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In 1987 during the depths of the 1980s Texas real estate crash my wife and I were at a cocktail party at which we ran into a couple we knew casually. As frequently happens at such affairs, the men talked with one another in one huddle while the women talked in another.
The husband in this couple, I’ll call him Jim, was a mid-sized real estate developer and while the run up in Dallas area real estate had been more than good to him, the bursting of the bubble had been especially cruel.
In the conversation among the men, he made no bones about the fact that he was, for all intents and purposes, broke.
But across the room, as I later learned from my wife, Sally (which is what I’ll call Jim’s wife) was painting an entirely different picture. She was regaling her audience with her plans to completely redo the backyard of their already lovely home by, among other things, adding a pool house that would also serve as a guest quarters complete with kitchen and full bath facilities.
The contrast couldn’t have been more stark. To hear Jim tell it, he was having to take cash advances on credit cards just to keep the lights turned on while to hear Sally tell it, their very pleasant lifestyle was completely unscathed by the vicious crash of real estate prices that was bankrupting developers left and right while laying waste to the Texas banking industry.
As you might guess, Jim and Sally’s marriage did not survive. I’m not their minister but I can’t help but believe that one factor in their divorce, aside from the obvious stresses attendant to going bankrupt, was Sally’s apparent unwillingness or inability to accept the reality of their financial situation
I was reminded of Jim and Sally, but mostly Sally, as I watched the video of President Obama’s State of the Union message from Tuesday night. (editor’s note: I was hosting an event while the speech was being given live. I watched it after the fact on the White House website.)
Like Sally and her pool house, the president gave little evidence that he appreciates the severity of the country’s financial situation. It is not a stretch to say that the country faces its greatest crisis since World War II or even the Civil War.
And yet the president stood and said, with a straight face, that Social Security will be made solvent again without anyone having to suffer any delay or reduction in benefits; that the deficit will be addressed by freezing spending at current levels, apparently forgetting that at current levels we’re borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend; that we can somehow afford to build high speed passenger railroads covering 80% of the population; and that 80 percent of the electricity that is currently being generated at coal or natural gas-fired plants will, as a result of government “investment,” be replaced in 25 years with electricity generated by some as yet unnamed “clean energy source.”
No one actually believed that Sally was going to get her pool house but she didn’t hurt anyone by prattling on about it at a cocktail party.
The same cannot be said for President Obama and his speech Tuesday night.
The disconnect between reality and the president’s rhetoric is disturbing. Like Sally and her pool house, the president chirped about bullet trains and “investment” in mythical, magical “clean electricity’ that almost no one believes will ever actually happen.
Poor Sally may have simply been in denial. Is the president?
As Congressman Paul Ryan said in the Republican response, there’s still time to fix our finances – but not much.
More than anything else, the American people must know that the man whose job it is to lead in a time of crisis is capable of understanding that there is a crisis in the first place.
Nothing about the president’s speech on Tuesday gave me that impression.
Am I the only one who’s bothered by that?
I was also at an event that evening but, unlike you, I didn’t have the stomach to go back and watch the speech. These are disturbing times.
He reminds me of Bush when Bush lied about the economy being strong and about WMD. I have a tough time remembering the last time we had an honest president. It is sad.
Good morning Paul,
I like your analogy about Obamas Fool house, uh, er, Pool House. I’d respectfully submit that the economic condition of America at this point is like a nice pool house and pool with 1 very important thing missing……..the pool water! Can you imagine any of our friends throwing a pool party with the note at the bottom of the invitation saying ‘Bring Your Own Water’?
It may sound silly, but lets carry this a bit further. Say you and I attend, bring our families and our water (read that income and federal taxes), add it to the pool, and within 5 minutes, it’s gone and our families feel cheated from the fun we expected to have…..as the water heads down the drain which is permanantly open, rolls down the hill to a party a couple of houses away where there is another pool party where the pool is filled soley by what you and I and other taxpayers brought. Those guests need only show up (read that illegal aliens and and able bodied unemployed) and enjoy all party long what we worked hard for and enjoyed for a mere 5 minutes?
The ‘drain’ is Washington DC. It needs to be plugged. Could the plug for the drain be the Tea Party movement? Certainly enough BYOW guests are fed up with bringing their own. It’s a natural and understandable resentment. To say otherwise denies the natural human desire for Liberty and enjoying the fruits of their own labors.
Immediately, our new Congress needs to plug the drain. The party down the hill needs to be curtailed. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, “We should make the poor uncomfortable and kick them out of poverty.”
It CAN’T stop there. Washington must be kicked out of their poverty of fiscal discipline if America as we know it is to survive. Mr. Obamas maligned ideas articlated in the State of the Union address well illustrate that poverty. With 60+ new members in the house, Washington needs to embrace the new ‘plumbers’ in town and it is our duty to vigorously support them. This is only the first skirmish in a long battle.
It was Churchill who said during WWII, “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
Which option will America choose?
Sticking your head in the sand will not make the problem go away.
Lying to the American people will not make it the truth, but then some people insist on hearing lies rather than face the truth. The truth is, we can not sustain the spending. I can not see why the government shouldn’t be put on a strict budget like the rest of us. Shouldn’t they be setting an example? The example they are setting now is not a good one. If we followed their example, all of us would be going crazy maxing out all of our credit cards like there was no tomorrow and be dang the results. Not at all responsible. The truth of the situation will come out even to those who refuse to see or acknowledge there is a problem.
Obama is going to beat himself.
It remains for the GOP to choose someone who will facilitate this as it deserves.
All the new candidate has to do is to play clips of Obama lying,flying his dog to vacation spots, flying AirForce 101 how many times at XYZ cost, inflating the deficeit…. etc.etc..
BUT who has the sand to say this in a debate or ad???
GOP wants to be friends,not hurt feelings: not fight.
Communtity Organizers have method ( Alinsky et al) they use & they are real belivers in their product.
” If they bring a knife, we will bring a gun.”
GOP doesn’t like to get emotional.
Its the GOP’s race to lose, in my opinion .
Remember that song” How bad do ya want it”
That is the question….if Obvama was passionate about Health Care to make 224 flights to push it….guess how passionate about re-election he will be.???
We need never fear though, Obama will provide all the fodder we need to beat him.
As he shoots himself in the foot his aim is becoming higher!