I told you so. For months now I have warned that the Obama administration was harnessing the power of the economic crisis to try to force his radical (fully partisan) agenda upon this nation. We have known this well since the unveiling of his personal budget proposal back in February. The only question has been, “How’s he gonna pay for it?”
Only three options exist: cut spending, raise taxes, or inflate the money supply. The first option is obviously out—the Obamaites want their entitlements and handouts. Inflation is a fearsome prospect since the Fed has already tripled its balance sheet in order to coddle the banks (as all nannies know, diapers are expensive). So we have a good idea where the big-O would like to go: higher taxes.
Surprise! Former treasury secretary under Clinton, Robert Altman, has just published an article in the Wall Street Journal subtly entitled, “We’ll Need to raise Taxes Soon.” The only irony here—could there really be one?—is the pretended element of surprise at the huge deficit we’re facing.
Altman plays deer-in-the-headlights, speaking of a changing focus in “domestic policy” in the White House due to “the emergence of much larger budget deficits than anyone expected.”
Well, excuse me… ahem, ahem! I simply must—others may as well—take exception here. Yours truly “expected” and indeed decried the unnecessary, agenda-driven, deficits from before day one of this administration.
For example, on Feb. 13, 2009 (Obama had been in office barely three weeks), I posted the article “A Shovel Ready Pile of National Debt.” In it I wrote,
“All in all the bill looks like a breakdown of the Democratic political agenda for past decades. They are using the economic crisis as an excuse to fund Socialist programs to the tune of $800+ Billion. And as with most subsidies, these will almost certainly do little more than increase dependence and create more new dependents on government handouts. Those who wished for a political messiah have received one. Those who feared the worst will see those fears play out. For the lust for political messiahs and the worst fears about socialist dystopias go hand-in-hand. We shall all experience the failure that putting trust in man inevitably brings. The messiah will fail, and the nation will suffer with him.
This is true because where the money is going is not half as bad as the fact that the money is going. It will all be based on newly created debt and will increase the Federal deficit (all programs included with this particular bill) by about $3 Trillion.”
A week later I wrote about Obama’s Dec. 9, 2008 interview on “Meet the Press.” My article, “Obama and the Future of the Economy,” quoted Obama saying in that interview: “we can’t worry short term about the deficit.” In the same article I also quoted John Train, founder and chairman of New York investment firm Montrose Advisers: “Keynes observed that pragmatic businessmen often could not imagine that they were the slaves of defunct economists, but ironically, never is this more true than today of Keynes himself. So we run a huge deficit to postpone the worst. That means inflation.” I noted that Train admitted what Obama wouldn’t: huge deficit will only postpone the worst.
If this did not suffice, the very next week, Feb. 29, 2009, I wrote “Obama’s Vision for America.” I criticized the hypocrisy in Obama’s speech to Congress where he said he’d identified $2 trillion in savings over the next ten years. I called this out as dishonest spin. His previously released budget actually increased the budget by $450 billion over Bush’s last year, thus making any talk of reducing the deficit a joke. In that article I tried my hardest to ridicule the claim that such a budget would “bring the deficit down,” and in fact called it a “bald-faced lie,” which it was and is.
Now I find this Altman character, expecting us all to be as stupified and clueless as the average Obama-worshipper: “This worsened outlook is… beginning to reorder priorities for President Barack Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership. By 2010, reducing the deficit will become their primary focus.”
“Beginning to”? I just showed that the deficit was a central issue on Dec. 9 of last year. “Worsened outlook”? It hasn’t “worsened.” Altman knows it, Barack knows it, and even Obama’s effeminate Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Peter Orszag, knows it well. Huffington Post reported Obama tapping Orszag as early as Nov. 18, 2008, and on Nov. 25, proclaiming, “Budget reform is not an option. It’s a necessity.” For Alton now to pretend this is some surprise concern is hypocrisy at its Washington finest.
Orszag, former assistant to President Clinton, and key opponent of Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, has been well known as a crusader for health care reform, mixing the agenda into his vision as an economist: “he’s been arguing that fiscal responsibility means, above all, serious health-care reform.” Against those who, with common sense, have pointed out that Obama’s huge health-care-reform laden budget deficits can in who way benefit a dragging economy, Orszag has erected a curiously fallacious arguments (which I shall examine closer elsewhere), and sticks to his long-held agenda: “we need to address health care costs.” It should come as no surprise that Obama picked the guy for the OMB job specifically because of his emphasis on health care reform.
So Altman’s article strikes me as one big joke. Worse: one big attempt at spinning the big picture. “Democratic Congressional leadership”? Haven’t the Republicans been criticizing the spending since before Obama even proposed it? “By 2010”? And what is their “primary focus” until that time? I’ll tell you. Making plans to spend and pile up the very debts that will demand attention in 2010. Actually, those debts have demanded that attention for a long time already, as we have already seen.
Altman is merely trying to soften up the public to accept the new wave of taxes that Obama will try to impose if he can. From now on when you see that big “O” symbol for Obama, think of it as a big hole into which you throw your money. Think of the Open mouth of Leviathan as he swallows your income. It is coming, either through direct taxation, or the hidden tax of inflation.
This is Altman’s conclusion, too. He says “it is no longer a matter of whether tax revenues must increase, but how.” Of course, Obama promised, vehemently, during his campaign that under his Presidency, no one making less than $250,000 a year would pay a single penny more in taxes. He has already lied in signing an increase to tobacco taxes and now pushing the cap-and-tax on carbon emissions. I have no doubt he will go for more. God forbid we should ever cut spending.
As I wrote before, “Political Messiahs come at a premium.” This will remain true, and you and I will pay. It still won’t hurt to call your congressman, and then forward him or her this article, because, I told ‘em so.
 Ezra Klein, “The Number-Cruncher-in-Chief,” The American Prospect, January 14, 2009, (accessed June, 30, 2009).
 Klein, “The Number-Cruncher-in-Chief.”
Article posted July 3, 2009