The crazy-man speaks. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predictably rails against the E-vil Amerikan Empire. The really bizarre and frightening aspect of this particular harangue is the utter lack of deracination. This time, the nut-job can back his assertions with quantitative data. This time the crazy-man may not be so crazy. Ahmadinejad delivers what he hopes to be a japing eulogy below.
“How long can a government with a $16 trillion foreign debt remain a world power?” he asked at a press conference with Kuwaiti media personnel. "The Americans have injected their paper wealth into the world economy and today the aftermaths and negative effects of their pseudo-wealth have plagued them.”
So does Mad-Mahmoud have a logical point even without his happy, pink pills? Jeffrey H. Anderson addresses this today. He describes what could be dubbed the “Barack Obama 7-11 Policy” below.
Here’s the upshot: Under Obama, for every $7 we’ve had, we’ve spent nearly $11 (or, to be more exact, $10.95). That’s like a family that makes $70,000 a year — and is already knee-deep in debt — blowing nearly $110,000 a year.
So what about some blogger at The Weekly Standard? It’s not like those guys have Obama-Biden signs out there adorning the lawns. To make this sort of preposterous boosterish twaddle stand up, we need to explain this 7-11 talking-point in greater detail. Satyajit Das of Marketwatch.com offers further facts behind Mr Anderson’s catchy and amusing slogan.
U.S. government debt currently totals around $16 trillion.* The Treasury estimates that this debt will rise to around $20 trillion by 2015, over 100% of America’s Gross Domestic Product…government support for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (known as government-sponsored enterprises) of over US$5 trillion and unfunded obligations of over $65 trillion for programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. State governments and municipalities have additional debt of around $3 trillion.
Thus, we obviously need to examine what we get in return for this massive debt. Do we get value in return for our decision to move wealth forward at the expense of future generations? Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions examined this question and discovered the following.
Welfare spending has grown substantially over the past four years, reaching $746 billion in 2011 — or more than Social Security, basic defense spending or any other single chunk of the federal government— according to a new memo by the Congressional Research Service. The steady rise in welfare spending, which covers more than 80 programs primarily designed to help low-income Americans, got a big boost from the 2009 stimulus and has grown, albeit somewhat more slowly, in 2010 and 2011. One reason is that more people are qualifying in the weak economy, but the federal government also has broadened eligibility so that more people qualify for programs.
This embodies what Cloward and Piven wrote about in their famous 1968 article in Nation Magazine entitled “The Weight of The Poor.” Advocates for increased welfare spending argue that a massive national income distribution program would alleviate poverty in America. Cloward and Piven describe their aims below.
It is our purpose to advance a strategy which affords the basis for a convergence of civil rights organizations, militant anti-poverty groups and the poor. If this strategy were implemented, a political crisis would result that could lead to legislation for a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.
I raise two fundamental objections to the thesis expounded above.
1) The poor do not gain long-term material benefits from the welfare expansion. (Con-Agra and Kroger do way better off food stamps than any of the hungering poor). The programs morph into hand-outs instead of a hand up. We will never see the reintegration of these benefit-recipients into the working economy as a result of the present Presidential Administration’s beliefs or policies.
2) The continuation of this “sharing of the wealth” will make our nation a nation of bitter enemies that hate their neighbors for what they receive from the state. Those recipients will sense this contempt and grow angry and disillusioned as a result of what many of them rightfully view as an unjustified and unfair prejudice. We already see the results of this national divide in non-violent venues such as Twitter, the death threats against Mitt Romney (the anti-welfare candidate) spiked after the recent Presidential Debate.
Others will say that we should focus on deeds; not words (or Tweets). The deeds may well also tell the same story. The FBI has reported a surge in property crimes in recent years. If “You Didn’t build that,” why shouldn’t I walk into your yard and steal it? I once again believe the attitude and the governance of our current Presidential Administration is making America a more angry and hateful nation than it was before Barack Obama won the 2008 Election.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn’t typically channel Nostradamus. I don’t look him up on speed-dial for advice about my retirement portfolio. He hates and resents America the way all those idiots tweeting death threats hate conservative people like me. But he does make an accidental point when he asks whether the US can survive a $16Tr debt. This is particularly true when we examine what we’ve gotten in return for our expenditures. We have to do something better and will not if Barack Obama is reelected. Mitt Romney 2012. That is all.
*- Ahmadinejad can multi-task. He reads while foaming at the mouth.