In ancient times, it was not unusual to kill a messenger who brought bad news. Many of the great prophets in the Bible suffered unspeakable treatment and even death. Tradition has it that the prophet Isaiah was sawn in half.
These dedicated men of old were desperately trying to warn their countrymen to keep them from a horrible fate, but few listened, especially those who had the power to change things. Most rulers simply surrounded themselves with “yes” men. Little has changed.
King Obama, who had never run so much as a lemonade stand, has surrounded himself with tax cheats and economic “yes” men like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who admitted that he has “never had a real job.” The same holds true for most other members of his royal court. The notable exception is his chief of staff, Bill Daley, the token businessman – a sop to “diversity.”
The dearly departed include such notables as Council of Economic Advisors Chairwoman Christina Romer, National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, budget chief Peter Orszag and Jared Bernstein, the economic adviser to the business-challenged veep. The latest to go is recovery guru Austan Goolsbee. All but Orszag came from academia and returned to academia, giving new importance to the adage: “Those who can do: Those who can’t teach.”
Little wonder that the best solution Obama has come up with for digging our way out of debt and impending economic disaster is to keep digging: Spend more money and raise taxes on the “super rich.” There aren’t enough people in this category to make a difference. As it is, the top 1 percent pay 40 percent of our income taxes. The top 10 percent pay 70 percent.
Never let the facts get in the way of good political theater. Run enough bad numbers by the government’s number crunchers and they have to crunch them. I remember when former Sen. Robert Packwood decided to prove this point. He asked the Congressional Budget Office to calculate how much money the government would take in if it taxed the incomes of our top earners at 100 percent. The CBO actually came up with a number. It worked off the assumption that the super rich would go right on earning and working if we taxed 100 percent of their incomes. Preposterous!
The problem in the U.S. is spending and entitlements. The king wants to go right on spending and increasing the size of the entitlement population. His economic advisers are urging him onward, but the mean old Standard & Poor’s poured cold water on this idea by downgrading the once stellar U.S. credit rating. What’s a king to do? Kill the messenger!
On Monday, in true “Emperor has no Clothes” fashion, Obama held a press conference to calm the nation’s fears and announced, “No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a triple-A country.” No grand plan. No blueprint to cut spending. No roadmap to reform entitlements. Just straight from the teleprompter rhetoric. Little wonder the market tanked.
Left-wing nuts jumped on this bandwagon. Film director Michael Moore tweeted, “Pres Obama, show some guts & arrest the CEO of Standard & Poor’s. These criminals brought down the economy in 2008 & now they will do it again.”
The king then sent out his minions to kill the prophets: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, those who voted against raising the debt ceiling, Republicans in general and those wicked tea-party activists.
To add insult to injury, one of Obama’s Senate lieutenants, Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, issued a statement calling the S&P’s downgrade an “irresponsible move.” Johnson then directed his staff to begin looking into last week’s move and to begin gathering information on the S&P’s downgrade. Ooooo!
Will the next move in the Democrat-controlled Senate be to hold hearings on Standard & Poor’s? At the very least, it is a shot across the bow of the credit-rating agencies and a warning to the other two, Moody’s and Fitch, not to follow suit. The unspoken message is this: “We can haul you before this committee and make you the object of public scorn.”
Bear in mind, Democratic senators have been so busy contemplating their navels they haven’t passed a budget in two years, and now they want to hold hearings on Standard & Poor’s for stating the obvious.
Any relief in sight? Hardly. A New York Times insider reports that Obama likely will tap another academic to chair the Council of Economic Advisors, so the new policy will be the old policy. Keep digging … and kill the prophets.
Off with their heads!