Nation's Obama Lovefest Waning

Thursday, 23 Jul 2009 03:25 PM

By E. Ralph Hostetter

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During the presidential campaign of 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama was asked a man-in-the-street question by a individual who became known simply as Joe the plumber regarding a planned agenda if he were to be elected. Obama answered: "Spreading the wealth around."

The man-in-the-street interview was given widespread coverage. Obama was little known until a relatively few years ago. He arrived on the scene with much fanfare, brought about by his reported backing by Greek-American billionaire George Soros, who had announced his intention to make Obama president of the United States.

Obama's charismatic appearance and his eloquent-sounding speech soon thrust him into the limelight of national politics. He was quickly recognized by the leadership of the Democratic Party.

His early identification by the Democratic Party leadership enabled him to breeze through the normal vetting process that American politicians face as they climb the ladder of recognition.

Obama was previously employed as a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago. He served a four year term in the Illinois senate followed by three years of a six year term in the U.S. Senate (2005-2008).

A larger-than-life image was created for candidate Obama by the national media.

Obama's charismatic image continued to grow. His nomination as a candidate for the presidency was overwhelmingly supported by the Democratic party.

He was elected president in 2008 with the highest majority in the past 30 years. It would turn out in the final analysis that the public had confused charisma for character.

Obama has been criticized for not keeping promises. Not so.

He is delivering on the promise made to Joe the plumber to "spread the wealth around."

The wealth the president will spread around may be found within the trillion-dollar deficit presented in his first budget as president of the United States. Obama cannot be accused of not keeping his promises.

The problem now arises as to how the nation can cope with its first trillion-dollar budget deficit, predicted to be one of a number of trillion-dollar deficits to follow in the future.

The Obama administration in May estimated that the annual deficit would be about 1.84 trillion dollars by the end of the fiscal year, an increase from February's projection of 1.75 trillion. The administration has revised upward its deficit estimates for 2010 to 1.26 trillion dollars. The 2009 deficit is 13 percent or more of the nation's gross domestic product. It is the biggest deficit since the end of World War II, in 1945, when it was 21.5 percent. At that time the nation had six million men and women under arms equipped with the necessary armament to fight the most power enemy the United States had ever faced.

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf "gave a fiscal wake-up call" to Senate Budget Committee members on July 16, noting that "the federal budget is on an unsustainable path — meaning the federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run."

Elmendorf said that solving the budget crisis would "require increasing revenues [taxes] significantly as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), decreasing spending sharply, or some combination of the two."

Elmendorf warned that if spending grew as projected and taxes were raised in tandem, "tax rates would have to reach levels never seen in the United States." Raising taxes would slow the growth of the economy, create unemployment, and lower the GDP.

“The trillion dollar deficit makes clear that our nation’s fiscal situation is dire. Yet Washington democrats keep borrowing and spending money we don’t have and forcing our children and grandchildren to foot the bill,” House Minority Leader John Baynard said in a statement Monday.

Lurking on the horizon are demands for a national healthcare bill. Following that some lawmakers for both parties are expressing concern about the potential tab for a healthcare overhaul, which could cost the government (taxpayers) up to one trillion dollars over the next decade if spending isn’t offset by tax increases and savings.

The Rasmussen reports show that the presidential tracking poll for July 23 indicate that 29 percent of the national voters now strongly approve of the way that Obama is performing his roll as president. At the same time 36 percent strongly disapprove, leaving Obama’s presidential approval index rating at minus seven. The reports find 53 percent of investors believe the economy is getting worse while just 26 percent say it is getting better. Likewise, 53 percent now oppose the congressional healthcare reform package that’s up from 45 percent opposition just six months ago. And 37 percent say that deficit reduction is the most important issue today. Overall 51 percent of the voters at least somewhat approve of the president’s performance while 48 percent disapprove.

Obama finds himself today in this "Catch 22" dilemma. He must come to the final conclusion that he "can't have his cake and eat it, too."

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