point, the wrath of the state is unleashed on all workers, not just on the more able.  It is no accident that socialism always fails, because of its fundamental assumption that self-interest can be suppressed in human relations.  The symptoms of this demise of civilization are all easily measured and acutely felt: they include a shrinking food supply, a decline in the quality and availability of housing, a reduction of educational standards, an attenuation of essential public services, a diminishment of private property rights, and, ultimately, a decreased life expectancy.

 

As astounding as it may seem, socialism remains the dream of the American Left, and it is exactly what we are getting with the Democrats now in control of the White House and Congress.  In one form or another, we will have socialized medicine, with its callous specter of long waiting lists or outright denials for life-saving operations and drugs.  In one form or another, we will see government control of the energy industry, and with it ever higher prices for fuel and electricity.  In the near future federal expenditures will rise from the current 20% to 25% of GDP, funded by a combination of ruinous debt and higher taxes.  This figure, however, does not include the impact of stealth taxes, such as the annual trillion dollar "cap and trade" tax planned for startup in 2012.  In order to address what Democrats like to call "income disparity," massive new taxation will rob trillions of dollars from skilled, hardworking individuals and redistribute it to less hardworking or less skilled persons, to say nothing of the underclass of drug addicts, prostitutes, and shiftless losers who will claim their outsized share of new "benefits."  In the earlier, more genteel days of audacious hope, socialism failed at New Lanark, at Brook Farm, at Rugby, and in all of the Shaker communities in which it was attempted, and not merely for want of procreation.  When socialism failed under Hitler and Mussolini, under Lenin and Stalin, and under Mao and Pol Pot, no one was allowed to leave until everyone was beaten down or dead.  For the liberal ideologue, poverty is not an economic condition per se, a temporary condition of low earnings that can be alleviated over time as those who are poor pursue opportunities and become better off.  Rather, it is a permanent and reified condition: the poor are not just those who are earning less than others; they are those who have been made poor and who will continue poor, poverty being inherited in the manner that aristocratic titles may be in Britain.  In the liberal imagination, the poor have special rights that extend far beyond the inalienable rights of the average citizen.  The simple assertion of belonging to "the poor" confers the right of victimhood with all the perks of sympathy, support, welfare, and exculpatory excuse-making that go with it.  The poor, the working class, working families, single moms, all of these worthy classes are entitled not just to encouragement, charity, and welfare, but to elevation above and beyond the rest of the pharisaical population.  The Democratic leadership is eager to promote this fairy tale because mounting expenditure and debt expands the size of government, leading us gradually and almost imperceptibly toward socialism.  Even if there were a depthless bucket of cash, of which some seem confident, the psychic damage of socialism should be enough to render it abhorrent.  When will the liberal elite come to understand that welfare in every form, from cash handouts for "the poor" to exculpatory sympathy for an "oppressed" criminal class, simply reinforces failure on the part of individuals who might otherwise improve their lot?  The "solution" to poverty is not to subsidize those who are poor but to allow them to feel the effects of poverty until such time as they are motivated to work.  Nearly all who are made long-term clients of welfare decide to remain so.  Few who have escaped poverty by honest work ever return to it.  What happened under communism elsewhere will happen here: the public will lose its will to resist the immense power of government and will finally lapse into demoralized passivity.

 

All of Obama’s economic policies thus far are designed to drive America into full embrace of socialism.  His chief means for this transformation is inflation.  He is attempting to inflate the currency through two primary means: intense deficit spending, and pushing up production costs through union subsidization.  In order to make these measures politically palatable, he cites FDR as an example of good deficit spending; he cites the credit crunch as an excuse for inflationary monetary policy; and he recommends unionization in order to boost wages.  It’s a beautiful strategy for purposefully trashing capitalism, all the while blaming capitalism for its own downfall.  John Maynard Keynes, the liberal economist who championed government intervention during recessions, recognized Obama’s inflationary strategy for what it is: a stealth technique to destroy the capitalist system.  Obama pursues inflation -- government devaluation of the currency -- with the zeal of the newly converted.  His deficit spending will be financed either through higher taxes or through inflation.  Obama says he will push higher taxes -- after all, he wants to appease the Chinese, who don’t want their U.S. securities paid off with inflated dollars.  But covertly, Obama fully intends on inflating the currency to pay off the massive deficit he has shoved through Congress.  Meanwhile, Obama uses the increased prices produced by inflation to justify continuing unionization (“card check” legislation) forcing up the cost of doing business and throwing people out of work.  He then blames unemployment on the failure of the free market and states that the government must step in to hire more Americans.  This is the same tried and true policy that created the Great Depression.

 

 

 * There is so much published each week that unless you go out of your way to find it, you will miss important breaking events.   I package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning for your education and reading pleasure. 

 

If you are sick and tired of government and politics as usual, read my web site with its individual issue analysis and recommendations sections at: http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com .  Individual issue updates this week include:

 

This Week’s Best Articles:

·         What was supposed to be legal lynching of AIG’s Edward Liddy turns into huge defeat for Congress” by Michael Goodwin dated March 18, 2009 published by New York Daily News at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/columnists/goodwin/index.html .

·         Obama on Education: Change or Politics as Usual?” by Neal McCluskey dated March 18, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/NealMcCluskey/2009/03/18/obama_on_education_change_or_politics_as_usual .

·         Congress in a Lynching Mood” by Steve Chapman dated March 19, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/SteveChapman/2009/03/19/congress_in_a_lynching_mood .

·         Obama and Your Electric Bill” by Ernest Istook dated March 19, 2009 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31137 .

·         Glenn Beck Re-Energizes the Conservative Movement” by Mark Skousen dated March 19, 2009 published by Human Events at .

·         Washington’s phony AIG outrage” dated March 19, 2009 published by Las Vegas Review-Journal at http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/41483372.html .

·         Mexico Bites Back” dated March 19, 2009 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=322355776985097 .

·         The Nation Unites Against Obama” by Gary Bauer dated March 20, 2009 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31152 .

·         “The Banality of Obama” by Bruce Walker dated March 20, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/03/the_banality_of_obama.html .

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY