THE PRESIDENT'S INTEGRITY CRISIS
President Obama finds himself at a loss to explain why the American people do not think he is doing a good job as President. The answer is quite simple. In our economic crisis, we face a threat to the survival of the nation as great, if not greater by far, than any we have ever faced. America now looks to its President to provide clear leadership, to explain a precise plan to arrest the runaway spending by cutting the size and scope of a bloated federal government, and to avoid in the midst of a recession (threatening to become a depression) taxes of any kind. Obama fails to provide that leadership, explain that plan, and avoid the offense of increasing taxes.
The nation’s enormous debt and rapidly escalating entitlement spending threatens to draw the nation so far down that it will either default on what it owes or pay what it owes with a currency so devalued as to be nearly worthless. The $14.5 trillion national debt will rise to over $23 trillion in the next ten years. The interest on that debt will exceed the present cost of all entitlements, at a rate of over $700 billion annually by 2020. The entitlement spending by then will consume all discretionary spending. In the world of economists who have served Democratic and Republican administrations alike, present levels of spending are “unsustainable.”
Rather than explain frankly America’s dire situation and present his own detailed proposal to cut spending to balance the budget and to eliminate taxes and regulation to empower the American people with their own resources and ingenuity, the President offers no clear way out. He is weak. He vacillates. He is indecisive. He repeatedly offers the same failed approach: more spending, more debt, more regulation, and more taxes. He does so not because he thinks it an ultimate solution but because he thinks it may buy him time to avoid making an ultimate solution that could cost him political support.
Each of his stimulus programs has neither altered the extent of unemployment nor the absence of growth in the gross domestic product, but each has added enormously to the very debt responsible for bringing the nation down. In the midst of this crisis, he offers no solution. He is as bankrupt of ideas as the nation is effectively bankrupt of requisite capital to meet its obligations.
At the core of it all, President Obama is suffering from an integrity crisis. Having promised the American people that his multi-trillion dollar stimulus programs would result in less unemployment and more growth, he now neither admits the failure of those measures nor changes the fundamental course. He instead insists on reintroduction of the same failed approaches—more spending, principally for public employees and public works. Indeed, if his present jobs bill passes and predictably fails, does anyone seriously doubt that he will offer yet another multi-trillion dollar jobs bill after it? Is it any wonder that such large numbers of Americans no longer take him seriously?
Honesty has always been a rare virtue in Washington. Politicians have far too often feathered their own nests at public expense or favored a position they know will do nothing to solve a real problem because it is in the economic interests of those powerful entities that will return the favor. Obama is cut from that cloth. He faces a dilemma which is one only because he is too afraid to risk re-election to do what is necessary to save the nation.
To save the nation, he well knows that he must cut the federal government to the bone; must cut back all manner of regulatory restraints on industry; and must reduce, not increase, taxes. If he were to embrace any of those approaches in earnest, however, he would alienate the very people upon whom he depends for re-election (the body of Americans dependent on federal assistance in one form or another). Consequently, he is willing to sacrifice the nation to avoid the risk of alienating those constituents and losing re-election. In other words, his love of self exceeds his love of country.
The media regards statements such as the last one I wrote in the paragraph above as verboten. In short, it is considered a form of heresy to criticize President Obama for a lack of patriotism, as Michele Bachmann well knows. We do not need to determine whether Obama really thinks himself a patriot, however, to find ample support for the view that Obama has acted in ways that reveal that he loves himself more than he loves his country. That conclusion ineluctably arises from the facts of his administration to date. Without question, throughout his term the nation has faced the reality that unless it immediately cuts spending to balance the budget we will plunge ever deeper into an economic crisis the likes of which we have never before seen. Without question, during the first two years of his administration, with both houses of Congress in Democratic hands, he had the opportunity to present and achieve passage of an economic program that could balance the budget and help save the nation from economic collapse. Yet, he consistently refuses to do what is necessary. Indeed, in the recent debt deal debacle, he even refused to define a precise program to bring about a balanced budget and enable economic recovery.
President Obama has not offered an ultimate solution because to do so risks alienating political constituencies upon which he depends to get re-elected. In short, he has not offered an ultimate solution because he values his own re-election more than he does the economic solvency of the nation.
There is in this bargain the President has made (sacrificing the economic future of America in order to protect his own short term political prospects) an utter lack of integrity. It is the quintessential character of a true leader that in the midst of a crisis he will do whatever is necessary to save the people he leads, even if it means to sacrifice himself.
If Obama were a true leader, he would have risen to the present occasion at the start of his administration. He would have campaigned for drastic cuts in government spending, a revamping of entitlements, and a reduction in the tax and regulatory burdens on the market to bring about a balanced budget and a sustainable economic recovery. He is not a true leader. He cannot be: His love of self exceeds his love of country.
We will not overcome our present crisis until a true leader arises who is willing to sacrifice his or her own political future to do what is necessary to save the nation from economic ruin. That requires honesty, confidence, courage, a clear vision, and an unwavering commitment to achieve substantial debt reduction regardless of personal political outcome. Obama has never been honest with the American people concerning just how dire the circumstances are and will be unless enormous spending cuts are immediately enacted. While supremely confident in himself, Obama has little trust in the American people who he thinks must be taxed, regulated and commanded to do what his administration thinks best for them. While pleased to accept plaudits for the brilliant achievements of America’s military in eliminating terrorists, Obama has not demonstrated any personal courage by taking political positions unpopular with his own constituents.
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While often speaking in platitudes about an America replete with certain green technological benefits, Obama has not described any clear vision of a free America and of a prosperous free enterprise system. We have not seen from Obama any proof that he possesses an unwavering commitment to achieve an objective regardless of personal political outcome; he rather thinks that partial and temporary measures, like his stimulus bills, will suffice to postpone an ultimate reckoning. In short, President Obama lacks the honesty, the confidence in the American people, the personal courage, the clear vision, and the unwavering commitment to achieve that is requisite to competent governance in this dire economic crisis. He must be defeated in order for the nation to be saved.
© 2011 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved