In 2006, the Illinois Sen. Barack Obama stood up on the floor of the Senate and intoned seriously against raising the debt ceiling. "The fact that we are here today to debate raising American's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure," Obama said. And then he launched into one of his morally indignant lectures that we have all grown so fond of hearing.
"Leadership means that 'the buck stops here,'" he said. "Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the back of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase American's debt limit."
But once in power, in the White House, spending those trillions of dollars himself, Obama changed his tune.
He launched a stimulus plan that he promised would create or save 4 million jobs and the national debt exploded exponentially. Curiously, a report in USA Today showed that Obama's "stimulus" gave the counties that voted for him in the 2008 election twice as much money as the counties that voted against him.
Recently, an Ohio State University study concluded that Obama's stimulus plan created no jobs at all. Zero. Obama even joked about it. "I guess some of those shovel ready jobs weren't very shovel ready, were they?"
Today, demanding even more spending money, Obama has flip-flopped on the idea of a debt limit. He says: "This is not just a matter of Social Security checks. These are veterans’ checks; these are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out. I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on Aug. 3 if we haven't resolved this issue."
As a senator he used moral outrage to condemn raising the debt ceiling and as a president he uses it now to condone it.
Make no mistake, this struggle is not about defaulting. As congressman Ron Paul recently pointed out, we default every time we print money. By diluting the value of the money we are using to pay those bills.
By the way, this bait-and-switch money game works against all of those poor people living off of government programs. The numbers of the dollars are the same but the value of those dollars is diminished.
So no, this is not about defaulting, rather, this is about power and which corporations should get the billions of extra dollars created by the Federal Reserve.
Should it be Republican companies like Halliburton? Or Democrat companies like Goldman Sachs?
It is not about little people. It is about big people. And it isn't about left or right, Republican or Democrat. This is about power and the corrupting influence of that power.
A similar thing happened with George W. Bush on his way to addressing the national debt. In 2001, coming in as a new president, he solemnly announced to a joint session of congress, "Many of you have talked about the need to pay down our national debt. I listened, and I agree. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to act now, and I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years."
It was loudly applauded and cheered. But Bush launched a war against Iraq, and Saddam Hussein, ostensibly to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction. (We're still looking.) In the process of that war the debt ceiling was raised five times in eight years. It left the country $4 trillion deeper in debt. And when the mortgage crisis hit, Bush dutifully bailed out the banks with taxpayers' money.
The media can't seem to catch up with this. When Francois Mitterrand nationalized banks in France it was called socialism. Mitterrand was called a socialist president, and proudly so. When George W. Bush nationalized banks it was called a 'bailout." And Bush, whose economic policies are to the left of Lyndon Johnson, is routinely labeled a "conservative Republican."
The same year Bush bailed out Citigroup, that corporate giant used its government windfall to give themselves $1.3 billion in bonuses.
To his credit, when Obama ran for president he expressed outrage about those bonuses but when he won election he did nothing about it.
This past February Obama called for 5,100 more IRS agents. He has played that card before. During his campaign for president he implied that the budget could be balanced if we could just get the tax cheats to pay up. But for all the talk about tax cheats we soon learned after he became president that his nominee for secretary of the Treasury, the man who would catch those greedy tax cheats, had not paid his own social security taxes for years.
By the time Obama had lined up his worthy Cabinet a total of six, count them, six, turned out to be tax cheats. And these are the men and women who would run our economy and enforce out laws? As Leona Helmsley succinctly put it, "Only little people pay taxes."
On Sept. 10, 2003, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas warned the House Finance Committee that games were being played in the real estate market with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
He said it amounted to an unconstitutional and immoral transfer of wealth away from working Americans. He predicted that while it would create a short term housing bubble and make some insiders rich, it would wipe out the home equity of millions and cause a crisis for mortgage lenders. "The more people invest in the market," Ron Paul warned, "the greater the effects across the economy when the bubble bursts."
Huh? You mean somebody knew about this back then? One has to wonder. Bush, was president in 2003, when Ron Paul gave his prescient warning, and Obama was a U.S. senator. Did they understand these things?
In fact, even now, Ron Paul offers his explanation of where we have been and what will happen next. Are his words being ignored by the mainstream media or repressed? Today, a growing movement of outraged citizens are doing their homework and giving it some credence.
David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's economic adviser, says that "Ron Paul is the only candidate for president who understands the economy."
Doug Wead is a New York Times best-selling author and a former adviser to two American presidents. He is a senior adviser to the Ron Paul campaign.
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