The Buck Stops There

October 11, 2013

“America cannot be great if we go broke.”

National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

Imagine a CEO who has been spending more money than his company takes in.  He has been operating without a budget for more than four years, because his budget proposals are so out of line, no one will support them.  His company will stop running if he fails to negotiate an agreement with his board of directors.  The CEO announces publicly that he will not negotiate.  He leaves the country and puts his CFO in charge of reaching a deal.  Except his CFO says he will not negotiate, either.  As a result, the company shuts down.

Whose fault is it?

In Obamaland, the fault never lies with the Commander in Chief, who seems to think his most important job is to blame others.  It’s a job he’s very good at.  While President Truman was famous for saying, “The buck stops here,” for President Obama, anything that happens is always someone else’s fault.

On the rare occasion that something good happens during his administration, though, he’s quick to take credit.  You may recall, for example, that he personally captured Osama Bin Laden.

How would you like to have a boss like that?

An Unwinnable Battle

Of course, the Republican Party enables the President to pass the blame by picking unwinnable battles, such as seeking to stop funding of ObamaCare.  While that’s a worthwhile cause, it’s never going to happen as long as the Democrats control the Senate and President Obama is in office.  That didn’t stop U.S. Senator Ted Cruz from trying – and making it appear that the Republican Party, and especially the Tea Party wing of it, is solely responsible for the shutdown.

So President Obama has been able to blame Republicans for the shutdown and a compliant press has gone along.  As a result, in an AP poll, 52% said President Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with Republicans, while 63% said Republicans aren't doing enough to cooperate with the President.

It’s the President’s job to do what’s best for the country.  Past Presidents have understood this.  Recall political opposites such as President Reagan and Tip O’Neill putting aside their differences and working together.

The Debt Problem

What’s best for the country now – and for the world – is for the United States to get its massive debt under control.  Yet President Obama has done everything possible to make the debt someone else’s problem.

Federal debt is approaching $17 trillion and has been increasing at a rate of more than a trillion dollars a year during President Obama’s tenure (fiscal year 2013 is an exception, because of sequestration and higher taxes).

Interest payments for fiscal year 2013 came to $415,688,781,248.40, according to the U.S. Treasury.  That’s at today’s low interest rates.  As rates increase and the debt increases, annual interest payments will soar.  Taxes will increase just to pay the interest and our standard of living will plummet.  The need for government assistance will be higher, but there will be less money available, because we’re squandering it today and will have to pay it back with interest.

Our unfunded liabilities for entitlements present an even bigger problem.  According to The Wall Street Journal, we have already incurred $86.8 trillion in liabilities for Medicare, Social Security and future retirement benefits for federal employees – and the amount is increasing by more than $8 trillion a year.

If you were to add up all adjusted gross income from Americans earning more than $66,193 a year, the total would come to $5.1 trillion.  Taxable income from all U.S. corporations peaked before the recession at $1.6 trillion in 2006, for a total of $6.7 trillion.  So you could take almost all income earned by both consumers and businesses and still not have enough money to keep America’s unfunded liabilities from increasing every year!

President Obama’s Response

In spite of the scope of America’s debt problem, President Obama just wants to keep spending more.  In 2010, he put together the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – and completely rejected its findings.  In 2011, he put together a bipartisan super committee to attack the federal debt.  Again he totally rejected its findings.  He ignored the fiscal cliff and the last debt ceiling, and presented budgets so out of line they’ve been unanimously rejected even in the Senate, which is controlled by his fellow Democrats.

As 2012 ended, we barely avoided going over a fiscal cliff, then had until March to negotiate spending cuts or the automatic across-the-board spending cuts that the President proposed would take place.  No agreement was reached, so sequestration took place.  Even though sequestration was his idea, he blamed the “foolish across-the-board spending cuts” for the continuing poor performance of the U.S. economy.

Sequestration didn’t really decrease spending, though.  It merely decreased the rate of spending growth.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that total federal outlays will continue to increase by an average of $238.6 billion a year throughout the next decade.

He Should Be Fired

Here’s what President Obama said about the Republicans in Congress after the government shutdown took effect:

“Everybody here just does their job, right? You know, if you’re working here and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said, you know what? I want to get something, but I don’t know — I don’t know exactly what I’m going get, but — I’m just going to stop working until I get something– I’m going to shut down the whole plant until I get something. You’d get fired! Right?”

President Obama is right.  Those who fail to do their job deserve to be fired.  President Obama’s job is to protect America and its economy.  He’s not doing his job.  He should be fired.

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