Americanly Yours

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President Obama’s First Year: Failure As Far As The Eye Can See

January 26, 2010 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

The phrase “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” works for Presidents too.  President Obama’s first year in office has been marked by failure after failure.  His only remarkable legislative success, last year’s “stimulus” bill is itself a failure.  But just how has the  first year of Mr. Obama’s Presidency been a failure?  Lets take a brief look:


The economy continues to deteriorate under President Obama’s leadership. When President Obama pitched the “stimulus” bill to the skeptical American public, we were told that if this “crucial” bill was not passed soon (ie, before Congress had ample time to read the bill) then the economy would face devastating consequences.  This was of course a well calculated and bold faced LIE.  The fact of the matter is that the majority of the spending in the “urgent stimulus” bill were not going to be spent for over a year.  We were warned by the Administration that failure to pass the bill would cause unemployment to skyrocket and could cause it to reach as high as 9%, but passing the bill would keep unemployment from raising above 8% (see this chart put out by the Obama Administration to urge support for the “stimulus”).  So, we passed the bill and despite (or because of) this, the official unemployment rate surged past 9% and currently sits at 10%.  Of course, the 10% figure is a lie as well.  Previous administrations changed the way that the unemployment rate was measured in order to disguise how bad things really were.  This U-6 unemployment figure is still reported by the government, however, the government now uses U-3 as the official unemployment number.  While U-3 unemployment is 10%, U-6 unemployment is 17.3%.  This figure was 13.5% one year ago.  Simply put, things are bad.  But, government data collection is shady and should not be trusted as definitive.  Shadow Government Statistics, a private data collection/analysis website places unemployment at over 22%!

Ben Bernanke failed to see the impending collapse even shortly before the economy tanked.  While a candidate for President, Mr. Obama repeatedly criticized the economic policies of the Bush Administration.  By choosing to reappoint Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, President Obama was giving his tacit approval to the policies of the Bush Administration.

The administration has also increased the national debt to dangerous levels.  The US is now in serious risk of having its credit rating downgraded.  Any hopes of an economic recovery would be shattered if this were to happen.

Foreign Policy:

Candidate Obama repeatedly attacked the Bush Administration on three fronts: the economy, the wars, and foreign relations.  President Obama has failed to correct the errors of the Bush Administration on any of these areas.  As mentioned above, President Obama has continued the “stimulus” and bailout policies initiated by President Bush.  His reappointment of President Bush’s Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke confirms the fact that President Obama’s economic policies are not notably different than those of President Bush.

The second area where candidate Obama frequently attacked the Bush Administration was his handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Mr. Obama criticized President Bush’s Iraqi surge, falsely claiming that it was not a success.  If I were a candidate who ran on a platform of change and who repeatedly criticized the previous administration’s military policies, I surely would not have allowed the previous President’s Defense Secretary to continue serving.  Furthermore, if I had attacked the former President’s Iraqi surge strategy, I would not have employed a similar strategy in Afghanistan.  However, President Obama has done both of these things.  He kept Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his position, and he has sent an additional 68,000 troops to Afghanistan since taking office (many of those troops were sent in the weeks following the President’s claiming of the Nobel Peace Prize).

Candidate Obama promised to have all of the combat troops out of Iraq within 18 months after taking office.  That leaves him less than six months to remove over 100 thousand troops from Iraq.  Id put the chances of this happening right at zero.  More likely, President Obama will declare that the troops in Iraq are no longer combat troops (despite the fact that they will almost surely be engaging in combat).

President Obama missed a historic opportunity to improve relations with Cuba.  Since taking over, Raul Castro has introduced many positive reforms, introducing notions of private property, increasing wages for productive workers, and allowing Cubans to take advantage of certain technologies.  Raul Castro’s Cuba still has a very long way to go, but any movement in the right direction should be seen as positive.  Candidate Obama pledged to improve relations with Cuba.  Instead, President Obama has continued to support the same policies towards Cuba which have failed for the past 48 years.  Of course, this si just one example of this administration’s failed foreign policy.

Candidate Obama pledged to repair our strained relations with foreign nations.  President Obama has failed at this as well.  He has been publicly scolded by Russia’s Putin, Israel’s Netanyahu, France’s Sarkozy, and other allies.  In fact, I would argue that our foreign relations have not noticably improved with a single foreign nation since President Obama’s inauguration.


President Obama has almost completely failed in his efforts to push his agenda during his first year.

Remember, this President was the candidate who vigorously campaigned on a platform of “change.”  There have been few noticeable changes in the previous year.

With sizable majorities in Congress and a public eager for change, President Obama should have had a relatively easy time pushing through at least some major parts of his agenda.  The only major bill that President Obama was able to push through Congress during his first year in office was the “stimulus bill.”  This was a bill which was passed by using intimidation, threats, fuzzy math, erroneous estimates, and down right lies.  The “stimulus” bill was a costly mistake that did little if anything to stimulate the economy but will cost taxpayers around $1 trillion when the time comes to repay the costs of financing this bill.

Congressional Democrats pushed various health care reform bills for well over 6 months.  During this time, President Obama showed almost zero leadership on this issue, basically promising to sign any bill that came out of Congress.

Had President Obama taken a leadership role and urged Congress to pass a series of smaller health care reforms instead of trying to push a sweeping bill down the throats of an adamantly opposed American public, he could have signed several of these reforms months ago and moved onto other pressing issues.  Instead, Democrats wasted the better part of a year, alienated a large portion of American voters, and came up empty handed.  Democrats might now adopt the strategy of pushing through smaller, incremental reforms, although it could even be too late for that approach.

Opponents of government controlled health care can thank President Obama’s complete lack of management abilities for preventing the nationalization of health care that seemed to be a foregone conclusion several months ago.

The President’s inability to lead has also prevented the passing of cap and trade and several other government intrusions into the lives of individuals.  He has placed his coalition in danger time after time, and now seriously risks losing the House of Representatives in November.  Things also look increasingly likely that the Senate may be in play in November as well.  More ont his in a future article, but it is beginning to look very likely that Democrats will lose President Obama’s former Senate seat, Vice President Biden’s former Senate seat, Harry Reid’s Seat, and possibly Hillary Clinton’s seat.  This would have been unthinkable only one year ago, but then again so would a Republican winning Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat.  President Obama has alienated Democratic voters to a degree that even the most optimistic Republican would have thought to be impossible a year ago.

President Obama should follow the lead of Domino’s Pizza: soak in and address the valid criticisms, revamp his “product,” and use his rhetorical skills to sell his new image to the public.  Failure to do so can only lead to a changing of the guard in the 2012 Presidential election.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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April 22, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

To all conservatives (and especially those in the Republican Party),

You probably enjoyed yesterday’s post quite a lot.  You have probably enjoyed many of my posts so far.  But that is because they have focused almost exclusively on economic issues.

The term conservative is far more difficult to define than liberal.  Almost 25% of registered Democrats consider themselves to be conservatives.  Then there are those in the Constitution Party who declare that they are the real conservatives.  Of course, there is also the crowd that calls former President George W. Bush a liberal.

Who is a conservative?  Is John McCain a conservative?  Is George W. Bush?  Is Ron Paul?  Is Mitt Romney?  Is Sarah Palin?

Does conservativism seek to maintain the status quo?  Or, does it seek to return to the “good old days?”

Just as with liberals, there are a range of people who are considered conservatives.  I am writing to the broadest range of them.  This is much more difficult to do with conservatives than with liberals.

You claim to be the party of small, limited government.  Yet, each Republican administration that has come to power following a Democratic administration has increased the size and scope of government by more than the Democratic administration preceding it.  I have little doubt that if a Republican candidate were to defeat President Obama in 2012 or win in 2016, he or she would increase, rather than decrease the power of the federal government.

In the months after 9/11, President Bush’s approval ratings reached 90%.  Did the Republican Party use its new political capital to eliminate wasteful programs?  Did it use this power to create any committees to review proposals for the reform or elimination of Social Security, Medicare, or any other significant government program? No, in fact, you pushed for—and got—a large expansion of Medicare. The No Child Left Behind debacle which was an extremely expensive bill which was pushed by conservatives and Republicans and gave the Federal government much more power over education.

You claim to be the defenders of the Constitution.  You rail against liberals for violating the 2nd and 10th Amendments.  True, they do ignore those amendments.  But you do your fair share of ignoring them too.  President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was an unconstitutional violation of the 4th Amendment.  And lets at least be consistent on the 4th Amendment.  When President Bush and his team pushed for the monitoring of phones, you called it necessary for the protection of America.  Yet, when Democrats and President Obama want similar powers over the internet, you cry foul.  As if your defense of warrantless wiretapping didnt set this up.

And while we are on the Constitution, you have also ignored the 10th Amendment and used it for your own political purposes.  Whether you support or oppose abortion, the federal government has no Constitutional basis for setting abortion policy.  The same is true for gay marriage.  The 10th Amendment gives this power to the States, where it belongs.  This power was delegated to the States so that divisive social issues would not be played out on the national arena.

How can those who claim to support limited government continue to push for so much expanded power of the government? The simple answer here is that many of those who claim to be opposed to government control are actually only opposed when their side is not in control.

You claim to be the party which supports freedom.  You claim to be the party of personal responsibility.  Yet, you have prosecuted an endless war on drugs.  Your policies have sent millions of your fellow citizens to prison for offenses which harmed no one but themselves.  I know that the Democratic Party has not exactly come out in favor of legalization or decriminalization of drugs, but the Republican Party has been relentless in promoting the prosecution of drug offenders.  [Plus, President Obama has made some great moves in this area.  More on that in a future article.]

You rail against President Obama for supporting bailouts and stimulus, but remember that the first stimulus bill was passed last year and signed by President Bush.  The TARP bill and several other bailouts, including that of AIG were all pushed through by President Bush.  I know that many of you have been against these moves since the beginning, but plenty of you were not and did not take a stand until President Obama took office.

You have supported economic populism, creating and continuing policies which have contributed to the current financial crisis.  Using the government’s power of regulations over financial companies to force banks to lend to those who couldnt afford to buy homes is exactly what caused this mess.  Yes, this practice was made government policy under President Clinton, but Republicans controlled Congress then–and did for another 8 years.

You criticize the Democrats for supporting inefficient social welfare programs which you say infringe on the free market.  Yet, you support corportate welfare.  You have given American companies tax breaks to ship jobs overseas.  Yes, outsourcing is a good, natural step that our economy needs to take, but the government should never subsidize private companies, especially for the purpose of eliminating American jobs.

Previously, I wrote that I found “it ironic that the same people who criticized President Bush for every little thing that he did–whether it was right, wrong, or unimportant have now resorted to questioning the Patriotism of people like me for simply disagreeing with President Obama.” You conservatives probably loved that comment.  But when did this start?  Anyone who criticized the previous administration was criticized as unpatriotic, un-American, or was accused of being soft of terrorists.  The medicine doesnt taste so great when you have to take it.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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More Of Your Money For AIG

March 02, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

In its infinite wisdom, our government has once again decided to bailout AIG by giving them billions more in tax payer money.

The government had already spent $150,000,000,000 [$150 billion] bailing out and nationalizing AIG before this latest bailout was announced.  But, now, the governments newest plan has loaned AIG an additional $30,000,000,000 [$30 billion].  That of course gives us a total of $180,000,000,000 [$180 billion], yet many analysts are saying that AIG will probably “need” another bailout and that total money “loaned” to AIG could top $250,000,000,000 [$250 billion]!

Even if the loans were to stop now, AIG would have immense difficulty ever paying them back.  $180,000,000,000 [$180 billion] even without interest is a substantial sum to have to pay someone back.  Even if AIG’s profits were to return to what they were before this whole mess started, it would take AIG over 20 years to pay back not including interest if they were to take every penny of profit and throw it at their debt.

Joseph Stiglitz, a nobel prize winning economist who has advised both President Clinton and President Obama has spoken out against these bailouts of AIG and the banks–he argues that not only will throwing this kind of money at the banks will create an investment bubble even bigger than the one that just burst, but doing so could also downgrade our standard of living for the next 20 years.

Enough is enough!

We should let this company fail, rather than continue to subsidize its failures and stupidity.

The real free market solution here is not to continue to throw unfathomable sums of money at AIG hoping that this money will eventually stabilize it.  Rather, the real solution here is to let AIG fail.  AIG’s assets should be auctioned off in the open market under the guidence of a bankruptcy court.  No, their assets and businesses wont get anything enar their “book values.”  Investors and business, however, will pay something for AIG’s name, businesses, real estate assets, and receivables.  In a real free market solution, investors would put up their own money and buy these pieces of AIG at a low enough price that they will believe that they have a good chance to make a profit.  This price would probably only be pennies on the dollar, but repricing “bad” or overvalued assets is a very important aspect of the free market system.

Under this solution, AIG’s pieces would probably become parts of other insurance and financial companies, or they would end up being owned by large investors.  With assets and receivables being bought at rock bottom prices, AIG’s new owners would be able to operate with confidence that good decisions will lead to profit, as they wouldnt be saddled with such an enormous debt.

This would also prevent the credit markets from further locking up by allowing AIG and its parts to continue to operate, although most likely as parts of other companies.  And, most importantly, all of this is accomplished without creating a new “bubble” that will inevitably burst in the not so distant future, causing yet another financial crisis and risking our future.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Inaugural Costs

January 18, 2009 By: americanlyyours Category: Uncategorized

People are now estimating that Mr. Obama’s inauguration will cost at least $150 million, and possibly over $160 million.  I know that the Democrats are excited to end 8 years of Bush-led Republican rule.  I know that many people in this Nation are also excited that America will be inaugurating our first black president, but I don’t think that spending so much on a president’s inauguration can be justified, especially in this economy.

Lets put things in perspective:

George Bush’s inaugurations each cost around $40 million.

Bill Clinton’s 1st inauguration cost $33 million and his 2nd cost $23.6 million.

George H.W. Bush’s inauguration cost $30 million.

Obama’s inauguration is set to cost as much as all 5 of these previous inaugurations combined.

Economically speaking, these are not exactly the best of times.  Unemployment is rising and people are having trouble paying their bills.  In a time like this, should the American people really be forced to pay for this event?  After committing trillions of dollars that we do not have to bailouts and “economic stimulus,” our government should be trying to save money wherever possible, not paying for lavish parties.

The District of Columbia has anticipated their costs for the inauguration to be $47 million.  Virginia and Maryland will spend another $16 and $12 million, respectively.  The states are already broke–Virginia just cut $429 million from its public education budget and $418 million from its health care budget.  This is just not the right time for states to have to shell out money for a party when they cant even afford to educate their own children.

In 2005, Bush was criticized for spending $40 million on his 2nd inauguration (even though only $17 million of this money came from the government). Yet, the media is not criticizing Obama even though his inauguration is costing about 4 times what Bush’s cost. If you are interested, this BBC article from 2005 details some of the complaints of Bush’s inauguration, including a request by Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner to cancel the inauguration because he says that the government shouldnt be throwing parties while people are dying in a war. We are still at war, but ill bet that Representative Weiner is not calling for Obama’s inauguration to be cancelled.  Also, I have yet to see an article online criticizing the costs of Obama’s extravagant inauguration (although, I am not surprised).

Mr. Obama fundraising during the previous election was nothing short of amazing.  Why couldn’t he use his network of donors to help fund the costs of his lavish inauguration.  Or, he could take the example of Jimmy Carter who intentionally scaled back his inauguration during a recession, spending only $3.5 million on his inauguration in 1977 to avoid drawing too much attention to himself while so many Americans were hurting.

Is it just me or does the story of an extravagant party for a Nation’s leader while its people suffer sound familiar?  Well at least maybe Obama will let us eat cake.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barent