Tag Archives: national debt

What if feds had done nothing in ’09?

Many of my friends on the right — and the far right — have taken great pains to blast the smithereens out of President Obama’s economic policies.

Namely, their target has been the increase in the national debt, which now stands at $17 trillion. What has run up the debt? It’s been that federal stimulus package the Obama administration pushed forward while the nation’s economy was in free fall.

You remember those days, right? The economy was shedding 700,000 jobs a month; banks were failing; the real estate market was collapsing; the stock market was flushing itself down the toilet.

Barack Obama’s response was a costly one. The Federal Reserve Board reduced interest rates to near zero, making it easier for borrowers to pay back loans, while making it tough on lenders who are in the business of making money on what they loan.

My pals on the right and their Republican pals in Congress keep harping on the difficulties the Obama administration has endured trying to restore the economy.

I keep circling back to this question, which Sen. John McCain in 2008 and former Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 both ignored as they ran for president against Barack Obama: What would have happened had the feds done nothing, had the government not instituted its stimulus package to shore up an economy that was on the verge of collapse?

I’ll add this follow-up: Why do they dismiss the clear evidence that the economy is in recovery at this moment? Is it back completely? Probably not.

* The job losses have stopped and have been replaced by job gains. Yes, the December job growth was disappointing. But we’ve gained back all the jobs lost during the final years of the Bush administration and the first year of the Obama administration.

* The annual budget deficit, which once topped $1.1 trillion has been cut in half — and is declining. Will we balance the budget by the time Obama leaves office? Probably not but it’s trending in the right direction.

* The jobless rate is at 6.7 percent, down from nearly 10 percent. Has it declined because every unemployed American has found work? No. Many of them have quit looking for jobs but the signs are indicating that opportunities are opening up on the job market.

* The stock market is setting records, which ought to please Wall Street investors — not to mention those of us with retirement accounts that depend on a healthy market.

I’m not naïve. I know there are myriad problems out there. The world is a restive place. Conflicts are erupting all over the planet. The United States is involved actively in a war that it is trying to wind down; we’ve already ended our involvement in another war. We’re killing terrorists almost daily, but the dead ones are being replaced almost immediately by recruits dedicated to waging war against the Great Satan. This war on terror won’t end anytime soon, folks.

Economically, though, I am feeling better about my future than I was, oh, about six years ago.

What’s more, I hate to think how I’d view our future if the government had kept its hands off the economic rudder.

MSNBC’s Martin Bashir had to go

Martin Bashir, the fire-breathing left-wing commentator for MSNBC, has resigned from the network over remarks he made about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Good bye and good riddance.


Let me stipulate something now that I’ve made that statement. I happen to agree with most of Bashir’s political philosophy, which he would reveal without apology on his weekday afternoon talk show. What I find objectionable about the man was his occasionally crass commentary about those with whom he disagrees.

Such as Sarah Palin. In November, Bashir took Palin to task for remarks she had made that equated the national debt to slavery. I, too, thought Palin’s analogy was a bit of a stretch. Bashir took the opportunity, however, to detail on the air some of the torture that slaves actually endured, such as being forced to eat human excrement.

He then suggested Palin should do the same.

Bashir apologized for his remarks shortly afterward. Now, though, he has left the network.

Fine. See you later.

Bashir has been fond of criticizing — correctly, in my view — the over-the-top criticism of President Obama by his critics. He has called for civil discourse among political foes. His call for collegiality among opponents is worthwhile.

However, he destroys any moral high ground on which he could stand by making statements such as those he spewed out about Sarah Palin.

Don’t misunderstand me here: I dislike Palin’s politics intensely. I, too, have been hard on her in the past and will keep speaking out in strong terms in the future when it believe she is wrong — which is just about all the time. Bashir’s disgraceful commentary, though, went far beyond the bounds of decency.

I’m glad he quit.

President takes wing

This speech is about a month old, but I just caught up with it … and am astounded by its ignorance.

U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., went on the floor of the House in mid-July to gripe about all the trips President Obama has taken aboard the jet called Air Force One.


Coble yapped about the cost per each flight and accused the first family of using the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet as its “personal toy.” He was warned against using improper references to the president by the presiding officer.

If the president of the United States feels a need to fly Air Force One somewhere on behalf of the country he governs, then why is that such a huge deal to a back-bench member of Congress whose name few Americans even recognize? Coble’s complaints center on the cost of using the aircraft during difficult economic times. He says its use runs up the deficit and the debt, which the nation cannot afford.

The aircraft also supplies the president with all the communications he needs while he’s en route to his destination. The way I see it, those amenities are quite necessary for him to do his job. You know, things like telecommunications he can use while speaking with military and domestic policy advisers, phone hookups so he can be briefed on crises as they erupt. These are fairly essential items, don’t you think?

I’m not going to begrudge any president the right to use an airplane that enables him to be on call every minute of every day he occupies the most powerful office on the planet.