Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, April 12, 2013.
More than two months late, the president has at last complied with the law and submitted a budget. It is, as we have come to expect, an ideological document that is untethered entirely from actual governing.
The submission comes on the heels of the sequester and the president’s Chicken Little road show last month during which he predicted unbearable hardship and severe economic stress arising from a forced two percentage point reduction in the rate of growth of federal spending (not actual reduction in spending, mind you, just a reduction in the rate at which federal spending grows).
With the country now close to $17 trillion in debt and with annual federal deficits of a trillion dollars now the norm for as far out into the future as the eye can see the president’s lack of leadership on the nation’s fiscal situation is beyond appalling.
The massive federal debt incurred during World War II was financed by America’s own citizens purchasing savings bonds that paid a respectable rate of interest and acted as a savings program for millions of families. Today’s debt is being financed with bonds that pay essentially nothing and that are funded with money conjured out of thin air by the Federal Reserve.
That the president is derelict in his duty with respect to his stewardship of the country’s financial health is beyond question. No president in our history has run up debt with such reckless disregard. No corporate CEO could hope to keep his job with such a record. The failure of the president’s financial stewardship is beyond debate.
What is debatable, however is, ‘why?’
Why does the president behave with such utter disregard for what any reasonable person would recognize as a severe threat to our long-term strength and perhaps to our very sovereignty?
I keep trying to puzzle it out and only two possibilities come to mind. Either he doesn’t understand or he doesn’t care.
Lacking any way to know for certain, my money is on the latter. I just don’t think he cares.
I don’t think Barack Obama cares what kind of shape he leaves the country in at the end of his term so long as he gets to indulge his ideology and live well in the process.
That he is living well is also beyond question.
I offer one recent episode as illustration.
Last week, the president put on a show of solidarity with federal workers who have been furloughed as a result of sequester budget cuts. He announced that he is returning five percent of his presidential salary to the Treasury. For those of you who might have said, ‘Aw, isnt’ that nice,’ let’s put this insulting gesture in perspective.
The president made this announcement soon after having flown to Florida for a President’s Day weekend vacation that included golf with Tiger Woods.
The president is paid a salary of $400,000 a year. Five percent is $20,000.
It costs about $186,000 per hour to operate Air Force One. The round trip from Washington to Florida is about six hours give or take. The president’s salary reduction, therefore, paid for about six and a half minutes – less than two percent – of the cost of one presidential golf outing.
The president’s family has, in just the past month, been in the tropics enjoying the sun and in the mountains enjoying the slopes. That some of the costs of these first family vacations are born by the Obama family personally does not mitigate the fact that we beleaguered taxpayers are having to pay millions per trip for government transportation and security.
While the country’s financial health continues to deteriorate, the Obamas have set up what amounts to “Versailles on the Potomac” where they live a Sybaritic life with utter disregard for what is happening outside the palace and how it is affecting those of us that must pay for it.
All while the president steadfastly refuses to govern.
Which brings me to the second thing that I’m having trouble puzzling out.
Why do we continue to let this go on?