Update: Obama promising U.S. taxpayers will guarantee car warranties reminds us of this guy (LINK).
Krugman cites, as we did extensively, Simon Johnson’s Atlantic article called The Quiet Coup.
In America as in the third world, he writes, “elite business interests — financiers, in the case of the U.S. — played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive.”
It’s no wonder, then, that an article in yesterday’s Times about the response President Obama will receive in Europe was titled “English-Speaking Capitalism on Trial.”
Krugman states that the economic crisis has cost America much of its credibility, and with it much of its ability to lead. We agree. We also think having a boob in charge does not help allay the fears and contempt of our allies and bolsters the wolfish bloodlust of our enemies.
Barack Obama snubbed, a typical Obama boobery, Prime Minister Brown when Brown visited Washington. Brown, in a sure to be missed passage from “English-Speaking Capitalism On Trial” is getting his revenge.
Still, Mr. Brown may not have strengthened Washington’s confidence in him as a partner with his habit of tailoring his remarks to popular predilections on opposite sides of the Atlantic. In New York and Washington, he has been lionized for his pathfinding decision last fall to recapitalize Britain’s banks, a step later followed by the Bush and Obama administrations. He has responded by emphasizing Britain’s close ties to America, and the two countries’ responsibility to lead in reforming the system they gave the world. He frequently mentions his summer vacations on Cape Cod.
But at home, and on his visits to Continental Europe, the prime minister seems, as often as not, to cast America as the villain. In response to a wave of opposition demands that he apologize for his failings as chancellor of the exchequer, he has insisted that Britain’s financial woes, and the world’s, came “from America,” as though Britain was as much a victim as it was a perpetrator of its ills through the venality of its own financial institutions and its failures of regulatory oversight.
The lack of legitimacy of Gordon Brown was advertised by Member of Parliament Daniel Hannan when he confronted Brown last week. The reason Hannan’s clipped words resonated in America is that Hannan’s verbal assault is equally applicable to the devalued boob on our side of the Atlantic.
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Like Chicago gangster Al Capone, Barack Obama and the Dimocrats have two sets of accounting books.
One accounting book is for public display at publicity stunts. The other accounting book is the actual costs and profits of the “operation”.
Recall, the dominant Big Media description of the Obama “budget overview”. Google reveals that Big Media aided and abetted Obama by describing the patently bogus document “honest”. No kidding. “Honest”.
The New York Times perpetuated the Obama lies by headlining “Obama Bans Gimmicks, and Deficit Will Rise“. The Times insulted its reader[s] with rubbish like this:
The new accounting involves spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Medicare reimbursements to physicians and the cost of disaster responses. [snip]
Mr. Obama’s banishment of the gimmicks, which have been widely criticized, is in keeping with his promise to run a more transparent government.
Fiscal sleight of hand has long been a staple of federal budgets, giving rise to phrases like “rosy scenario” and “magic asterisks.”
The $2.7 trillion in additional deficit spending, Mr. Orszag said, is “a huge amount of money that would just be kind of a magic asterisk in previous budgets.”
“The president prefers to tell the truth,” he said, “rather than make the numbers look better by pretending.”
The Obama proposals were a batch of strung together “rosy scenarios” and gimmicks which the Times helped sell as “honest”.
We exposed the obvious, to those willing to see, gimmicks and “rosy scenarios” in our catalog of Obama budget lies called Obama Budget: Sleeveless, Clueless, Truthless, Hopeless, Penniless. Some excerpts from our article which quoted from various sources:
Some gimmicks in the Obama budget are thoroughly familiar. The administration assumes the economy will rebound faster than most other economists. But maybe these White House projections are more optimistic, you say, because they account for the effects of the recently passed stimulus bill. No dice: When I asked an administration aide if any forecasters had updated their economic outlook based on the stimulus bill, I was told that private-sector forecasts had already anticipated the stimulus’s effects.
Assuming a growing economy allows administration number crunchers to assume more tax revenues, which means a smaller deficit. This helps Obama make the bold claim that he will cut the deficit in half by the end of his term. Proving that he’s fiscally serious helps the president counter worries about the billions and billions that are going out the door to bail out homeowners, bankers, automakers, insurers and anyone else I may have overlooked.
Obama claims that he’s found $2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. To achieve some of that savings, he inflates what’s known as the baseline—the metric against which the costs of policy changes are measured. [snip]
In this manner, the Obama administration pretends that some of the Bush tax cuts are going to affect the budget years after they are set to expire. It also assumes higher Medicare physician payments than projected under current law requirements. The same is true with the accounting for the Iraq war. The baseline assumes the war will be funded at high levels for the next 10 years, even though Obama is planning to bring 100,000 troops home in the next 19 months.
By tweaking the baseline, an administration gets credit for deficit reduction without having to make the hard choices necessary to really tame the budget—which Obama says is a key goal of his administration.
In that lengthy article we outlined many of the Obama gimmicks.
There are now more examples of Obama gimmicks and mistruths.
Remember that New York Times article which praised Obama’s budgetary “honesty”? It had this to say about the difference between the Obama budget and the George W. Bush budgets: “As for war costs, Mr. Bush included little or none in his annual military budgets, instead routinely asking Congress for supplemental appropriations during the year. Mr. Obama will include cost projections for every year through the 2019 fiscal year to cover “overseas military contingencies” — nearly $500 billion over 10 years.”
That was then. This is now:
The officials declined to put dollar figures on aspects of the strategy other than the cost of U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan. Initial funding requests for hundreds of additional U.S. civilian officials to be sent there, as well as increased economic and development assistance to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, will come in a 2009 supplemental appropriation that the administration has not yet outlined.
The irresponsible supplemental appropriations are back – but you won’t hear it from Big Media because it is now the Third Bush Term – Barack Obama – with the irresponsible and dishonest supplementals.
Tim Russert died but his crusade to destroy Social Security and other “entitlements” is not dead while David Broder lives. In the latest misinformed attack on Social Security Broder slashes at the “honest”
Abe Obama publicity. Broder’s article is called “Hiding a Mountain of Debt“:
With a bit of bookkeeping legerdemain borrowed from the Bush administration, the Democratic Congress is about to perform a cover-up on the most serious threat to America’s economic future. [snip]
The real threat is the monstrous debt resulting from the slump in revenue 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 Congressional Budget Office sketched the dimensions of the problem on March 20, and Congress reacted with shock. The CBO said that over the next 10 years, current policies would add a staggering $9.3 trillion to the national debt — one-third more than President Obama had estimated by using much more optimistic assumptions about future economic growth.
As far as the eye could see, the CBO said, the debt would continue to grow by about $1 trillion a year because of a structural deficit between the spending rate, averaging 23 percent of gross domestic product, and federal revenue at 19 percent.
The ever-growing national debt will require ever-larger annual interest payments, with much of that money going overseas to China, Japan and other countries that have been buying our bonds.
Broder also employs the words “bookkeeping gimmick” to describe the Obama Dimocrats dishonesty. And again Big Pink gets an echo:
The Democrats did not invent this gimmick. They borrowed it from George W. Bush, who turned to it as soon as his inherited budget surpluses withered with the tax cuts and recession of 2001-02. But Obama had promised a more honest budget and said that this meant looking at the long-term consequences of today’s tax and spending decisions.
It is sad, astounding, and disgusting that Karl Rove “Bush’s Brain” is a reliable critic of the Obama Dimocrats and their dishonesty. If “flattery is the sincerest form of flattery, Rove must be blushing with this ugly Obama Dimocrat flattery.
Not even Team Obama can forestall unpleasant reality. And among those America now faces is Mr. Obama adding $3.2 trillion to the national debt in his first 20 months and 11 days in office, eclipsing the $2.9 trillion added during the Bush presidency’s entire eight years.
Another reality is that Mr. Obama’s fiscal house is built on gimmicks. For example, it assumes the cost of the surge in Iraq will extend for a decade. This brazenly dishonest trick was done to create phony savings down the line.
Mr. Obama’s budget downplays some programs’ true cost. For example, his vaunted new college access program is funded for five years and then disappears (on paper); the children’s health insurance program drops (on paper) from $12.4 billion in 2013 to $700 million the next year. Neither will happen; the costs of both will be much higher and so will the deficits.
Mr. Obama’s budget also assumes the economy declines 41% less this year and grows 52% more next year and 38% more the year after than is estimated by the Blue Chip consensus (a collection of estimates by leading economists traditionally used by federal budget crunchers). If Mr. Obama used the consensus forecasts for growth rather than his own rosy scenarios, his budget would be $758 billion more in the red over the next five years.
Then there’s discretionary domestic spending, which grows over the next two years by $238 billion, the fastest increase ever recorded. Mr. Obama pledges it will then be cut in real terms for the next nine years. That’s simply not credible.
Then there’s his omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the next six months, laden with 8,500 earmarks and tens of billions in additional spending above the current budget. What happened to pledges for earmark reform and making “meaningful cuts?”
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To the cartoonish boobery and the dishonesty add the dirigiste signals of potential Fascism.
World markets see the dirigiste threat and they sharply declined overnight.
World stocks hit a one-week low and government bonds rose on Monday after General Motors and Chrysler edged closer to bankruptcy as their turnaround plans were rejected and tensions rose in Europe’s banking sector.
The Obama administration’s autos task force rejected multi-billion dollar pleas from the two U.S. automakers for more funds and warned both could be put through bankruptcy to slash debts. The auto industry woes are putting more pressure on Group of 20 leaders as they meet in London this week to discuss measures to tackle the crisis.
As ugly as potential bankruptcy is for major automobile companies – the American government “firing” a corporate head threatens to become a multi-headed Hydra. When it came to his high finance donors on Wall Street Obama dared not touch “contracts”. The “contracts” were sacred he said. When it comes to auto workers however it is Obama time to break contracts.
And there is budget dishonesty in the latest “firing” news as well. The latest government “guarantees” are a big question mark:
“No American should worry in buying a car from Chrysler, GM over this next period of time,” said the official, who added that the administration has no cost estimate for the “Warranty Commitment Program.”
The administration also announced that to help the affected communities, it is naming a Director of Recovery for Auto Workers and Communities. The post will go to Edward Montgomery, a labor economist and former Deputy Secretary of Labor, whose job will be to “work to leverage all resources of government to support the workers, communities and regions that rely on the American auto industry.”
Not only does the government have no cost estimate for their “warranties” – the “Director of Recovery for Auto Workers and Communities” has, to borrow from MEP Hannan a whiff of a “Brezhnev era apparachik”.
* * * * *
Former Obama worshipper William Greider of Obama worshipping The Nation a while back confessed he was “duped” by Obama:
A year ago, when Barack Obama said it was time to turn the page, his campaign declaration seemed to promise a fresh start for Washington. I, for one, failed to foresee Obama would turn the page backward. [snip]
In some important ways, Obama’s selections seem designed to sustain the failing policies of George W. Bush. [snip]
Those of us who expected more were duped, not so much by Obama but by our own wishful thinking.
Most Americans are not financial experts. It’s very difficult, nearly impossible, for normal mortals to sort through the dense policy talk and conflicting opinions to figure out if the rhetoric of reform is real. Confusion is widespread in the land. Most Americans want to believe this president is leading us out of the swamp, but how can they know? I say, trust your gut feelings. They are as reliable as the learned experts. [snip]
This may be one of those moments where people can find some guidance from their moral convictions. They do not need to know all the details to ask simple questions. Does the outline of what’s happening to rescue major financial institutions seem morally wrong? Or is it justified by the larger necessities of the national predicament? Is the government insufficiently tough in demanding reciprocal commitments from the beneficiaries? Should Washington pursue larger structural changes in the banking system?
Hopium addled addicts especially, along with all Americans need to remember:
Obama simply cannot be trusted. Obama cannot be trusted on any issue. Obama cannot be trusted by his friends. Obama cannot be trusted by his enemies. Obama cannot be trusted.
Trust your gut feelings.
Rely for guidance on your moral convictions.
Get off the Hopium.
You know we are, and have been, on target.