1/10/10

The American Dream is Over

The money is all gone; now we must fundamentally transform

Sorry kids. We've hocked your future. And Obamanomics may mean you can't work.

With a Christmas Eve vote, the U.S. Senate raised the federal debt ceiling to $12.4 trillion. And that was a stopgap measure. Congress will continue to increase America's credit limit even as the White House talks tough about fiscal responsibility. Such talk is laughable given the propensity of President Barack Obama - and, before him, President George W. Bush - for spending.

But our debt is no laughing matter. The United States government owes $12,292,012,533,239.65, according to the Web site of a commonsense conservative, U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville.

For perspective, our entire economy, for the year ending Sept. 30, 2009, produced $14.242 trillion in goods and services. Soon, our debt will equal our Gross Domestic Product.

"We've moved closer to the precipice, and the precipice has moved closer to us," Alan Auerbach, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Wall Street Journal. Roger Altman, a Treasury official in both the Carter and Clinton administrations, said, "At some point, if the U.S. does not address proactively its deficit outlook and its debt outlook, there will be a financial-market revolt."

But, young folks, there are other doings in D.C. that could be just as devastating as our debt. As I've oft opined during this Great Recession, three big mistakes in the 1930s turned really tough times into the Great Depression. Tight credit, higher taxes and protectionist trade policies killed the economy.

Right now, the rise of protectionist policies and the powers behind protectionism present a clear and present danger to the American economy. Marguerite Trossevin, a representative of U.S. companies that import Chinese tires, said Americans will pay for protectionism. "For the U.S. tire distributors and consumers, there's going to be a heavy burden to bear," she told The Washington Post. "It sends the message that special interests will get protection if they ask for it - regardless of what that means for broader trade policy."

Who are those special interests? The United Steelworkers union brought both cases. The USW's "wins" expose just how deeply unions inform Obamanomics. BusinessWeek reports unions spent $450 million to elect Obama and congressional Democrats in 2008, and that Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees International Union, was the most frequent White House visitor during Obama's first six months in office.

While protectionism in problematic, the rise of union influence bodes ill for young workers entering the workforce. The New York Times reported recently that the unemployment rate in Spain for workers aged 16 to 24 is a staggering 42.9 percent. The reason? Citing MIT professor Paul Osterman, the Times wrote, "Young Spanish workers, like their counterparts in the rest of Europe, face other obstacles like union rules, long-term contracts and legal protections that shelter older workers and discourage new hiring."

Again, sorry kids. Sorry for the debt. Sorry for the protectionism. Sorry that this president is hellbent on protecting his union benefactors at your expense. But, hey, it's not all our fault.

A bunch of you voted for him.

(from knoxnews.com)

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