Monday, March 16, 2009

Recklessness and Overreaching

Recklessness and Overreaching

Almost eight weeks in now and it is becoming clear what kind of a president we have, and voices fromn the heartland are becoming more strident in calling him out.

From a The Detroit News, editorial page editor Nolan Finley writes a bylined column headlined "Obama opens new era of recklessness" in which he avers:
The miraculous marketing machine that carried a junior senator into the White House is now at work trying to convince Americans that writing fat checks from an empty Treasury represents a giant step toward fiscal responsibility.
Call it the Audacity of Hype. The president, casting himself as the somber task master of a frivolous people, is demanding sacrifice of every American. But there's little sacrifice in his budget. His entire claim to responsibility rests on raising taxes on the wealthy, an action that is as ideologically driven as anything George W. Bush put on the table and will likely do severe harm to the economy.
The Obama budget perpetuates the have-it-now, pay-for-it-later mentality that has brought us to the brink of financial ruin. He isn't going to let the economic crisis deter him from enacting his hugely expensive social agenda. Nor will he heed warnings that his energy and health initiatives may place additional financial hardships on struggling taxpayers.

In his weekly radio address, the president explained, "like every family going through hard times, our country must make tough choices." But few families in tight financial straits can choose to borrow to accelerate household spending.
Rather than exalting personal responsibility, Obama is encouraging dependency. His plan will turn more Americans from contributors to the system to recipients of government handouts.

Cutting the tax deduction for charitable deductions made by the wealthy will take an estimated $9 billion away from nonprofits and send it to Washington, where it will be redistributed as Obama sees fit. The idea of taking care of your own -- your own families, your own communities -- will become a quaint notion.
Overall, the Obama budget will make Americans more dependent on government, explode the federal deficit, risk further crippling of the economy and leave the nation more exposed to its enemies.

If this is what responsibility now looks like, then we have for sure entered a new era.
The question the administration must ask at some point is when does the wielding of power become a weapon against oneself? Bruce Wilson, a columnist living in Washington, Utah, writes in The Salt Lake Tribune a piece headlined "Those who ignored rules should lose homes" with an even sterner tone:
During the run-up to approval for his mortgage bailout plan, President Obama frequently claimed it provided necessary and justifiable aid for those who "played by the rules" and "through no fault of their own" were being forced out of "their homes."

Like all of Obama's rhetoric, it sounded great and tugged at heart strings everywhere. But like too much of his rhetoric, it's a solution for a situation that doesn't really exist. And unlike many of the clever but dishonest straw men that Obama has created to sell his programs, this is one most Americans will see through.
It's clear to anyone who is willing to be honest about the situation that most of those who will qualify for Obama's bailout didn't play by the rules. They agreed to mortgages they couldn't possibly afford, some right from the start, others when higher interest rates they agreed to kicked in at a later date.

Still others would have been fine with their original mortgage payment, but when the perceived value of the home skyrocketed they took out second mortgages to fund home improvements and all sorts of other things -- things they couldn't really afford unless they continued to suck additional artificial equity out of the home.

The root causes of the problem are so obvious and so different from the straw man created by Obama that it makes one wonder whether his life experiences have been so different from life in suburban and rural America -- where most home ownership is concentrated -- that he never learned the rules of homeownership.
These are not opinion pieces skewering a political opponent with rhetoric. These are plaintive cries for this madness to stop, backed up with fact and cold observation. Moreover, this is just a sample, as voices all over the land are attempting to put the brakes on what is widely perceived as a rush to impending disaster.

The question is, will the 56% of Americans who are still snowed by this radical young president open their eyes in time to stop him, or are they willfully entering into the Faustian bargain of Obanomics, where every man gives according to his ability, and all sheep receive according to their needs, and their demands. This is a test. Has a majority discovered that it can vote itself largess from the federal treasury? Even if there is no money?

Call it a national test of character. I can hardly wait to see how we score.