Has it really been 100 days?
Aided by an eagerly compliant Democratic-controlled Congress, a
sycophantic media, and a bunch of squishy Republicans, President Obama
has taken the country on a radical, mind-boggling leap into
Obama to use one of his favorite expressions doubled down, no,
tripled and quadrupled down on Bush's "stimulus" and "rescue" packages,
spending trillions of dollars to "bail out" financial institutions,
too-big-to-fail businesses, and even deficit-running states. Obama
promises to use taxpayer money to rescue "responsible homeowners"
whatever that means from foreclosure, thus artificially propping up
prices that shut out renters who would love to buy now-much-cheaper
Obama proposes spending billions (or trillions?) more on "creating or
saving" whatever that means 4 million, 3.5 million or 2.5 million
jobs. Pick a number. Given the government's vast business expertise,
Obama proposes spending gobs of money to "invest" in green jobs. And
he's just warming up. He wants taxpayers to guarantee, presumably to all
who request it, a "world-class education" whatever that means.
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Firmly in charge of much of the domestic car industry, Obama effectively
fired the CEO of General Motors. He threatens to fire still more
executives in the parts of the financial services industry currently
under the management, direction or control of Uncle Sam that eminent,
Obama blames the financial crisis on "greed" and the "lack of regulatory
oversight." Funny thing about greed. Celebrated
investor-turned-Obama-supporter/adviser Warren Buffett says, "Be fearful
when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful."
Apparently, some practice good greed, while others engage in greedy
As for regulation, the SEC already heavily regulates most of the
troubled financial institutions. The world's largest insurer, AIG,
operated under heavy regulation. The government-sponsored entities
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae blamed for irresponsibly buying, packaging
and selling bad mortgages are regulated by a government agency,
called the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Its sole responsibility is to oversee those two agencies.
OFHEO, shortly before the government takeover of Freddie and Fannie,
gave them two thumbs up.
Did the President, after campaigning against pork and earmarks, really
sign bills that include both? Yes. Will the President's new budget
really triple and quadruple the annual deficit? Yes. Will the
President's budget really double the national debt within a few years
and then increase still more beyond that? Yes. Do the President and
members of Congress, many of whom never operated so much as a T-shirt
concession booth, really believe that they can "modernize" health care,
thus "saving" taxpayers buckets of money? Yes.
America traditionally represents the greatest possibility of someone's
going from nothing to something. Why? In theory, if not practice, the
government stays out of the way and lets individuals take risks and reap
rewards or accept the consequences of failure. We call this capitalism
or, at least, we used to.
Today's global downturn reflects too much borrowing and too much
lending. But would borrowers and lenders at least in America have
engaged in the same kind of behavior but for artificially low interest
rates under the Federal Reserve System? Would borrowers and lenders have
acted as precipitously but for the existence of Fannie and Freddie,
which bought up their mortgages? Would banks have so readily lent money
to those who clearly could not repay it but for the Community
Reinvestment Act? That law pressured banks into relaxing their normal
lending standards to help low-income borrowers.
Now let's turn to Job No. 1 national security. We no longer call the
War on Terror the "War on Terror." We no longer call Islamofascist enemy
detainees "enemy detainees." The President embarked on an I'm-not-Bush
and we're-sorry-for-being-arrogant international tour. To the receptive,
admiring G-20 nations, the President flogged America, calling us
domineering and overbearing. What did the swooning leaders give in
return? Virtually nothing. He wanted more assistance in fighting the war
in Afghanistan. The NATO members offered more advisers and trainers,
all, mind you, out of harm's way and only on a temporary basis.
The President offered a new relationship with Iran, provided Iranians
"unclenched their fist." The President even sent a shout-out video to
the Iranians on one of their holidays. What did he get in return? Iran
promised to continue its march toward the development of a nuclear
weapon and called Israel the "most cruel and racist regime."
Obama offered North Korea a kinder, gentler foreign policy. What did he
get in return? The North Koreans, in violation of a United Nations
resolution, attempted to launch a long-range missile. The President
condemned the act. The United Nations Security Council convened an
emergency session. What happened? Nothing. Well, not exactly nothing.
North Korea kicked out the U.N.'s nuclear inspectors and announced the
resumption of its nuclear weapons program. And North Korea, along with
Iran, arrested and imprisoned American journalists.
On the other hand, Washingtonian magazine graced us with a spiffy,
Photoshopped cover of a fit and toned swimsuit-wearing President Obama.
So all is not lost.
At least he looks good.