Tuesday 28 August 2012

Obama is a big time spender... Not!!!

Obama is leading the United States to financial ruin. Obama is bankrupting the nation. Obama is a spendthrift. I have read this. I have heard this. Republicans repeat it as a mantra and apparently some Democrats believe this too. Look in any newspaper or watch any news show and you'll find journalists and pundits dissecting and analysing statistics in an effort to conclusively prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that America, heck the entire world would be better off without one Barack Hussein Obama. Isn't that enough to make you want to sign up for Romney? Isn't that enough to turn any true believer into a Doubting Thomas?

I just have one question. Have any of these people looked at the numbers? Have you looked at the numbers? Yes, you. You are repeating what the Republicans say but have you yourself verified that what they are saying is true? You are echoing the news shows, the newspapers, and the pundits but have you ever taken the time to actually look for yourself? I may going out on a limb here (the joke is that I know I'm not) but I am hazarding a guess here that you, the Republicans, and everyone frightened of the political bogeyman have jumped on the bandwagon like a bunch of crazed lemmings. I'm going to repeat this until I'm blue in the face but running a country is a complicated job and nobody, not the Republicans, not the Democrats, not the completely biased commentators, journalists, pundits and bloggers can distill this complexity down to a few buzzwords or a campaign slogan. When Mitt Romney says, "I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno" I would have to ask that if it was a simple as Romney makes it out to be, wouldn't you think that it would already be done? And since it's not "already done", I come back to thinking the problems are far, far more difficult that Romney understands. In fact, his simplistic go with the faith approach to all of this seems more the talk of a fool than somebody who understands the issues like the back of his hand. The pungent odour currently in the air isn't coming from the spring season's fertilizer.

Opinion: Obama is not a spendthrift by The Wall Street Journal
In Market Watch of The Wall Street Journal, the May 22, 2012 article "Obama spending binge never happened" by Rex Nutting attempts to explain why people think Obama is spending money "like a drunken sailor".

Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree.
Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.

I find it interesting that all the criticisms of Obama are based on the current situation without any knowledge or acknowledgement of the history of the current situation. Rex Nutting explains:

What people forget (or never knew) is that the first year of every presidential term starts with a budget approved by the previous administration and Congress. The president only begins to shape the budget in his second year. It takes time to develop a budget and steer it through Congress — especially in these days of congressional gridlock.

The 2009 fiscal year, which Republicans count as part of Obama’s legacy, began four months before Obama moved into the White House. The major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year were made by George W. Bush and the previous Congress.

My opinion
The Office of management and Budget (OMB) is the executive agency that advises the President on the federal budget. The OMB publishes the official numbers for the budget of the United States of America. In their list of historical tables, the first document in the list is entitled "Table 1.1—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789–2017", an Excel spreadsheet of budget numbers. I examined these numbers and see where The Wall Street Journal got their numbers. In that case, the author Rex Nutting is 100% correct.

Opinion: Obama is spending wildly by The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank founded in 1973. In a rebuttal to the Market Watch article by Rex Nutting entitled "Setting Obama’s 'Great Fiscal Restraint Record' Straight" published on May 24, 2012, Heritage points out that while spending under Obama rose due to the stimulus package, it has not subsequently come down. They say that the current spending as a percentage of GDP is the highest it has been since World War II and it looks like Obama has no plan to bring this down.

My Opinion
Yes, the spending after making a huge jump in 2009 due to the stimulus package has not come back down. Why? Was the stimulus a onetime shot or are there other on-going costs? However, what is very odd is that revenues dropped in 2009 and have never come back up to the levels of Bush's final year in 2008. Heritage talks about spending but doesn't talk about that revenue.

Opinion: a slightly more balanced take by FactCheck.Org
In the Jun 7/2012 article "Obama’s Spending: ‘Inferno’ or Not?", FactCheck takes a more unbiased approach to analysing the situation. Obama has done some good. Obama has done some bad. But Obama inherited a mess that even Superman would have a dickens of a time solving and if Romney wins in November, I guarantee you that he too will be vilified when he fails to wrestle this beast to the ground.

My Opinion
For me, buried in this article, is one of the most important points of managing to balance the budget: revenue. Yes, while current spending is the highest it has been since WWII, tax revenues are the lowest they have been since the 1950s. Do I need to point out how many times Conservatives have refused to raise taxes? How many times the Conservatives have voted for low rates for the rich and demanded said tax breaks be kept in place for a "trickle down" which doesn't work?

Final Word
"Vote for me, I can fix this." You're s**tin' me. If anybody reads the above documents, you're going to scratching your head trying to get a handle on the numbers. You're going to be wondering how this mess got started and what has to be done to get out of it. I repeat that if it was a simple as anybody makes it out to be, it would be done by now. Since it's not, I'm guessing it has got to be far more complicated than anybody who's saying "vote for me" is making it out to be. Or they have absolutely no idea of what they're talking about.

The United States is so polarized right now; it is almost as if the entire country is on the brink of a political stalemate. The rhetoric has reached such unprecedented levels, one could wonder if the country might now have another Civil War. It is ofttimes explained that the economic cycle is ten years while the political cycle is four years and consequently politics is out of step with the economy. You have to enact a plan and keep at it for ten years to see it bear fruit. Instead, at the four year mark a public suffering from long-term memory loss and demanding to have their cake right now and not in ten years, votes for somebody else promising the world who then sets about demolishing the ten year economic plan. And so the mess begins.

No matter who wins in November, the United States is going face issues which date back decades. In the new world order of globalization, the economic landscape is not what it once was and will an America used to being king of the hill be able to make the necessary adjustments to remain there? Whatever the case, a public desperate for a quick fix is going to make a decision based on a slogan with little or no understanding of the intricacies of the issues in question. Don't forget when you cast your vote: if was that easy, it would be done by now.


Wikipedia: Office of Management and Budget
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is a Cabinet-level office, and is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP).
The OMB's predominant mission is to assist the President in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget and to supervise its administration in Executive Branch agencies. In helping to formulate the President's spending plans, the OMB evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies, and procedures, assesses competing funding demands among agencies, and sets funding priorities. The OMB ensures that agency reports, rules, testimony, and proposed legislation are consistent with the President's Budget and with Administration policies.

Wikipedia: The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense".


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1 comment:

BigLittleWolf said...

Some believe we'd be better off if he'd spent a whole more...