GEORGETOWN, S.C. -- A year ago, this column questioned whether the 112th Congress -- with its new speaker of the House, John Boehner -- could "overcome the inane policies of its predecessors" and "mend Washington's free-spending ways." We all know how that turned out.
This week, as we prepare to ring out 2011 and welcome 2012, President Barack Obama asked for Congress to authorize yet another increase in our national debt -- the third such rise in less than 15 months. Housing prices continue to slide; more than 13 million Americans are unemployed; government spending continues unabated; and America's credit rating is at risk of another downgrade. In January, barring action by Congress and the White House, U.S. defense spending cuts totaling $1.1 trillion over the next four years will begin to take effect. Such an outcome in the midst of these perilous times ought to be unthinkable.
Instead of putting tens of thousands of Americans to work building new ships, submarines, aircraft and a missile shield to protect the American people from nuclear attack, the Obama administration wants the federal government to create temporary jobs repaving highways, painting bridges and re-roofing public schools. Rather than have unemployed construction workers build a petroleum pipeline from Canada (and improve U.S. energy security), the Obama White House wastes billions on phony "green jobs." The administration has to hope we all will forget the word "Solyndra."
In a burst of year-end euphoria, progressive politicians, pundits and government economists are predicting that the worst of the "Bush-era recession" is behind us and that good times are just ahead. They pin their economic hopes for 2012 less on American entrepreneurs than they do on German taxpayers.
The experts are praying Berlin will continue to bail out European PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) and prevent an Old World financial collapse that would drag down the sale of U.S. goods and services on the Continent. Expect to see German Chancellor Angela Merkel feted at a White House state dinner early in the new year. A million or so American jobs could well depend on whether she likes the soup.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.