05.17.2010 0

Managing American Decline?

By Bill Wilson

Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked if America was in decline, to which she replied, “No, we’re not, but it’s a question that has to be answered.” Why?

Besides the U.S. being the world’s greatest debtor, the reality Secretary Clinton is faced with abroad is not one of relative strength to previous administrations: “You’ve got countries who are explicitly saying to me in private, well, look, we always looked to you because you had this great economy, and now look. You’re in the ditch and you drag other people into the ditch.”

Clinton said that addressing the nation’s debt is “one of the critical challenges before us. Our nation has to be strong fiscally at home in order for us to be strong abroad.” So, how does the Obama Administration match up?

One can look at just the past few weeks and some overall Administration policies for a glimpse into whether Obama is attempting to bring America out of the ditch, or is just digging deeper:

Congressional Democrats are proposing a $23 billion bailout fund for bankrupt states in a war-funding bill. This would help states like California and New York put off making tough decisions for another year, just like the so-called “stimulus” did last year. Of course, it has nothing to do with funding the war, it has to do with avoiding a tough vote to pay back the public employee unions for their political loyalty. In essence, the plan is to nationalize unsustainable pension and health care benefits for school teachers and other state public employees. If this passes, it will institutionalize state bailouts as far as the eye can see, putting more pressure on the federal budget that has already reached the breaking point.

• Besides perpetually extending unemployment benefits, which has become welfare, the Obama Administration is handing out $2.1 billion more for “foreclosure prevention” despite the fact that the hundreds of billions already spent have not slowed the foreclosure rate at all. Last year there were 3.9 million foreclosures, and mortgage experts foresee another 4 million foreclosure filings this year. This time, the Obama program would be targeted at the unemployed, who with endless benefits and now a free ride on their mortgage payments, why would they ever try to go back to work?

As ALG News has previously reported, the U.S. could be committing as much as $254 billion for the sovereign debt bailout of Europe. Coupled with the European Central Bank basically printing €1.7 trillion to buy junk government bonds, the European Union and IMF are committing €750 billion for bankrupt European countries, even as investors doubt the defaulting nations will take the steps necessary to balance their budgets through necessary spending cuts.

• A secret Interior Department memo has been leaked showing that Obama is plotting to cordon off some 13 million acres of land from economic development — forever. That consists of public and private lands in 11 western states that would suddenly be designated National Monuments without any public review or opportunity to comment.

• In the wake of the Deepwater oil spill, the White House is commenting openly about restricting future off-shore oil exploration, despite the fact that the U.S. produces less than half of the oil it uses, and in spite of the recent energy bubble of 2008 where oil reached nearly $150 per barrel.

Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman proposed legislation to force Americans pay an onerous carbon energy tax — which mean higher costs of home heating oil, gasoline, and coal. The bill would attempt to restrict carbon emission some 17 percent off of 2005 levels, which basically means restricting the nation’s economic capacity by 17 percent.

• Despite the limitless possibilities to significantly expand the U.S. energy grid by going nuclear, there are no proposals to streamline the process for new reactors beyond the arbitrary, restrictive process in place. No nuclear power plant ordered after 1973 has been built, leaving America’s capabilities some thirty years behind the rest of the world.

• ObamaCare is being imposed upon the American people, and in particular, the private sector. The employer mandate is certain to raise the costs of doing business, and its increased taxes also promise to hurt businesses large and small. According to House Republican Leader John Boehner, “An analysis conducted by White Castle officials and submitted to my office this week indicates that one provision of ObamaCare alone will effectively cut White Castle’s net income in half and chop future job creation by at least that much.”

• Despite a $30 billion TARP-like program to incentivize small business lending, a federal oversight panel is reporting that lending by the Small Business Administration is basically frozen. Although some have complained that somehow banks are restricting lending, the truth is that the lack of lending is a canary in the gold mine. It indicates that, in fact, businesses are afraid to ask, and banks are afraid to lend, because of the higher risk of default due to the expanding regulatory burdens, government-mandated health care, and taxes being imposed on the economy, all in the midst of a financial and sovereign debt crisis that threatens market stability.

All of these actions are a sharp cut against the U.S. economy and the American people’s ability to work out of the huge $13 trillion national debt. So, we’re digging deeper into the ditch Clinton alluded to. It is as if this government is out to hobble and retard the nation’s economic power any way it can. In the least, there appears to be no attempt to climb out of that ditch.

So, just why is Barack Obama restricting opportunity, increasing government dependency, and therefore guaranteeing economic stagnation?

Congressman Mike Pence suspects that the Administration, despite Clinton’s denial, really does believe that America is in decline. At the Conservative Political Action Conference this year, he said, “I am told that officials in this administration will actually admit in private that they see their job as ‘managing American decline.’” If true, the Administration’s approach is extremely chilling.

But it is not at all surprising considering the policies being pursued outlined above. The trouble with “managing” decline, as a leader, is that it then becomes impossible for the government not to contribute to and facilitate such a national decline — and the White House knows it.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

Copyright © 2008-2021 Americans for Limited Government