A.J. DiCintio
Sickening economic leadership
By A.J. DiCintio
March 27, 2011

Barack Obama dithered indifferently while deciding whether or not to join the UN-approved, European-led attacks on Libyan government forces. More importantly, when he decided to get on board, he failed to secure congressional approval and never articulated his objectives and exit strategy to the American people. Therefore, he has rightly suffered slings and arrows from both right and left for leadership that features feckless, empty talk one day, arrogance and lack of definition the next.

But however important the situation in Libya may be, it blanches to the palest shade of white in comparison to Washington's mad financial profligacy, an entirely home-grown, self-inoculated infection that, having festered insidiously for decades, now poses a clear and present danger to the lives of 300 million Americans.

As expected by those who know a thing or two about the political ideology of the Chicago Machine, our current oxymoronic "change agent" president doesn't just reject the "fierce urgency" of fighting the infection, he believes the American body becomes healthier with more injections of the infectious agent.

And that's why the nation must dedicate itself to continually maintaining a focus greater than that currently aimed at Libya on a mindless perversity that within less than a decade is certain to result in an America suffering all the agonies induced by the disease called fiscal disaster.

To avoid this inevitable calamity, the country can't count on help from congressional Democrats, whose love for the president's economic agenda is evidenced by the high-fiving delight with which they have received and further porked up every administration proposal for spending to the extent that Treasury is now borrowing $1.5 trillion a year and the Fed is printing dollars at a speed that has its presses operating one degree below their melting point.

In contrast, conservatives and Tea Party adherents have been sounding the alarm about the impending crisis.

So have congressional Republicans, though they have not yet coalesced around a comprehensive strategy that takes into account the need for fair, substantial restructuring of federal spending, including a war on waste, while strengthening and improving government's essential watchdog functions — for example, the one that has diligent, sharp toothed hounds keeping a hard eye on multi-trillion dollar bankers and other derivatives-addicted gamblers who regard financial markets as a casino.

But however conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, and (hope springs eternal) moderate Democrats react to the crisis, political reality tells us it is independent voters who will determine whether this nation institutes the smart reforms necessary to avert an inevitable fiscal/cultural catastrophe.

With those independents in mind, here are some crucially important facts regarding the septic nature of Obama's economic leadership.

As everyone informed about Obama's proposed 2012 budget knows, it presents a toxic ten year plan that purports to hold the increase in the national debt to an "acceptable" $7 trillion ($14 trillion to $21 trillion) even as it fails to be honest about $1 to $2 trillion in additional Obamacare costs, other costs, and "states of emergencies" that always come up.

How does the president propose to keep that burgeoning debt from sickening America with a devastating illness?

Well, as expedient, power loving politicians have been doing all over the world for the past half century, our champion of "change" is hoping the economy will grow with such vigor that as much as a 70 to 80% increase in debt notwithstanding, America will avoid the fate that has befallen the "PIGS" — Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Incredibly, our president asks us to support him in this act built upon deadly dangerous hope despite the fact that as a "brilliant" scholar he surely knows that the nineties, the period of the amazing internet boom, saw GDP grow just 37% (from $8 to $11 trillion).

. . . Surely knows that the past decade has seen GDP increase only18% (from $11 to $13 trillion) with income for average American families remaining sickeningly flat.

. . . And surely knows that unlike Japan's huge debt, which is held principally by the Japanese people, ours is increasingly held by the cleverly calculating totalitarian tiger that is our most fearsome political and economic adversary.

Now, that information alone goes a very long way to supporting the notion that Obama's plan turns its back on reason in favor of a frightful, ideologically driven irrationality.

But before independents make up their minds, they will want to hear about the president's economic machinations and their disastrous implications from other sources. And well they should.

As one means of obtaining this confirmation, they should consider the following from an AP article about what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently had to say about the president's ten year outlook.

In general the CBO concluded that Obama's plan understates "future budget deficits by more than $2 trillion" so that total debt in ten years actually will, at minimum, fall in the $22-$23 trillion range.

How did the CBO arrive at that conclusion? Well, to its credit, the agency refuses to accept Obama's devious accounting tricks that (1) significantly exaggerate prospects for economic growth (2) claim "$300 billion" in Medicare savings without revealing where the money comes from and (3) purport to find "$328 billion . . . from unspecified 'bipartisan financing' to pay for transportation infrastructure projects . . ."

The meaning of all this? From CBO data and the AP's reporting, citizens will learn that Obama's plan never gets the deficit under 4% of GDP, thereby assuring not only that "the portion of the debt held by . . . foreign countries will reach a dangerously high [level]" but also that "interest costs for the government [will] explode from $214 billion this year to almost $1 trillion by decade's end."

Ironically, when some people hear the term "trillion dollars," they blow off its significance with the superficiality of "it's beyond my imagination."

But make no mistake about it, a trillion dollar annual tab to pay interest on the national debt represents an infectious agent so poisonous that it means disaster for the American people, a disaster the AP rightly illuminates by speaking of "a European-style debt crisis that could force draconian measures such as cutting federal benefits for seniors or forcing broad-based tax increases."

And that's not to mention how such an annual burden will severely degrade American sovereignty, economic well being, and social stability, indeed, the entire American Dream as it has existed for more than 200 years.

Moreover, the devastation just described will not be any less astonishing if Barack Obama possessed the courage to be honest about the economic and social consequences of the enormous tax increases and budget cutting (think Greece and Ireland) that will be necessary to avoid the debt disaster is real reform is not begun immediately — not that we ought to expect courage and honesty to be hallmarks of a president whose idea of leadership permits him to take a maniacal gamble with the nation's future.

With data and analysis that makes this president lose his glib voice put on the table, here are some final thoughts for independent voters:

The eradication of Washington's deadly financial infection won't happen without the leadership of a mature, wise, brave, truly innovative president who, in direct communication with the American people, thoroughly devotes himself to the long-term task.

However, hoping a second term Barack Obama will transform himself into such a president mocks, at the expense of even our great-great-grandchildren, the hard and dearly earned wisdom one of our most important American ancestors bequeathed to us when he counseled, "He that lives upon hope will die fasting."

Ben Franklin, of course, left it to the heirs of the free nation he helped create to understand that death by empty, foolish hope applies also to ridding a body of a violently raging infection.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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