Ross Mackenzie

Look. Deficit spending is horrible, as I and distinguished members of my party said time and again about the Bush Republicans. This post-partisan president says thank Heaven that bunch is gone.

Sir, this year's deficit is headed toward $2 trillion - about quadruple the size of the largest annual deficit of the Bush II years. It is the first annual deficit ever to exceed $1 trillion.

That's huge. Maybe we need a value-added tax to reduce it. The VAT is very popular in socialist European economies.

The VAT also hits everyone, including the middle and lower classes, without anyone realizing he's being taxed up to his keister. A tax is paid at each step of added value on a product or service. Everyone pays it.

My distinguished tax reform commission will look at the VAT, I'm sure.

If the commission backs a value-added tax, which seems a near certainty, would you support such a recommendation?

Clearly, you wouldn't. I'll lean heavily on my distinguished team of advisers primarily educated at Harvard - like me.

Raising taxes or imposing new taxes in weak economies is the idiot's path to collapse. They crush growth. We need not higher taxes but reduced ones - as Germany's Angela Merkel advocated recently, despite the big deficit in her country. She noted Germany must emerge "stronger once the crisis is over....The answer is we need growth."

So what would you do if you were me?

In the knowledge that consumer spending drives the economy, stabilize the dollar. (Dissing the dollar killed the Bush administration.) Cut taxes. Gradually raise the age at which Social Security and Medicare benefits begin. Get out of insurance, automobiles and banking fast. Stop trying to socialize medicine. Stop encouraging indebtedness by rewarding debtors with loan forgiveness and credit guarantees. And stop penalizing - through goofy cap-and-trade legislation - companies that manufacture and produce and strengthen the U.S. economy.

But that would mean the failure of my agenda.

Sir, the media and the voters never forgave Bush I for saying, "Read my lips: No new taxes!" - and then turning around and raising taxes. You're risking your political future too by doing the same thing.

Not me. I'm Barack Obama of the Silken Tongue.

Meaning no offense, sir, but the public - the voters - are starting not to believe what you say because they don't think you say (or know) what you mean. Increasing numbers of them are taking their silken-tongued president less and less seriously. You might want to study the mounting public derision of Jimmy Carter during his four-year presidency.

How so?

It was over for him, sir, when they began laughing at him.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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