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Believe it or Not; There are Still Obama Supporters Out There

I was at a business dinner while traveling with colleagues a few weeks ago when one of them said to me: “I think President Obama is doing a great job, and I’m hoping he gets re-elected.” Slack-jawed with wonder, I responded: “Holy Cow! I figured there were people like you out there somewhere, but I never expected to meet one!” This woman actually believes that the problems with our worsening economy are the sole responsibility of the United States Congress, and that President Obama bears none of the blame whatsoever. If I was President Obama facing re-election, I’d try to hire her as a spokesperson, and hope she doesn’t wake up any time soon!

In The Economist’s September 24th issue (page 35) there is a graph depicting the current state of the US economic affairs entitled: “Not Good Enough, Mr. President.” It reflects the level of debt held by the United States Government as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2010 and 2021. If displays 3 lines: One line depicts the result “If current policies continue”, and shows an escalating trend with about a 30 degree slope. It reaches about 82% of GDP by 2021. Another line is entitled “Obama Proposal”, and also reflects an escalating line, but reduces the 2021 debt level to 74% of GDP – still a disasterous number. The third line on the chart is entitled “Federal Commission Plan”, and – had Democrats and Republicans been able to achieve consensus on the plan – would have reduced our debt in 2021 to about 64% of GDP. Just for purposes of understanding scale, Greece – with an unrecoverable economy outside of rescue by foreign countries – has been on a track that would have reached 186% of GDP by 2013. That is the direction in which the United States is headed, unless there is substantive reform. 

To quote the Economist article: “Unfortunately, Mr. obama has not lived up to the standards set by the other plans [reflected in the chart]. His savings include $1.1 trillionfrom military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, spending that was never certain to occur. He also included $866 billion from allowing the George Bush tax cuts to expire. But the fiscal commission that Mr. Obama himself appointed last year assumed both those would happen and still came up with $4 trillion of deficit reduction on top of that. That put the national debt on a downward path as a share of GDP, whereas Mr. obama on;y stabilizes it at 73% by 2021. Mr. Obama proposes only $577 billion of genuinely new spending cuts.” The article goes on to state that the President’s explanations related to tax cuts not amounting to class warfare are “disingenuous”, and describes his approach as “clumsy”.

This is just one article, and there is a forest of them. Another one recently authored by Charles Krauthammer is especially poignant (

It’s difficult to understand how anyon watching this President propelling our country on a careening course from TARP to ObamaCare to this incredibly unrealistic plan , displaying such naivete and leaving such devastation in his wake , can still be supported – even by the Democratic Party faithful. But there you have it. If I remember my psychology classes from eons back, this phenomenon is called “cognitive dissonance”. I could be wrong about that – it was a long time ago. But one thing I’m sure of : P.T. Barnum was correct when he said: “You will never go broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” I have to believe this is a truism for which President Obama is very thankful.

What do you think?

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