This week President Obama was sworn for his second term, a term where he vows to finish what he started in his first. What exactly that means is yet to be seen but given his record and rhetoric it is possible to make some assumptions.
The biggest long term threat to the U.S. is the massive debt that has piled up more under Obama than anytime in history. During his term he has talked about the need to address the debt but has done little else. His largest contribution towards alleviating this crisis was a 1.5 trillion supposed cut in spending over 10 years. A cut that even if it happened would only slow the debts growth but do nothing to alleviate it. The fact is even this trivial response to the debt crisis is very likely to nothing more than smoke and mirrors. No cuts have as yet happened and for them to be realized they will have to survive five congresses and 10 budget battles. None to reassuring to anyone concerned about the long term viability of the country’s monetary system.
For his second term the issue of debt is likely not to be of anymore a priority than the first. Jim Carney, the President’s spokesman, said that “debt reduction (for the President) is by itself not a worthy goal.” Quite clearly it is not goal at all for this President. As new debates over spending take hold the President’s position is since he signed a theoretical cut in the debt’s expansion no more cutting of government spending is necessary. A position that shows a total disconnect with reality.
If the greatest long term threat to the U.S. is its debt; economic growth is its greatest short term challenge. A challenge that the President talked a lot about during his first term but little else. A giant political giveaway he called a stimulus and a healthcare bill that is costing hundreds of thousands of jobs were his signature achievements on the economy. The reality is that instead of doing the two things he could of done to help the economy, namely lower simpler taxes and relaxed regulations, he has done quite the opposite. The result is an economy that seems to be in an inescapable malaise. A fact reinforced by a labor participation rate that continues to plummet. Already at 1970’s levels it appears to be heading into a region not seen since the Great Depression. If unemployment was figured by comparing the present percentage of people working with those before Obama became president it would be well into the double digits. The truth is any improvements that have been seen over the last four years are thanks to the Federal Reserve and its printing presses and not anything the President has done. Hollow economic gains that are likely to come at a high cost.
For Obama’s second term one can only infer from his speech and campaign slogan that people can expect more of the same. More record amounts of welfare spending, more regulations strangulating small businesses and an ever lessening number of people supporting it all. A recipe for a stumbling economy and more record deficits. Unfortunately true economic recovery has never seemed farther away than it does today.
The road ahead is looking to be a rough one, possibly rougher than most people anticipate. Not only are the big issues of the national debt and the economy likely to get worse but there are other problems lurking in the darkness too. Domestically the Fed’s massive expansion of the money supply threatens to engulf the country in 1970″s style stagflation and personal freedom is going under siege. Internationally President Obama’s non-interventionist style and penchant for leading from behind means the march of Islamist and Iran’s nuclear ambitions will likely continue unabated.
Given the Obama administrations record the only bright spot might be the the gridlock caused by the President’s my way or the highway politics. His intransigence has slowed the rate of legislation to a crawl. Of course his answer to this has been an increasing reliance on executive orders of more than questionable constitutionality. A course of action he has shown every intention of continuing.
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