We’ve all heard the famous phrase by JFK, now we should attribute this paraphrased version to the so-called new-JFK: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what your country can do with your money.”
Tuesday night Obama warned Congress that we need to “sacrifice some worthy priorities … and that includes me,” but his peers in Congress, and his own budget plans speak loudly otherwise. He calls his multi-Trillion dollar deficit a “vision for America.” This is an article about hypocrisy, and about the real American Vision’s alternative methods.
To resounding applause Obama suggested he’d kept his campaign promise to cut the deficit by half, but offered this standard of measure: “we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade.” I hope you laugh out loud when you hear that. And then cry. Firstly, $2T over ten years amounts to $200B per year. Obama’s proposed budget increases the touted $1.3T deficit inherited from the Bush administration to $1.75T. That created $450B more in debt, not $200B in “savings” for this year alone. Secondly, you can hardly call budget cuts “savings” in any climate, but especially not when running a deficit. The government is already far too big, and to speak of “identifying savings” while buoying up a sinking ship with more debt is to insult the entire taxpaying public. Such talk is pure liberal romanticism and doublespeak. “Savings” would return money to taxpayers, not pump more leverage into Washington. At any rate, it does not keep the campaign promise, but rather breaks it by a factor of two.
Ironically, Obama proclaimed that “we have lived through an era where too often short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity”; yet this is the same guy who not even a few months ago told Tom Brokaw that “we can’t worry short term about the deficit.” So which advice does he intend to stand by? I would hope the latter, as it reflects a more responsible and conservative attitude toward money. Unfortunately, the rest of Obama’s speech itself dispels any such hope. You don’t even need to read between the lines.
He blames the previous administration again: “A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future.” “Transfer!?” Let’s neglect the fact that that surplus itself came about as a “transfer” from taxpayers to Washington. A “surplus” of what after all? Money that belonged to whom originally? Taxpayers, not the government, not even “the people” in general, because not all of those people contributed to that surplus. What Obama calls a transfer “to the wealthy” was really just Bush giving back to those from whom it was taken to begin with. My, what epithets liberals can load upon genuine fairness!
Pundits claimed that part of Obama’s purpose for this address lay in reminding the public that he inherited this economic crises—and that the blame lay squarely on the previous administration. Well, he went much further than this, alleging that the Bush administration tanked the market on purpose purely for personal gain: “regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.” While Bush made huge mistakes in all areas, it will be interesting to see how long this argument works: “My budget failures are all evil Bush’s fault.” I predict barely two years.
His misguided answer to current deficit problems is more deficit spending: “invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow our economy.…” Notice how he repeats the word “invest.” We’re “investing” in these things (all government-controlled aspects of these things, by the way). Of course “investment” means that we have capital, and we do not—we have a deficit. This means that Obama intends to “invest” with more debt, and that’s on top of the $800B of new debt already created in the Stimulus package, plus the trillion heaped on by Bush (admit it, the Repubs were no better, and McCain would probably be pumping in as much, though to different areas). But of course Obama does this “even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down.”
That’s right, we’re increasing our deficit by trillions in order to “bring our deficit down.” (Now it should be apparent to all that Obama is a trained lawyer, not a businessman).
Here’s my main problem with Obama’s claims about a “long-term” perspective and “bringing our deficit down”: they’re bald-faced lies.
I will repeat myself, to remove any perceived subtleties: the claim about bringing the deficit down is a bald-faced lie.
How do I know this? Well, granted, I have no insider information. But history will prove me correct when Obama signs the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (OOA09). What? You’ve not heard of this? Well, perhaps you’ve heard talk about the budget for this year. That’s what this Act— introduced the day before Obama’s speech by Democratic Rep. of Wisconsin David Obey (could there be a better surname for one of big-brother’s own?)—covers, with the moderate price tag of about $500B, adding to the deficit of up to as much as $1.75 Trillion, and the overall budget to as much as $3 Trillion.
(Just for perspective, a trillion=one million millions. A million dollars = 0.0001% of a trillion dollars. When the millionaire next door has enough money to dent the budget by one ten-thousandth of a percent, you know we’re talking astronomically ridiculous numbers).
Let us break down this title “Omnibus Appropriations Act”:
“Omnibus” — This means “All” in Latin. It is uncertain whether this refers to “all” in the sense of funding for “all things,” or in the sense of “Omniscient, Omnipotent,” as in “funding for the All-seeing, All-powerful Ones in Washington.” My interpretation leans toward the latter since the bill only forms a portion of Obama’s proposed Trillions, and therefore cannot represent “all things” he intends to fund.
“Appropriations” — This refers to something set aside for a particular use, which the bill clearly does. It also, however, describes the act taking something which does not belong to you, which the bill also does. Again, the intent is unclear, although less so than the first word because in this case, both senses fully apply.
“Act” — Clearly refers to an action, such a government officials reaching into your pocket, your bank account, or operating a printing press cranking out Federal Reserve notes (an anachronistic metaphor in a digital age). Of course, the word “act” also denotes a farce in the sense of a stage-play. Once again, we remain unclear as to whether the bill intends to outrightly rob us (“action”) or to fool us (“actor”), although most likely it is again both.
But I have digressed. This is a serious situation—enlightened, perhaps, but not changed, by humor. Worse yet,Obama’s future 2010 budget (yet another bill) will call for an additional $634B to socialize healthcare in this nation, along with a few other trillions. Both proposals—2009 and 2010—sag under the weight of Billions spent on frivolous leftist pet ideas and projects (about $7.7B of the bill goes for these, including a $22M addition to the JFK library, etc.), not to mention billions going to agencies that already received a total of $311B under the previous Stimulus bill. Include things like a $5 Billion blank check to the State Dept. (headed by Hillary Clinton) “to remain available until expended,” although not less than $600M of this must go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. Also, $1.5B shall go to “International Organizations,” including things like $50M to the United Nations Population Fund, the world’s condom distribution service. $50M will pay for about 94 million condoms—enough to protect the 47 million citizens of just one African nation, say South Africa, for what, a week?
Oh, and while Obama says that every member of Congress must “sacrifice some worthy priorities,” the OOA09 includes a 10% raise for Congress’ own budget, now at $4.4B.
Meanwhile, during this Leftist ramrod session, Obama has the gall to tell Congress (particularly those who originally opposed any bailouts) that “we cannot afford … to yield to the politics of the moment.” This means, “I refuse to yield my politics to your politics while I have the momentary advantage of popularity.” In fact, one report unwittingly notes this tactic: “Obama’s argument that times of dark economic crisis can be a catalyst for sweeping political reform.” What a revelation! For the record, this is no “argument”; it is a long-time government tactic of using “crisis” to pass sweeping (read: fully partisan) legislation and expansion of government power. Can you say, “Patriot Act”? Against such “crisis-mode” tactics Gary North wrote a book nearing three decades ago: Government by Emergency(1983), although the tactic goes back centuries, even millennia. We have nothing new with Obama and his liberal corral; but neither are we ignorant of his devices. Now say, “Soviet Act.”
A Real American Vision During Economic “Crisis”
A young lady in our forums suggested that AV extorts people of donations for vague programs, and spends on frivolous trips like attendance at CPAC in Washington, D.C. Well, as opposed to our government’s hideous financial plans, let me tell you the real story of AV and money:
Some of us saw the crisis coming before it hit the news—some as early as late 2007. Our Board began to prepare already in their meeting in June 2008. Every person on AV’s health insurance plan assumed 20% of the price of their premium, which was effectively a pay cut. This was the beginning. In the January 2009 meeting, sweeping in-house changes were installed. Both our president and vice-president took 10% pay cuts. Additionally, the personal burden of health insurance increased temporarily to 50%—another pay cut—until the recession abates. This hits some of our staff harder than others. After the Board meeting recessed, they went to eat lunch—not at some fancy steak house or even a popular chain—at probably the cheapest pizza joint within 10 miles; and they bought their own.
Yet, with these cuts, some staff still give part of their pay in donation to AV in general, voluntarily. We believe in what we do.
Meanwhile we have streamlined everything we do. We do no more full print runs unless we have private funding or an already high demand for a product. Most books now start with limited on-demand print runs of less than 200 (as opposed to 2000 or more), which cuts printing costs by 85% and drastically reduces warehousing costs and space. The alleged frivolous expense to D.C. was actually paid for by air miles, and the hotels by discount internet shopping. Only four people went, one on his own dime, and the other three working in additional business to make the trip more economical. For a recent speaking engagement, President Gary DeMar personally paid for his own travel to the event. This is not uncommon, but rather quite normal for AV when traveling.
In total, as of January of 2009, American Vision has cut it total operating expenses by 50% in preparation for enduring the times. We will likely continue many of these cut backs even after the crisis assuages, because they simply make good business sense. We have consciously designed our July 2009 Super-Conference to reduce expenses for attendees, choosing a local church venue instead of an expensive campground. Some people who would not have afforded the trip otherwise will now be able to come.
Some AV families buy groceries at surplus, “dented and dinged” outlets, in bulk in some cases, with coupons, and always as cheaply as possible. We have older used cars (paid off), don’t eat out often, don’t buy name-brand clothes (especially for our many children), and still contribute to other charities outside of AV. We just, as a group, personally believe in thrift and good stewardship.
Think about it, what other ministry out there teaches more about money and thrift and economics except for some radical leftist groups (like Jim Wallis’ socialist group, Sojourners)? But AV provides a biblical perspective on these matters. While other conservative Christian ministries focus on prophecy or the rapture (how to leave real life problems), AV concentrates on equipping people to deal with real-life problems in a biblical, godly way. We apply biblical law to those crooks in D.C., to our families here, and to our own organization across the board.
Few other ministries have done such things ahead of time. I know of other major ministries that still require millions just for radio airtime (a dying medium), and others that economic hardship has pushed into necessary changes, and others already begging for donations in order just to stay afloat. I do hope God provides for some of the better ones. But AV has prepared for this time, willingly, and in faith that God will bless our thrift and faithfulness. Our recent donation campaign aims at supporting the general efforts of AV during these times, as one blessed donor has offered to match what we receive up to $100,000. We’re almost there.
You can bet, when that donation comes, it will be used as faithfully and as effectively as any institution you can name. For in the wake of our cut backs, we have produced a greater amount of helpful products than ever before, and have will top that for this year again. Where else can you find a group dedicating to putting out twice as much for half the cost? Not Washington, I’ll promise you that; and not very many other places either.
 “President Obama’s Address to Congress,” February 24, 2009; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/24/us/politics/24obama-text.html?bl&ex=1235797200&en=97382ea42f9af6ce&ei=5087%0A (accessed February 26, 2009). Where quotations have no reference from here on they have come from this speech.
 Barack Obama, interview by Tom Brokaw, “Meet the Press,” MSNBC, December 7, 2008;http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28097635/ (accessed February 26, 2009).
 Yes, I know we’re talking about Federal Reserve notes here, but that issue belongs in another article. Even the hard-core hard-money people can at least humor me here.
 http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/090226/obama_budget.htmlH.R. 1105 (E.H.), p. 776; http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h1105eh.txt.pdfhttp://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090226/ts_afp/uspoliticsobama_20090226122138(Ft. Worth, TX: American Bureau of Economic Research, 1983).
 H.R. 1105 (E.H.), p. 776; http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h1105eh.txt.pdf
 (Ft. Worth, TX: American Bureau of Economic Research, 1983).