One thing is for sure: It's not in Barack Obama to accept personal responsibility for the consequences of his actions and policies. He still won't own this economy and the exploding spending spiral, reminding us at every turn that our problems are a result of what he "inherited" from President Bush.
Instead of seeking to soothe the nation on word of the downgrade by Standard & Poor's, Obama played golf, prepared for more campaign fundraisers and avoided the cameras -- for a change. But there can be little doubt he was strategizing about whom to blame for this unfolding catastrophe.
The first and most obvious choice would probably have been his treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner -- except that to blame Geithner would have been tantamount to blaming himself; Geithner is Obama's guy. Nix that.
So why not blame Europe and the global markets? Well, there was some of that, but that's a bit too far from home, so to speak. An Alinsky-model target is usually more accessible and less sympathetic -- you know, someone or some entity against whom one can gin up white-hot hate.
So he settled on blaming S&P itself -- the proverbial messenger -- and who else? The evil tea party for the debt ceiling impasse. Pathetic. Oh, yes, and for good measure, his liberal colleague Rep. Barney Frank threw in the military and said he hopes the downgrade will force large military spending cuts.
An unrepentant Geithner immediately took the offense and insultingly attacked S&P for its decision to downgrade our credit rating. "I think S&P's shown really terrible judgment. And they've handled themselves very poorly, and they've shown a stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget math."
S&P's managing director, David Beers, didn't receive the slander sitting down. He said he had "absolutely" no second thoughts about the decision. He also said it was a gross exaggeration to suggest that the downgrade was mainly responsible for the market sell-off, pointing to the extreme volatility of the market in the period preceding the downgrade.
Consider also the arrogance of this administration for lecturing anyone else about his budgetary acumen. We've not experienced a financial train wreck in our national history so directly traceable to the White House.
There is no question Republicans bear some degree of blame for all of this, but Obama (and his party) has ratcheted up spending to an entirely new level of profligacy. His deficits are three times those of his predecessor and 10 times the Bush deficit of 2007. If you still have doubts about Obama's monumental spending increases, please review this graph: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UB_3VhTQFjM/Tj1Y9XjXpDI/AAAAAAAABPk/_b9Kr9sC0_g/s1600/nondefense+expenditures.jpg.
But this spending orgy is only our second-greatest problem, because spending -- discretionary and entitlement -- is reversible if the political will exists to make it happen. The greatest problem we have is a stubborn, defiant lack of will on the part of President Obama and his Democrats to join Republicans in implementing the reforms. This nation is in quicksand because of its spending, but we've got a chief executive and his party preventing Republican reformers from extricating it.
Obama has no idea how to govern or lead -- beyond leading us into financial disaster. His forte is campaigning and propaganda. He still hasn't presented a plan but has instead chosen to generally call for more taxes on the "wealthy" and -- incredibly -- more "stimulus" spending. For perspective, the Congressional Budget Office's latest projected 10-year deficit is estimated to be some $13 trillion, whereas Obama's vaunted tax on the rich would only bring in $1 trillion -- and this assumes no growth-smothering effects of raising rates.
But Obama knows only class warfare and blame projection. How convenient for Obama that the tea party forced a debt ceiling showdown on which he could blame the downgrade. But if it weren't for the tea party's efforts, we still probably wouldn't have turned the national conversation to our spending and debt crises. Congress wouldn't have initiated even the reductions in the rates of spending (euphemistically called "cuts") that we've seen this past year.
The debt ceiling showdown was a positive development because it focused the national spotlight on our debt picture and the president's refusal to join the problem-solvers instead of continuing as the problem-maker in chief.
More and more Americans are coming to realize that our three humongous problems -- runaway unsustainable discretionary spending, insanely unsustainable and exponentially exploding unfunded entitlement liabilities, and a lifeless economy -- are mostly Obama's fault. But more importantly, they are coming to see that our far greater problem is his (and his party's) abject refusal -- as evidenced yet again in his disgraceful speech Monday -- to make the government live within its means.
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