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Views on the News

April 4, 2009

 

Views on the News*  

Obama is not your typical crass Democratic politician; he is a leftist ideologue, a true believer.  Obama is a leftist is a statement to which few will take exception.  There aren’t many willing to deny the radical nature of his leftist politics.  Obama’s goal is to rewrite the American social compact to recast the relationship between government and citizen, based on “fairness” which is actually Marxist redistribution of wealth.  Far from being disposed to hear the call of compromise, Obama's politics is determined to silence its voice altogether.  He is animated by a robust and grandiose philosophical vision that pervades and unites each of its parts.  Within his first memoir, Dreams of My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, he admits to having immersed himself, as a college student, in the avant-garde literature that is the standard diet required by humanities and liberal arts departments in the contemporary university.  Such Marxian and neo-Marxian variations as feminism, structuralism, post-structuralism, and post-colonialism are among the leftist studies in which Obama engaged.  He all too eagerly devoured the anti-Western fare that he was fed.  His twenty-plus year membership in Jeremiah Wright's church, saturated as it is with "Liberation Theology," in addition to his relationships with other radicals of various sorts and, finally, the economic policies that he is now promoting, establish beyond any reasonable doubt that Obama's commitment to a Marxian ideology of a kind remains as steady as ever.  Anyone who doubts that the Bush and Obama collectively transformed America into a socialist state should understand that for every dollar American citizens generated last year, the federal bailout consumed more than 90 cents in outlays, loans, and commitments.  Obama is genuinely committed to the ideological vision that he holds, and it is for the sake of promoting and implementing this vision that he desires the enormous quantum of power that he so fervently pursues: a vast apparatus of power is necessary for grandiose wealth redistributive schemes.

 

President Barack Obama has no intention of helping to grow the United States economy, because on the contrary, he is doing everything a President can do to weaken it.  After roughly ten weeks, Obama has consistently proposed ideas and plans that will weaken the U.S. economy, not strengthen it.  It is called the “Great Obama Recession” for a reason.  He has a very different set of assumptions in mind, that American prosperity itself is a problem to be remedied, or that the U.S. has become an economic superpower at the expense of other nations, only then does his economic behavior appear rational.  Now it is clear that President Obama’s objective is to weaken the U.S.  Since 1980, all net job growth in this country has been driven by firms less than five years old by the brash young start-ups that become the behemoths of tomorrow.  Unfortunately, all the major initiatives either passed or in the works, from the bank bailouts, to the stimulus, to the new budget, to looming reforms of the health care and immigration system, either ignore entrepreneurs or make things harder on them.  Vast new spending and huge new entitlement programs crowd out private investment, burden business, and so overload the treasury as to make future tax increases inevitable.  Bailouts are delaying the inevitable of either an orderly bankruptcy for companies that could survive a restructuring and return to profitability, or a lamented but necessary closing of the doors.  The more government spends, and the deeper it sinks the country into debt without doing anything to promote job creation and growth, the more the anger will deepen and spread.  One of the unintended consequences of this continued recession is erosion of the Social Security trust fund whose surplus is forecast to all but vanish next year, nearly a decade ahead of schedule, and deprive the government of billions of dollars it had been counting on to help balance the nation's books.  The American people, as ever, understand what is best for their country.  They know that entrepreneurs and the new business they start, not government spending programs, are the way out.  He is now proposing to spend the wealth of future generations of Americans - wealth that has yet to be created - while confidently asserting along the way that he is reducing the federal deficit, not expanding it.  President Obama also campaigned on a promise to repair relationships between the U.S. and the rest of the world, relationships that he claimed President Bush had so horribly damaged.  Yet on his economic proposals, alone, foreign governments are reacting with shock and horror to our new President.  Conventional wisdom has been that Europeans hated the U.S. because of President Bush, but this week’s G20 demonstrations prove that President Obama’s policies are equally hated.  For two years, Senator Obama campaigned across the country preaching the economics of “getting even” - a "strategy" to make conditions more "fair" for the less fortunate by punishing successful individuals and organizations.  By every indication, he is now applying that same ‘strategy” to the United States, as it relates to the rest of the world, making the world a more “fair” and “just” playing field by weakening the strongest player on the field.  History has shown that recessions last 18-24 months so we should be emerging from this one soon, but Obama is focused on his government expansion and social reengineering programs and is happy to elongate the recession as cover for his socialist transformation.

 

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Democrat-controlled Washington has rebranded the “Global War on Terror” as an "Overseas Contingency Operation," and replaced this life-and-death struggle with replaced it with the “Global War on Business.”  Congress has focused on fixing sectors of our economy by providing bailout funds in exchange for increased operational control.  Bailing out AIG has empowered Congress to set compensation plans for executives.  Bailing out banks has empowered Congress to set lending practices and criteria.  Bailing out GM and Chrysler has empowered Congress to set brand and product strategy.  Since most Congressmen have never held a private sector job prior to joining Congress, why do we think they have better knowledge and experience than industry professionals?  Meanwhile Congress is working hard to implement their energy and environmental agenda which will cripple private business financial and business strategies.  Obama has passed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 which is neither “omnibus” nor "comprehensive."  Instead this was a smorgasbord of 160 bills totaling more than 1,300 pages locks up an additional 2 million acres to the 107 million acres of federally owned wilderness areas from energy exploration or exploitation.  Earlier this year, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled 77 Utah oil and gas leases that had gone through seven years of studies, negotiations and land-use planning.  Most of the locked-up lands are in Western states where there's enough oil shale to satisfy America's needs for the next 200 years.  In addition the cap-and-trade tax hike is the worst kind of tax increase, because the tax increase is hidden behind a complex regulatory apparatus that only adds to the cost.  Much of the damage would be caused by significantly higher energy prices: 20 to 67% higher prices for gasoline and 23 to 30% higher prices for electricity.  These astonishing economic costs are not an unfortunate side effect of the bill, because they are its intended purpose.  President Obama explained last year that passing costs on to consumers is an important part of his plan, "Under my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket… whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers."  Worse, these tax increases may not buy us anything of value on the environmental side.  Even if emissions targets are met, climate models show that the reductions would have no discernible effect on the global average temperature.  The White House is now punishing the military to help offset soaring domestic spending that will create trillion-dollar annual deficits.  The military will eventually suffer combat readiness problems as it did under Democratic presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, who both inflicted deep wounds in defense spending.  It should be clear by now that President Obama has a vision for America that includes forcing business to support high energy costs and alternative energy vehicles that are only economically viable with high energy costs.

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It is very troubling to see the president seeking to gather more government power to manage Wall Street and to make Geithner de facto CEO of financial firms.  The latest plan is to grant the Treasury Secretary unprecedented powers to allow the seizure of non-bank financial companies if government officials believe the failure of a company would damage the economy.  Efforts to chip away at the free market will dramatically harm long-term economic growth.  The public might have been better served by allowing the laws of bankruptcy to permit the changes necessary to learn from failure.  Every year thousands of new business ventures end in failure.  The philosophers of capitalism call it “creative destruction” because, for every failure there is a learning curve that leads to eventual success for those willing to evaluate what went wrong, change habits of management that led to failure, and avoid the previous mistakes.  The history of the present financial crisis, one that is centered in the heavily regulated mortgage loan industry, is the direct result of congressional interference that required banks and mortgage loan firms to make, in essence, bad loans.  They had to make home equity loans to people that all the principles of banking said should not qualify to receive one.  The government mandated such loans and then backed them with “government sponsored entities” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy the loans from the institutions meant that anyone, no matter how unqualified, did not have to negotiate to receive one.  The failure of the present system is best seen in the failure of the government’s “oversight” agencies that were put in place.  Failure, however, of elected Representatives and Senators to even read the legislation put before them constitutes malfeasance of an order that jeopardizes the economy and our society in ways that harms the interest of everyone.  Failure to act with any restraint on government spending was demonstrated in a $787 billion “stimulus” bill to “save the economy.”  Then, Congress passed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill with 8,500 earmarks even though Obama campaigned on a promise to end earmarks, but he deemed it “imperfect”, and signed it anyway.  Incidentally, most of the big bankers want to pay back their TARP money, not take more of it.  However the Treasury is conducting stress tests that could stop the TARP pay-downs and force the banks to take more taxpayer funds in return for even more federal control.  As for Detroit, the carmakers should have been in bankruptcy months ago, and it would have been a bankruptcy court that fired GM’s Wagoner and his board.  Along with some serious pain for bondholders, bankruptcy would have broken the high-cost labor contracts with the UAW as well as carmaker contracts with dealers across the country.  That’s what bankruptcy courts are for, as part of the free-market capitalist system.  In the world of government, failure can destroy the hopes and dreams of those who put too much trust in elected leaders and then failed to replace those who did not fulfill their constitutional responsibilities.

 

Obama campaigned on a vow to bring transparency to the presidency, but his strategy may have backfired!  In a staggering miscalculation he forgot that transparency works in opposite ways too; for example displays of ineptitude, ignorance, inexperience and stupidity become glaringly transparent when afforded enough opportunity for repeated exposures.  Obama's presidency from the start has been overexposed laying bare his naïveté and absence of leadership in substance, while proving he comprehends little of the enormity of the job he's undertaken, corresponding to his lack of any preparedness for it.  Washington Post found out that Obama’s Town Hall was a stage managed propaganda event with the questioners selected from his campaign backers.  Obama’s stumbling and bumbling extends to foreign policy as well with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivering another misstep with China, Iran, Russia and Mexico.  Angry citizens are fed up with the government's lavish disregard for constitutional restrictions when it comes to spending money and enacting legislation.  The overwhelming sentiment in middle America is a rapidly-building fury over the direction this country is going.  This anger is being expressed as tea parties being held all over the country, over a thousand at last count.  The ironic thing is the mainstream media won't report on tea parties.  Maybe the media hope that if it doesn't cover tea parties then maybe they'll go away or something. (known as the ostrich strategy.)  Obama may already be a lame duck president barely 60 days into his first term!

 

“Obama’s budget is little more than a thinly veiled attempt by Washington to spend its way into prosperity, tax its way into tax relief, and borrow its way into debt reduction.” said Congressman Paul Ryan.  President Obama’s 2010 budget hikes federal spending 23% above 2008 levels!  The health care numbers presented in the budget amounted to $634 billion over ten years, tucked within a reserve fund that serves as a “down payment” for comprehensive health care reform more likely to cost at least twice as much.  Once one blows away the political smoke, there remains little evidence in the budget of a serious commitment to deliver more substantial and lasting savings.  The healthcare portion of this budget is largely an extension of broader bait-and-switch tactics, for which the primary objective is to quickly lock in long-term structural changes in who controls healthcare choices.  Left to less-urgent “out years” will be worries about how to renege on the too-generous terms of offers of universal coverage, comprehensive benefits, and lower list prices.  The short, postcard version of Obama’s health reform pitch to the public represents a faith-based initiative that straddles the line between audacity and mendacity: insurance coverage for everyone; more choices that include keeping what you already have; choices that will cost less but offer better benefits because “someone else” will pay more; reductions only in waste; and new wellness interventions that will make us all healthier anyway.  That threat is not the severe recession, since the recession will eventually end.  The real threat is the monstrous debt resulting from the slump in revenues and the staggering sums being committed by Washington to rescuing embattled banks and homeowners, and the absence of any serious strategy for paying it all back.  The debt will continue to grow about $1 trillion a year because of a structural deficit between the spending rate, averaging 23% of the GDP and the federal revenues at 19%.  The larger price will be paid by your children and grandchildren, who will inherit a future-blighting mountain of debt.  After weeks of Obama selling his budget from coast to coast, Gallup found budget support down slightly and disapproval up slightly.  People who feel positively about his budget fell from 44% in late February to 39% this week.  People who feel negatively about the budget increased one point to 27% in the same time frame.  Obama had a rude awakening in Europe when he was rebuked for his plan to spend his way out of debt, since it has failed every time it was tried in Europe.  Meanwhile at the G20 Obama committed over $1 trillion of additional taxpayer money to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for the “global plan for recovery and reform.” 

 

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Unless Republicans stop acting like the “Keystone Kops” and get their acts together with a common message and concerted efforts, America can look forward to Democrat leadership for a generation.  So far Republican leadership has not produced any vision or platform, like the 1994 Contract with America, that the party can rally around and to unite the party in the 2010 election.  This Republican platform must now include a section on how to undo the damage that Obama has unleashed on this country’s economy and security.  Considering the lack of bipartisanship exhibited by the Democrat Congress and the leftist content of their proposals, Republicans should proudly embrace the title of “Party of No” as a badge of courage to refute and deny the spending orgy and rush to socialism.  Answering President Obama's challenge for critics to present alternatives, the House Republicans have offered a responsible budget blueprint that:

·    Borrows $3.6 trillion less than the President's budget;

·    Would create $23,000 less debt per household than the President's budget;

·    Keeps federal spending just above 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP)—the same level as before the recession;

·    Avoids all tax increases and even simplifies the overly complex tax code;

·    Includes a temporary moratorium on earmarks; and

·    Begins reforming the unsustainable costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Since Congress steamrolls its budget proposals allowing no substantial input, Republicans should step back from the budget discussion and patiently wait for the Obama economy to implode at which time Republican ideas will again be viewed as relevant.  Meanwhile Glenn Beck has emerged as a populist leader who has advocated nine basic principles and twelve basic values to guide American actions. 

·    Glenn Beck’s 9 basic principles are: America Is good; I believe in God and he is the center of my life; I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday; the family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government; if you break the law you pay the penalty; I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results; I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable; It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion; the government works for me; I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

·    Glenn Beck’s 12 basic principles are: honesty; reverence; hope; thrift; humility; charity; sincerity; moderation; hard work; courage; personal responsibility; and gratitude.

Democrats have demonized perceived Republican leaders as part of a Saul Alinsky distraction strategy, but they actually awakened a sleeping giant energizing Glenn Beck as a populist thought leader and Rush Limbaugh as a conservative thought leader!

 

* 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 reading pleasure and to fill in factual discrepancies. 

 

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:

 

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David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY