The transformational candidate who was going to sweep away pork-barrel politics, lobbyists and corruption has been up to his neck in sleaze, as eviscerated here by Charles Krauthammer. Despite the fact that he came to power promising to ‘ban all earmarks’, his ‘stimulus’ bill represents billions of dollars of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections -- which have nothing to do with kick-starting the economy and everything to do with favouring pet Democrat causes.
He has been appointing one tax dodger, lobbyist and wheeler-dealer after another. After appointing one official,Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who had unaccountably forgotten to pay his taxes, he then watched his designated Health Secretary Tom Daschle fall on his sword because he too had taken a tax holiday. Daschle was furthermore a prominent actor in the world of lobbying and influence-peddling. Leon Panetta, Obama’s nominee for Director of the CIA has also, according to the Wall Street Journal, consulted for prominent companies and sat on the board of a public affairs firm that lobbies Congress. The Weekly Standard reports that Secretary of Labour nominee Hilda Solis was not only involved with a private organization lobbying her fellow legislators on a bill that she helped sponsor, but she apparently kept her involvement secret and failed to reveal a clear conflict of interest.
In foreign policy, Obama has started by trashing his own country through grossly misrepresenting its history and grovelling to America’s enemies such as Iran, which has flicked him aside with undiluted contempt. He has gratuitously upset America’s ally India by suggesting that America should muscle in and resolve the Kashmir question.
His right hand doesn’t seem to know what his left hand is doing. He reportedly asked retired Marine General Anthony Zinni to be US ambassador to Iraq, but then abruptly withdrew the appointment without explanation after it had been confirmed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And the precise role he is offering Dennis Ross – special envoy to Iran? Special adviser to Hillary? Special adviser to other special advisers? – remains mired in confusion.
Definitely go read the rest, this is but the tip of the iceberg to show that the man who won the presidency, clearly is in over his head and his lack of experience is shining brightly for not only America to see, but spotlighted for the whole world who is watching.
Other items of interest caught my eye, one of which was the Wall Street Journal which shows how Obama and Democrats seems to feel that to get out of the economic mess the U.S. is in, we should do more of what got us into this mess to begin with..... spend, spend, spend.
Instead, Mr. Obama chose to let House Democrats write the bill, and they did what comes naturally: They cleaned out their intellectual cupboards and wrote a bill that is 90% social policy, and 10% economic policy. (See here for a case study.) It is designed to support incomes with transfer payments, rather than grow incomes through job creation.
This is the reason the bill has run into political trouble, despite a new President with 65% job approval. The 11 Democrats who opposed it in the House didn't do so because they want to hand Mr. Obama a defeat. The same is true of the Senate moderates of both parties working to trim their $900 billion version. They've acted because they can't justify a vote for so much spending for so little economic effect. You know a piece of legislation is in trouble when even its authors begin to deny paternity, as economist Martin Feldstein has recently done.
Speaking to a House Democratic retreat on Thursday night, Mr. Obama took on those critics. "So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? (Laughter and applause.) That's the whole point. No, seriously. (Laughter.) That's the point. (Applause.)"
So there it is: Mr. Obama is now endorsing a sort of reductionist Keynesianism that argues that any government spending is an economic stimulus. This is so manifestly false that we doubt Mr. Obama really believes it. He has to know that it matters what the government spends the money on, as well as how it is financed. A dollar doled out in jobless benefits may well be spent by the worker who receives it. That $1 of spending will count as economic activity and add to GDP.
But that same dollar can't be conjured out of thin air. The government has to take that dollar away from someone else -- either in higher taxes, or by issuing new debt in the form of a bond. The person who is taxed or buys the bond will have $1 less to spend. If the beneficiary of that $1 spends it on something less productive than the taxed American or the lender would have, then the net impact on growth will be negative.
Here is the bottom line for the mentally challenged.
The majority of the stimulus bill is spending and you cannot spend what you do not have, America doesn't have the money to continue to spending on pet projects for any of our politicians, Democrat or Republican.
NYT has another article about the House bill vs the Senate bill.
The politicians will have their compromise, three lone Republicans will stand up and sign on to get this past the Senate, Obama will make speeches about how this is going to help and when it doesn't, when things continue to go South, considering no Republican voted for the House version and few Republicans (2-3 as of now) will sign off on the Senate version, this failure (even Democratic supporters agree this will fail even though they think it is because it needs MORE spending) the complete failure will be on the heads of the Democrats.
Politically, hey, about time they are held accountable, but for our country, it simply isn't worth it and yet they are jamming it through anyway.
Hold on folks, the ride is about to get bumpier.