Conrad Black: Obama 'Completely Irresponsible' in Debt Crisis

Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012 10:35 PM

By Todd Beamon and Kathleen Walter

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The American economy is in serious disarray because President Barack Obama has been “completely irresponsible in not making any serious suggestions” on how to fix the deficit, former newspaper publisher and author Lord Conrad Black tells Newsmax TV.

The most Obama’s actually accomplished, Black said in an exclusive interview from Toronto, was claiming in his State of the Union message to have a program that would reduce the total debt by $4 trillion.

“Well, it’s $400 billion a year for 10 years. It still leaves you with a $1 trillion deficit every year. It won’t work,” said Black, a member of the British House of Lords and the former CEO of Hollinger International.

Watch the exclusive interview here.




“This is a country that had a money supply of $900 billion when he was inaugurated,” Black explained. “His irresponsibility is the largest cause but, to be fair to him, he did inherit developing problems that go back even before George W. Bush. And he did inherit an economy that has been run by people who believed in the elimination of savings, the spending, and borrowing to the maximum degree possible by households as well as by government and a complete devotion to the service economy where no value is added and a blasĂ© attitude to the departure of value-added employment, with their manufacturing and extractive industry.

“A serious reorientation is going to be called for, but I don’t see anybody talking about it, unfortunately,” Black said.

In a wide-ranging interview with Newsmax, Black shared his concerns about the US labor movement and on current issues facing both US and British news organizations.

Black said that the move by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signing right-to-work legislation into law on Tuesday reflected a downward – and much deserved -- spiral in the American labor movement.

“The percentage of private-sector work that is in fact unionized in the United States is only about 12 percent, and that’s way down from where it was in (Franklin D.) Roosevelt’s times and Truman’s in the 50s and so on. That trend will continue.

“As long as you have laws that defend employees, and defend them against being exploited and mistreated, and there are such laws — and there should be, and they should be enforced — you don’t need unions,” Black said. “They’re terribly retrograde for us.

“And, the right to strike against the public interest should not exist anywhere. If people don’t like their jobs in the public service, then they quit. No one is saying they can’t quit.”

Black also responded to criticisms of an editorial that he wrote last week in the National Review that criticized American-owned media companies as being controlled by Jews who appear less sympathetic to Israel.

He has been accused of labeling such companies as anti-Israel.

“I was speaking as an observer — and I wouldn’t say ‘anti-Israel,’” Black tells Newsmax. “What I said is they tend to underemphasize legitimate Jewish problems in the world, and this goes back to the terrible things of the Third Reich in Germany.

“I wouldn’t accuse them of being anti-Israel in the sense of being anti-Semitic, but they tend to lean over backwards to show that whatever their sectarian affiliation may be that it does not affect — and, if anything, affect adversely — their analysis of the issues that concern, in particular, the Jews.

“It’s not for me to say why this is the case,” Black continued, “but there is a sensitivity among many of these people that if they don’t do that, they will be regarded — as they have occasionally been accused of being — as just a Jewish clique trying to direct their influence within the United States in a way that’s unrepresentative of the American national interest that is rather adherent to be perceived by international Judaism. This is an old allegation.

“I understand why they’re sensitive to it, but some of them overreacted to it,” he said.

Regarding the British press, Black said a controversial report calling for improved press regulation by Parliament addressed issues common to many countries with freedom of the press statutes, including the United States.

The report, totaling 1,987 pages, was published last month after a yearlong investigation by Lord Justice Brian Leveson. It recommends, for instance, quicker redress for those who believe they have been misrepresented or harassed by the press, and heavy fines for newspapers that breached tough ethics codes.

“There are such things in the US,” Black said. “But, in general, there is something about the culture of the highly centralized national press in Britain where sort of the whole country, 66 million people, is in one time zone. So the morning newspapers circulate throughout the whole country. Not quite the same in the United States or Canada or other countries that span a lot of time zones.

“They are a group that all work closely together, meet socially all of the time — and it is a terribly intellectually incestuous group, and they tend to try and outbid each other at times in irresponsible behavior.

“Lord Leveson was grasping at a long-known and certainly very difficult problem, but I don’t know that self-regulation will work,” Black added. “We can’t legislate it. If you start legislating these things, we can’t have the politicians running the press, or you don’t have a free press anymore.

“I don’t know what you can do other than get a general acceptance of the requirement to separate reporting from comment, label ‘comment’ as ‘comment,’ keep consistent pressure for reasonable research.”

Black, who has written biographies of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, said he would not consider a similar work on President Obama, regardless of any parallels.

“President Roosevelt came into office in the midst of the Great Depression. The unemployment rate was 33 percent. One-third of the workforce. And there was no direct relief for them at all — but they could beg, steal, or starve. The banking system had collapsed. The stock and commodity exchanges had all closed. The financial system had collapsed. That was what he had to deal with.

“The allegation him as being some sort of socialist is nonsense,” Black added. “If he had not done what he did, the entire system would have collapsed. He wasn’t a socialist at all. He wanted a contented working class and a contented agrarian class — otherwise the country would be politically unstable and fundamentally unjust.

“As for the comparison of President Obama, he is more ideological and less pragmatic — and, in any case, he is less competent. President Roosevelt got his entire program through, and President Obama’s not been so successful.”

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