Obama-A Socialist America?

February 15, 2013

G’Day!

I agree with Dr. Charles Krauthammer, who indicated on National TV after this week’s State of the Union address, that President Obama’s intention is to transform America into a European-style Socialist State. Many of my articles over the last two years have suggested that Obama is a “Neo-socialist” – a person who believes in government control over all aspects of the economy, including wealth redistribution, regulations, “Executive Orders,” and central planning. (Neo-socialism is different from traditional ‘Socialism,” which is based on government “Ownership” of businesses and industries.) Neo-socialists want political and economic central control over the country but not the responsibility of ownership or consequences. Unfortunately, both socialism and neo-socialism are equally destructive to economic growth and individual liberties and has historically failed or is failing in nations that have pursued it. Is this the future you want for America?

Based on the President’s “Inaugural Speech” and the “State of the Union Address”, it appears evident that Obama and the Democrats have no real intention of reducing government spending, reforming entitlements, or even seriously addressing our federal deficit and debt crises. However, they are intent on more spending, more taxes, more regulations, more debt, and less freedom for the American people. Resuming the pattern of his first term, Obama also seems to be more interested in fixing “Blame” on everyone but himself (especially Republicans) for everything wrong, when he should be exercising bipartisan leadership to resolve our problems – especially the ones he has created or aggravated. In my opinion Obama’s idea of a “Grand Bargain” is to raise taxes by every means possible, including class warfare, to fund “Bigger Government,” “Entitlements,” “Green Energy,” “Climate Control,” “Wealth Redistribution” and any other project his neo-socialist ideology deems desirable. I believe America’s best days could be ahead but “Obammunism” is not the way to solve problems and is not good for jobs, the economy, the Middle Class, or the future of our great country. We need a President who is willing to represent ALL the people fairly, exercise impartial leadership, and take responsibility for the consequences of his actions and policies.

So how has Obama really performed so far? During his first Presidential Campaign, he promised “Change” to transform our government. Unfortunately, he has been remarkably successful in moving America in the direction of European-style socialism and a culture of dependency. In only four years the size of government has increased from 20% of GDP to 25% of GDP. Our annual Federal Spending has increased from $2.9 trillion to $3.8 trillion (an increase of over 30%) and is expected to continue for Obama’s second term. Our annual Federal Deficit has increased from $0.5 trillion to over $1 trillion (an increase of 50%). Our National Debt has increased from $10 trillion to over $16 trillion (a 60% increase and now more than 100% of GDP). In the first two years Democrats passed massive new legislation for government-controlled healthcare, sweeping regulations over the financial industry, and the use of “Executive Orders” by the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the unconstitutional appointments to the NLRB to regulate personal and business use of private property and erode personal freedoms. The Democrat controlled Senate has not passed a budget in nearly four years. Welfare dependency has increased significantly and forced wealth redistribution through higher taxes on the “Rich” was recently enacted (and Obama wants more). The economic results have been the worst recovery in decades and a decline in GDP in the 4th Quarter of 2012. Clearly, Obama has delivered on his promise to “Change” our country. Are these the “Changes” for which you voted? Do you believe continuing these policies will solve our problems and advance the future for our children?

In my opinion it is not too late to correct this adverse trend toward national decline and save our nation. America can resolve its fiscal and debt crisis and restore our country to a solid foundation of responsible government and future prosperity. However, this can only occur if we return to the principles that have made America the greatest and most exceptional country in the world. These principles are: Constitutionally protected individual liberties, free markets, sound fiscal and monetary policies, economic growth, and Constitutionally limited government. The “Obammunists” are rapidly leading us away from our founding principles and toward a future of economic stagnation, shared poverty, limited personal freedom, and dependence on government for much of our survival. Under Obama, America is quickly declining into a centrally controlled overregulated neo-socialist state with increasingly limited opportunities for aspiring individuals and companies to succeed.

So what should we do? We have a republic with democratically elected representatives. It is up to us to determine and vote for the representatives that place the future of America before politics and who will stand up for the best interests of the people and the nation. The first and most vital action we can take is to become informed about the issues and vote out the “Obammunists” in the 2014 election. This one single accomplishment will at least stop the decay and give us the opportunity to correct the damage being done by Obama and the Democrats. Currently, we should demand our President and Congress concentrate on resolving our fiscal/debt crisis, get our economy back on track, and create productive private sector jobs. As I outlined in many of my 45 previous articles, this can be done and we need to do it. The American People should not be the servants of the government. Government should be the servant of the people.

The Old Guy PhD


Is a Balanced Budget Amendment Necessary?

August 6, 2011

G’Day!

Yes, the Constitutional Amendment is necessary given the dysfunctional behavior of our government, and No, it is not necessary (even undesirable) in economic theory because it limits the flexibility of our government. So what should we do??

Given the past and current inability of our Congresses and Presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, to act responsibly regarding fiscal budgets and debt policy for our nation, a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the Constitution appears to be necessary. This amendment should mandate a federally balanced budget including a federal spending “Cap” of no more than 20% of GDP (preferably less), and with “Safety Valve” exceptions granted only for “War” or “National Emergency”. These exceptions should require a “Supermajority Vote” in Congress to authorize and the signature of the President to enact. Unfortunately, short-term personal political motivations appear to be stronger than the long-term fiscal responsibilities to our national economic needs. Therefore, we do need a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to protect the American People from continued irresponsible and dysfunctional fiscal and debt behavior by our federal legislators and Presidents. If we needed any additional indication of the necessity to curb government spending, the recent federal debt downgrade from AAA to AA+ by Standard & Poor’s should suffice.

Forty-nine States have some version of a balanced budget requirement (only Vermont does not). Interestingly, Germany and Switzerland, both strong financial nations, also have a balanced budget requirement. This forces their legislators to behave in a responsible manner that protects the national fiscal and long-term debt interests of the people they were elected to serve. Without such a constitutionally protected provision, including the “Cap” on federal spending above, lawmakers are prone to ignore the long-term fiscal consequences of the laws they pass and focus on their own short-term reelections. The relentless historical increase in our national debt and especially the current deficit and debt crises are clear evidence of irresponsible short-term decisions by our Federal Government.

Prior to the passage of 16th Amendment in 1913, which permits federal income taxes directly on the people, we had governments that were forced to limit their size and spending to a level reasonably consistent with federal revenues. The funds available required adherence to the provisions for limited federal government defined in our Constitution and required the establishment of appropriate priorities for federal programs and services. In other words, our government was reasonably forced to live within its means. What a revolutionary concept!! After the 16th Amendment, our government could (and did) simply increase income taxes or borrow to meet whatever programs or bureaucracy they deemed desirable, not necessarily important or essential. In 1913 federal spending was less than 3% of GDP. In 2008, President Bush’s last year, federal spending was approximately 20% of GDP and this year under Obama, the federal spending is estimated to be 25% of GDP. This is madness and does not serve the American people.

As mentioned above, since 1913 our elected officials have relied on increasing income taxes on the American people or debt to pay the increased costs of the programs and bureaucracy they desired, regardless of the cost, need, or even importance of these programs to the American people. It is easier for politicians to identify a socially “desirable” program than to identify and justify its costs and priority to the taxpaying public and its overall benefits to society. Our government has merely increased taxes to pay for these new or expanded social entitlement programs or added to our National Debt by borrowing the missing funds (increasingly from foreign sources, like China). In 2008 our National Debt was $10.0 trillion, a $4 trillion increase in eight years under President Bush. Currently, under President Obama in only two and one-half years, our National Debt has increased another $4 trillion (a 40% increase) to $14.3 trillion and, even after this week’s debt agreement, is projected to grow another $8 trillion to approximately $22 trillion over the next 10 years. This is more than 100% of projected GDP, is not sustainable, and must be corrected.

In economic theory (especially Keynesian), a balanced budget amendment would limit our government’s flexibility. It would restrict government fiscal actions to correct imbalances in our economy, such as running “deficits” to stimulate the economy during recessions and the use of “surpluses” to retard excessive and unsustainable growth. In theory, this should smooth economic growth by limiting the magnitude of peaks and valleys in the business cycle. This in turn would restrain “booms”, minimize “busts”, stabilize economic growth to reasonably sustainable levels, and avoid excessive fluctuations in job markets. Nearly all economists believe that prudent use of this power is good but excessive use is bad. All good stuff in theory! Unfortunately, the behavior of our governments and the actual results have not followed the theory. “Excessive use” has repeatedly hurt our economy and job growth starting with FDR in the “Great Depression” and currently with the Obama Administration’s “Stimulus”, expansion of government size, and spending to support his big government agenda. Also, when federal surpluses were possible, as with the Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush tax rate reductions (all of which increased economic growth and tax revenues), Congress quickly initiated new spending programs to use the money (Johnson’s “Great Society”, Bush’s wars, and the Democrat Congress’ Prescription Drug Program in Bush’s second term). As I have repeatedly said, socialism and long-term economic growth are not compatible. Most other nations, including many in Europe, and especially Russia, India, and China, have learned this and are increasingly relying on free market economies and prudent fiscal and monetary policies.

Since the founding of our nation, balanced budget legislation has been discussed. Thomas Jefferson was the first President to think seriously about requiring balanced budget legislation to maintain fiscal discipline and he actually wanted to ban federal borrowing power to limit the potential size of federal government. Ultimately, he concluded this would be too restrictive in times of emergencies, especially wars. For over 200 years our nation has relied on the wisdom and responsibility of our elected officials to act appropriately on behalf of the American people. The introduction of the federal income tax amendment above combined with the evolution of our short-term political reelection process has unfortunately undermined the ability of our legislators to perform their fiscal duties to serve the long-term interests of the American people. It is time to renew the effort to force our federal government to behave responsibly. Clearly, history, since 1913 has shown that they cannot be trusted to do it on their own.

So “Yes”, we do need a Constitutional “Balanced Budget Amendment” with federal spending “Caps” and a “Safety valve” for national emergencies to rein in the reckless fiscal behavior of our elected officials. Our governments are increasingly turning our nation into a centrally controlled socialist debtor nation. These policies are not the foundation of freedoms upon which our country was created and which made America great. It’s time to return our country to the individual liberties, free markets, sound fiscal and monetary policy, economic growth, and limited government upon which it was founded.

The Old Guy PhD