Views on the News – 10/20/2012
By: David Coughlin
Everything about Obama is the product of mass delusion: he is not transformational; he is not brilliant; and he has no ideas for the future, except more of the same, more of him. He is the most unqualified man to have ever been elected President and the tenor of his tenure has proven this to be true. Apart from campaigning, Obama hasn’t really ever done anything. Yet, his delusion that he won the first debate should surprise no one, since he also believes he is a great President doing a sensational job. The problem with delusion is that even though its fallacious nature is obvious to the rational, it is invisible to the truly deluded. He thinks we, as a people, are just not smart enough to see his true margin of victory. He has provided an alternate narrative to be incorporated in his story, his way. So he will keep talking about it, bending reality to his whim, telling a story where he was somehow cheated out of winning by a deceptive Mitt Romney. If supporters on his staff, sycophants in the press and minions in the electorate were honest with the nation and themselves, they would see the depth of his delusion. Not only are they colluding with his delusion, they are deluded themselves. You need the delusion to maintain the illusion. There is no doubt that the President believes he is winning this election. When Obama wakes up early on November 7th he will be shocked that he has lost, so he will claim voter fraud, because he is incapable of believing that the nation doesn’t want four more years of him.
(“The Obamage Is Done” by William L. Gensert dated October 12, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/10/the_obamage_is_done.html )
Barack Obama is going to lose in a blow-out, and the debates have certainly padded that margin. The notion that our fearless young President innocently inherited a mess of biblical proportions is just not correct. Neither is the idea that we are in a recovery that is merely too weak to justify re-election. The sum total of those arguments is that Obama should perhaps be fired because he’s a nice guy who simply has not lived up to his promised timetables for fixing this mess. What Obama inherited in January 2009 was Obama. Maybe not personally Obama, but he inherited economic problems resulting from implementation of too many Obama pipe dream policies. The economy Obama inherited had been dominated for two years by radicals named Reid and Pelosi, with a certain senator from Illinois voting with them every step of the way, as it turns out. This inheritance included energy prices that had been skyrocketing off and on for years thanks to forty years of policies written, implemented, interpreted, and enforced by leftists at every level of government. These policies prevented this country from accessing our own incredible energy resources to the extent our economy required. Obama and Biden firmly support all such policies. Obama also inherited a housing disaster caused by a couple decades of radical lending policies also written, implemented, interpreted, and enforced by liberal apparatchiks at various levels of government. Meanwhile, people at the center of all of this voodoo were giving each other sweetheart mortgages, promotions, and seven-figure bonuses inside Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while the rest of the population was suffering for their very decisions. Obama and Biden support all of this as well. In fact, when you examine the “many decades” Obama refers to as the precursor to his inheritance, you will find that liberals have been in the White House almost half the time and have controlled Congress the vast majority of the time. Moreover, they naturally control the bureaucracy all of the time, since the bureaucracies they put in place never go away. Our problem is not that our GDP is limping along or that the recovery is too slow. Our problem is that the statist policies of Obama and Biden have not worked because they cannot work. The problem Obama and Biden inherited was an economy under attack from policies favored for by Obama and Biden for their entire careers. It’s not that they haven’t effectively reversed their inherited course. It’s that they have effectively doubled down on the same course. More to the point, governing properly after the election will be impossible if the public still believes that Obama inherited a mess resulting from conservatism. Obama did not inherit anything but Obama, and now he wants to solve it with even more Obama, so we will never get our republic on the right course again until more of us understand that elections matter and more of a bad idea is even worse!
(“Obama ‘Inherited’ Only Obama” by C. Edmund Wright dated October 16, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/10/obama_inherited_only_obama.html )
If Mitt Romney becomes President, don’t expect the TEA Party movement to just fade away without Barack Obama in the White House. The TEA Party role becomes even more important and more difficult at that point. The conservative grassroots will embrace the role of making sure Romney sticks to the fiscal principles he’s campaigned on: cutting government and reducing spending. If Republicans end up with control of both Congress and the White House, and then allow spending to get out of control, TEA Party activists are “not going to put up with that again.” The general TEA Party mood heading into the election is “not excitement and exuberance, it’s just grim determination.” People understand where we’re headed and they’re really worried about their country. The Romney campaign and TEA Party movement do not interact very often. The TEA Party movement promised ”Whether they get to know us or not, they’ll know who we are when they’re elected and they don’t cut the spending.”
(“Tea Party leader: Movement’s role ‘more important and more difficult’ if Romney wins” by Alex Pappas dated September 28, 2012 published by The Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/28/tea-party-leader-movements-role-more-important-and-more-difficult-if-romney-wins/ )
The fiscal cliff coming at the end of the year pales vs. the entitlement cliff forced on us by a multitude of entitlement programs that we can’t afford. Most people think of entitlement programs as Social Security and Medicare for seniors, Medicaid and perhaps some other means-tested welfare programs, but there are many more: veteran benefits, unemployment, the children’s health insurance program, disability income, the GI bill, Head Start. The U.S. Census Bureau says 108 million Americans live in households where at least one person participates in a means-tested program. We estimate that 80 million are the primary recipients, though millions more share those benefits. That number has been growing rapidly under President Obama. Since the president took office:
· Medicaid is up from 46.9 million to 56 million people.
· Disability beneficiaries are up from 7.5 million to 8.8 million.
· The food stamp program has grown from 32 million Americans to 47 million.
· Many of these people also are also beneficiaries on Social Security and Medicare.
That 120 million does not include the numerous smaller entitlement programs. Put them all together, and a number approaching half of the country participates in an entitlement program. Now add in the 16 million new Medicaid beneficiaries, thanks to ObamaCare, plus an estimated 12 million people who enter the health insurance exchanges by 2014, where most will receive federal subsidies. The budget implications of these programs are huge. For fiscal 2012, America spent $2.2 trillion of its $3.7 trillion budget on entitlement programs, $400 billion less than the $2.6 trillion in gross annual revenues. The interest on the federal debt was $220 billion. The cost of entitlement programs, plus interest on the debt, is nearly equal to total federal revenues today. Entitlement spending is also growing much faster than the economy. Since 1980, Social Security and the various income security programs have grown at an average annual rate of 6%, while Medicare and Medicaid have both grown at more than 9% annually, which includes population growth. Given the financial challenges imposed by our entitlement programs, the candidates should be explaining what they would do to address those problems. GOP candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are discussing Medicare and Medicaid, but have largely avoided the other entitlement programs. All the President is doing is making the entitlement cliff even steeper. Every major entitlement program has grown significantly under the Obama administration, but the White House hasn’t uttered a word about its plan to address the unsustainable financial future facing the country. The country needs to do better, and time is running out, and we do not know exactly how far off the fiscal cliff is, but we are approaching it quickly.
(“Fiscal Cliff? Real Threat is the ‘Entitlement Cliff’” by Mark E. Litow and Merrill L. Matthews dated October 15, 2012 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/101512-629360-entitlement-cliff-threatens-americas-fiscal-health.htm )
There are 6,000 American banks, but half of the entire banking industry’s assets are concentrated in five institutions whose combined assets amount to almost 60% of the gross domestic product, and the top 10 banks now account for 61% of commercial banking assets, substantially more than the 26% of only 20 years ago. Systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), meaning too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks, are “too dangerous to permit.” The land of TBTFs is “a perverse financial Lake Wobegon” where all crises are “exceptional,” justifying “unique” solutions that are the same, meaning bailouts. This incurs the wrath of ordinary citizens and smaller entities that resent this favorable treatment, and plants the seeds of social unrest. The assumption that certain banks have implicit TBTF status gives them preferential access to investment capital. In 2009, these silent subsidies enjoyed by TBTFs worldwide approached $2.3 trillion in value. TBTF banks “are sprawling and complex, so vast that their own management teams may not fully understand their own risk exposures, providing fertile ground for unintended ‘incompetence.’ Dodd-Frank leaves TBTF entrenched, with the financial crisis increased concentration because some TBTF institutions acquired the assets of other troubled TBTF institutions. The TBTF survivors of the financial crisis look a lot like they did in 2008. They maintain corporate cultures based on the short-term incentives of fees and bonuses derived from increased oligopoly power. Capitalism, which is a profit and loss system, is subverted by TBTF, which socializes losses while leaving profits private, and which enhances the profits of those whose losses it socializes. TBTF is a double moral disaster: It creates moral hazard by encouraging risky behavior, and it delegitimizes capitalism by validating public cynicism about its risk-reward ratios.
(“Too big to maintain?” by George Will dated October 12, 2012 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-too-big-to-maintain/2012/10/12/9f8f8e94-1497-11e2-be82-c3411b7680a9_story.html )
The reports of al-Qaeda’s demise are very premature, since lethal attacks on American diplomatic compounds in Libya and Yemen provide proof they are still alive and well hoisting al-Qaeda flags after these attacks. It is true that al-Qaeda’s offensive capabilities have been degraded and that without Osama bin Ladin, the organization lacks a “mythical mystique.” That’s true as far as it goes, but degraded is not defeated. It is also true that to win World War II, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin did not feel it necessary to kill every Nazi. We should not impose a higher standard in the battle against al-Qaeda. However ideas matter and the jihadi philosophy/ideology is still very much alive. Jihadism is a religiously inspired ideology built on the teaching that it is the moral obligation of all Muslims to employ whatever means necessary in order to compel the world’s submission to Islam. Most American and European leaders refuse even to discuss jihadism openly, much less pledge to destroy it. Some are concerned that to do so will offend Muslims by the tens of millions, turning them against us. Others, I suspect, find it impossible to accept that, in the 21st century, there are still those who believe in divinely endorsed wars, have no aversion to violence, and see conquest as the most virtuous of pursuits. Proponents of the al-Qaeda-is-defeated theory also ignore the fact that Saudi petro-princes continue to spend billions to spread Wahhabism, a strain of Islam that disdains freedom and promotes hatred of infidels and apostates. Wahhabism plants the seeds of jihadism. It should be clear by now that the regime that rules Iran embraces a jihadi ideology. Their goal, a goal they have reaffirmed repeatedly over the past 33 years, will be greatly facilitated should they acquire nuclear weapons. To prevail against America’s enemies, kinetic warfare is necessary but insufficient. An ideological war, a war of ideas, also must be waged, and on that front, the current administration refuses to fight.
(“Is Al-Qaeda Defeated?” by Cliff May dated October 19, 2012 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/cliffmay/2012/10/18/is_alqaeda_defeated )
David Coughlin is a political pundit, editor of the policy action planning web site “Return to Common Sense,” and an active member of the White Plains Tea Party. He retired from IBM after a short career in the U.S. Army. He currently resides with his wife of 40 years in Hawthorne, NY. He was educated at West Point (Bachelor of Science, 1971) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Masters, Administrative Science, 1976).