The Impending US Bankruptcy Is Not Only Obama’s Fault

Now that the latest US budget has been thoroughly digested by the media, I’m encouraged to see a greater percentage than usual catching on to the nation’s stroll down the path to bankruptcy. Maybe we can chalk that up to more people paying attention to finances after watching the ripoff of taxpayers orchestrated by banksters and their wholly-owned politicians.

What’s discouraging, however, is that too many people think this is a new path for the US. It isn’t. The nation has been walking down this path for decades. Too many people like showing pictures of President Obama on one-trillion-dollar bills and laying blame for the predicament at his feet. It doesn’t belong only there.

What people need to know is that it doesn’t matter who’s president. To grasp that, one need only notice that US policies under both Bush and Obama have been roughly the same. Had McCain won in 2008, I’d be writing this exact same article, except I’d be using the name “McCain” instead of the name “Obama.” Democrats would be screaming that, see, they told us McCain was just Bush 2.0. Instead, Republicans are saying that we need to stop the big government being created by Obama and the Democrats. “Stop the tax-and-spend mindset,” they say, ignoring that much of our current predicament happened on their watch over the White House.

It doesn’t matter who’s president because government is owned by special interests, most of which are funded by corporations. That’s why we get this breakdown:

Bush: Iraq War for no reason
Obama: Afghanistan war for no reason
Winner: Defense contractors

Bush: No national health care
Obama: No national health care
Winner: Health insurance companies, et al.

Bush: No smart energy policies
Obama: No smart energy policies
Winner: Oil companies

Bush: Mind-blowing deficits
Obama: Mind-blowing deficits
Destination: Bankruptcy

Bush: Bad speeches
Obama: Good speeches
Result: Same in each case

When a political system is run in a way that leaves politicians thinking more about funding than leading, those with the funds will lead. This will never change until we have either a second constitutional convention or an amendment that alters the landscape of campaign finance. The recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which granted corporations the same rights to free speech that were previously reserved only for persons, shows that corporate control is growing rather than shrinking.

It has been growing for a long time. It was the Clinton administration, after all, that allowed Robert Rubin and Larry Summers to get the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act repealed in 1999, which cleared the way for the housing bubble’s now-infamous toxic derivative assets. When those blew up, both the Bush and Obama administrations snapped to attention to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out bad banks and car companies. The Obama administration even hired Clinton’s bad boy Larry Summers as head of the White House economic team, bathing in bright light how the more things change the more they stay the same. The guy who, under Clinton, lit the fuse for the economy to eventually blow up is now helping to put it back together again under Obama. Why vote?

The New York Times wrote in an editorial last Saturday:

When President Bush took office in 2001, the federal budget had been in the black for three years, and continued surpluses were projected for a decade to come.

By the time Mr. Bush left office in early 2009, the government had run big deficits for seven straight years, and the economy was on the brink of another Great Depression. On Jan. 7, 2009 — two weeks before Mr. Obama was inaugurated — the Congressional Budget Office issued new budget estimates showing a fiscal year 2009 deficit of well over $1 trillion.

About half of today’s huge deficits can be chalked up to Bush-era profligacy: mainly cutting taxes deeply while borrowing to wage two wars and to enact the Medicare prescription drug benefit — all of which Republicans supported, virtually in lockstep.

The other half of recent deficits is due to the recession and the financial crisis.

Those last two, the recession and the financial crisis, were brought on by the slashing of regulations during the Clinton administration, so we can’t get too overjoyed about the budget having been in the black for three years prior to Bush. Every bought-off politician is complicit in the impending bankruptcy.

On that, the Times continued:

Under current policies, federal debt in the United States — the sum total of annual deficits — would grow from 53 percent of the size of the economy in 2009 to more than 300 percent by 2050, driven mainly by rapidly rising health care costs and, in part, by the aging of the population. Combined, those two factors exert enormous pressure on the government’s biggest spending programs, Medicare and Medicaid, and, to a lesser extent, Social Security. . . .

Unless health care costs are controlled, there is no way to solve the country’s long-term deficit and debt
problems. . . .

There is no way to get deficits under control until our political leaders are willing to acknowledge difficult truths and make even more difficult political choices. We have heard and seen too little of that from the Democrats lately, and none at all from the Republicans. That is truly a recipe for disaster.

Yes, it is, and we will run head-on into that disaster because our political leaders aren’t leaders at all. They’re the handmaidens of special interest groups that don’t want health care costs to be controlled, or pointless wars to end, or dependency on oil to end, and so on.

To be clear, I am not an Obama supporter. However, nor was I a McCain supporter. Under either man — indeed, under any person in the current political apparatus — the results would be roughly the same because those directing the funding will control the outcome. What they want is not usually what citizens want. Therefore, US government under any figurehead will generate results that most citizens don’t want. In this case, financial disaster.

A new party won’t help, either, I’m afraid. Take the growing Tea Party movement. The name is right in the sense that the original Boston Tea Party used active resistance against existing government to make a point. They threw the tea into Boston Harbor. We need similar active resistance against government to change anything. Instead, the current Tea Party offers as its new version of leadership…Sarah Palin. Huh?

About the nascent Tea Party, Canada’s National Post wrote earlier today:

The Tea Partiers face the same challenge faced by all populist protest movements: Crafting policies is far harder than simply venting against the status quo. Once they have driven the subject of their discontent from office, or forced him to retreat (say, from health-care reform), they typically descend into petty in-fighting or are co-opted by an established political party.

As their Tennessee convention showed, once one gets passed the Tea Partiers’ common interest in spoiling “Obamacare” and stopping the expansion of the US federal government, the movement is not exactly brimming with sophisticated policy ideas. Its rank-and-file is a colorful but quarrelsome hodgepodge of fundamentalist Christians, antitax activists, anti-immigration cranks, protectionists, mixed in with more mainstream conservative Republicans.

The Obama blame game will continue because he’s the current figurehead, but keep your eye on t
he bigger problem at work. Smart people know that it doesn’t matter who wins elections anymore, and that what’s needed is a revamping of Washington politics.

That will not happen within the current system because the people in charge don’t want the system to change. Therefore, we need a constitutional convention. We won’t get one, so prepare for disaster.

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