I received an e-mail from a supporter of President-elect Barack H. Obama congratulating me for having spent so much money that the President-elect is unable to keep his promises to deliver new government programs and spending schemes. First of all, conservative strategy is to live within our means. I deplore all the bailouts which have been advocated by President George W. Bush and passed by the current Congress.
The writer does have a point, though. The President-elect made major promises to all sorts of groups that he would provide a middle-class tax cut for 95% of the tax-paying public, a statistical impossibility, as lower-income individuals pay no federal income tax. Yet under the President-elect's plan they would receive checks anyway. They would not have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. He also promised to help those who cannot afford their mortgages, to ensure that everyone has a chance to go to college, to increase early childhood education through mandatory universal preschool, to increase foreign aid, to restore high-paying manufacturing jobs, to offer tax credits to businesses which bring jobs back from abroad and to implement universal health care.
The basic problem is that the Federal Government does not have money for these programs. It can borrow only so much, which it already has done. How much of the American gross national product (GNP) does the President-elect want the Chinese to own? If the Federal Reserve were to print more money, the country would suffer massive inflation.
It is nearly certain that the President-elect will disappoint many people. How will these people and various advocacy groups respond to such disappointment? Will they understand that the money simply was not there and forgive him? Or will they run out of patience and begin to take out their anger on the new President. Time will tell.