“Did you hear about the new ‘Obama Happy Meal Deal?’” a friend posted on Facebook earlier this week.
“You order whatever you want and as much as you want, and the person in line behind you has to pay for it….LOL!”
Americans have always enjoyed poking fun at their Presidents, and cheap jokes that illicit more groans than laughs aren’t to be taken too seriously. But, as is often the case with humor, there was a slight bit of truth entailed in this little online anecdote.
The joke suggests that, even among people who don’t think much about politics and public policy, or who don’t often utter words like ‘socialism,” “Marxism,” or “economic redistribution,” there is nonetheless a growing recognition that our President likes to spend other people’s money. And in light of this, we would all do well to ask a couple of questions.
Let’s start with this: “Where did all the stimulus money go?” What began in February of 2009 as a plan that the President said would “save or create 3 to 4 million jobs,” and what his Administration claimed would prevent our unemployment rate from rising over 8%, had an original price tag of $787 billion.
Months later the price of the “stimulus plan” had ballooned up to about $813 billion, and neither the Administration nor members of Congress could offer many details about it. By the end of 2009, both the fiscally conservative Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who voted against it, and the big government liberal Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) who voted in favor of it, both admitted that there had not been proper oversight of how this enormous amount of taxpayer money had been spent (a fact that I documented in my latest book, “The Virtues Of Capitalism”). All this, as the unemployment rate continued to rise well above the 8% watermark.
So let’s ask this next: “Who benefits from the spending?” This is an especially painful question, because it’s easier to think in terms of who is not benefiting, and who is being harmed, by the spending.
Ethnic minority groups living in America’s inner city regions are most certainly not benefiting from the President’s wealth redistribution. As much as they may have superimposed their own expectations on to the President’s promises of “hope” and “change,” non-whites living in America’s urban centers are now experiencing some of the worst fallout of an economy that won’t expand.
Just last week an editorial by writer Walter Russell Mead, published in “The American Interest,” pointed out that Black America in particular is suffering under President Obama. Noting that some of the most staunchly Democrat states in the country – including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota – have produced some of the highest double-digit unemployment rates among Black Americans, Mead described our current era as one of “deepening alienation, anger, and despair in America’s inner cities.” Of course it is still not acceptable for elected Democrats to admit that the president’s “spending solutions” are harmful. Thus, Chicago Police Chief Gary McCarthy recently chose to blame the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for the rising crime and unrest in his city, claiming that the right to “keep and bear arms” is an “extension of government sponsored racism.”
Americans who have maintained good credit scores and payment histories are most certainly not benefiting from President Obama’s wealth redistribution policies. The President insists that his Administration is providing “help” to borrowers who have fallen on hard times, but in reality the Administration has bailed-out banking institutions, and not individual people. We now have a financial system that is incentivized by our government to “forgive” portions of debt and to modify repayment terms for consumers with bad credit, while banks ignore credit-worthy consumers who pay their bills on time.
On the other hand, banks and the people who run them seem to be benefiting pretty well from President Obama’s spending. So do certain executive level folks at certain companies in certain other sectors of our economy. In fact, a new research project conducted by Capgemini and Bank of America shows that the world’s population of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) with $1 million or more in “investable assets” rose 8.3% over the previous year, to a total of 10.9 million people. This is to say that while President Obama’s policies are not “creating jobs,” a lot of personal wealth is being created for select individuals.
As much as President Obama has served up plenty of harsh criticisms for “overpaid executives” and “greedy companies” over the last three years, businesses and corporate executives that have politically allied themselves with him have, in many cases, been “blessed” by his spending of our money. For example, ABC News reported earlier this spring that “billions” of “stimulus dollars” have been handed-over to unionized construction companies, yet “shovel ready” infrastructure projects still haven’t emerged. More interestingly, many of these same companies owe the federal government unpaid taxes – but, they’re unionized.
If you’re on good political terms with President Obama, you may get to order “as much as you want.” If you’re second in line, you may have to pay for it all.
The Profound Misunderstanding of money by America's Leaders
Gold isn’t money? How could America get to this point we asked in astonishment upon hearing the Chairman of the Federal Reserve proclaim, “Gold isn’t Money.”
No wonder our leaders in Washington misspend our money. They don’t even understand what it is.
For those of you without a dictionary nearby, let’s start with the Webster’s definition, which says money is “something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment.”
The Webster’s definition even though inadequate still captures the essence. Money is a store of value that was created to facilitate barter or trade. It was a store of value because a farmer would accept it in exchange for his potatoes today, and next week he could spend an equivalent value to buy a pair of overalls.
If anyone reading this column doesn’t believe that gold is a good store of value, we will happily exchange your gold for some of Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve Notes. And that is exactly what owners of Federal Reserve Notes have been doing the world over. As a result, since 2001 the cost of Gold in Federal Reserve Notes has exploded from 300 notes per ounce of Gold to 1500 notes per ounce of Gold. That is a five times increase in ten years.
This is a signal that people, businesses and governments now believe that the ounce of Gold is greatly preferred as a store of value to Federal Reserve Notes.
But the people’s preference for Gold and Silver over pieces of paper with a printed promise is, as Rep. Ron Paul told Ben Bernanke in the same hearing, "at least 5000 years old."
Money is an English word first used in the 14th Century. It has been in common usage since that time. The origins are relatively simple. Webster’s again tells us the word “is derived from the Middle English moneye, from Anglo-French moneie, from Latin moneta or mint… from Moneta, epithet of Juno; from the fact that the Romans coined money in the temple of Juno Moneta.”
Students of history can tell you that all along, the best money in history has been gold and silver. This is why the Founding Fathers expressly gave Congress the right to "coin money."
Since 1971 the link between Gold and the US Dollar has been broken. And since that time we have seen unprecedented destruction of the value of the dollar through inflation. We are old enough to remember penny candy and gasoline at 33 cent per gallon. In the 1970's, Publishers Clearing House gave away the "ultimate mansion" --and the value was $100,000 dollars.
Inflation is an ideal way for countries to tax their populations both rich and poor without admitting that they have raised taxes. Inflation is in particular a means to tax the poor and elderly on fixed or limited incomes. The most vulnerable are most effected by inflation.
The more cynical of the recent decisions made by these leaders is to actually redefine our countries measure of inflation, the consumer price index or CPI. They are so cyclical that they believe we won't notice prices going up a whopping 9 percent a year-- when they report CPI of less than half the true measure.
So we guarantee you, that an academic as schooled in economics as our Federal Reserve Chairman is, Bernanke understands that Gold is money. But he, like the rest of the Washington establishment, prefer lie to our faces about definitions. This way, they can avoid lying to us about how they have fleeced the nation to the point of our near insolvency.
Not An Endgame, But the End of Beginning of the Campaign
President Obama unleashed his inner Alinskyite on Wednesday, storming out of a meeting with Congressional leaders and White House staff after threatening the GOP House Leader Eric Cantor with a parting "Eric, don't call my bluff."
Presidential it wasn't, and loyalists in the MSM immediately began to spread covering smoke from Obama allies like Harry Reid blaming the GOP Leader for refusing to be filibustered or bullied in the long series of pointless meetings arranged by a desperate president to try and change a political dynamic that sees his approval rating plummeting in poll after poll.
Last month in New Hampshire, would-be GOP nominee Mitt Romney pronounced this a "failed" presidency, and evidence for that conclusion is mounting daily as the president, either overwhelmed by his own incompetence or frozen by his extreme ideology --or both-- finds himself unable to lead. The petulance that marks the president whenever he is in a jam returned, and the instincts of the old "community organizer" took over, and the collision with Cantor underscored Obama's sheer inability to cope with opposition.
The GOP won the last election, of course, and in overwhelming fashion. The electorate renounced the vast spending and indiscipline of Obama's "stimulus" and Obamacare and demanded a retrenching, but not via a massive hike in taxes.
As Paul Ryan pointed out on my program Thursday, massive tax hikes are already built into the law for 2013 thanks to Obamacare. The president's insistence on even more taxes now is simply an attempt to turn America into Western Europe, and this is not where the country voted to go. From Ryan:
Let’s never forget the fact that the first two years of the President’s presidency, they passed all these tax increases that kick in, in 2013. So people don’t know this necessarily, yet, but the U.S. economy is going to get hit starting in 2013, you know, a little more than a year from now, with about a $1.5 trillion dollar tax increase. And it’s a tax increase that uniquely hits job creators, small businesses. More than half our jobs come from successful small businesses. They file as individuals. They’re the ones that bear the brunt of this, and we wonder why we’re not creating jobs today, because we’re going to have a huge tax increase that’s already going to hit these businesses, and they’re saying yeah, we spent all this money, now help us raise some more taxes on top of this to pay for it. And we’re just not going to go down that path.
The Congressional Republicans thus have to prepare themselves for a fierce attack from the president using his pals in the White House press corps which has twice in a week refused to press a president paddling towards the fiscal falls. If indeed a default would result in four figure market drops as some analysts --not all, but some-- predict, why isn't the MSM demanding of the president details on the spending cuts he has put forward, exact outlines of his tax proposals so the public can review and pass on them?
When the president announces a willingness to cut off social security checks, how can the "press" not ask him about the concept of trust funds violated, of lock boxes broken open and of a hundred other alternatives? Would he really let granny go hungry while the EPA writes rules on carbon trading that the Congress insists not be issued?
All the GOP can do is point out the recklessness and immaturity of an in-over-his-head president and try to minimize the damage from now until January 2013. The tantrums will grow in frequency and the rhetoric in temperature from 1600, but the coolest heads ought to prevail in the GOP House Conference as they have in the Senate GOP Caucus. There is no need to match the president outburst for outburst, but just the requirement that every GOP leader repeat again and again: "We won't be raising taxes. The president needs to send us his non-defense cuts."
That's the only message the GOP needs. That and "register to vote" as the country cannot afford another term of Saul Alinksy's Amateur Hour.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)