Candidate Barack Obama, on the job at a recent fundraiser:
“Those of us who have spent time in the real world understand that the problem is not that the American people aren’t productive enough,” Obama said during a fundraiser today, after saying that Romney believes that America “automatically” prospers when the wealthy profit. “[Romney says] his 25 years in the private sector gives him a special understanding of how the economy works, [so] my question is why are you running with the same bad ideas that brought our economy to the brink of disaster?”The real world? I can't quite muster the appropriate outrage this morning, but Erika Johnsen can:
The president also said that Republicans, not Democrats, caused the current budget crisis. “I love listening to these guys give us lectures about debt and deficits. I inherited a trillion dollar deficit!” he said. Obama compared Republicans to a person who orders a steak dinner and martini and then, “just as you’re sitting down, they leave, and accuse you of running up the tab.”
He. Cannot. Be. Serious. And yet, he is. If this doesn’t qualify as playing up the intellectually cheap, populist, class-warfare rhetoric, then I don’t know what does.Read the rest. And if you'd like a glimpse of where the real unpaid-for steak-and-martini dinners are taking us, read a few of the stories about what's happening in Europe:
The Guardian: Golden Dawn threatens hospital raids against immigrants
In an atmosphere that has become increasingly electric before Greece's crucial election, the far-right Golden Dawn has ratcheted up the rhetoric by threatening to remove immigrants and their children from hospitals and kindergartens.Irish Times: EU discusses 'limiting ATM withdrawals'
Earning loud applause at an election campaign rally in Athens, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros said: "If Chrysi Avgi [Golden Dawn] gets into parliament [as polls predict], it will carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and it will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place."
Medical supplies and beds at some hospitals are running desperately short. The governor of the state-run Nikea hospital, Theodoros Roupas, called on doctors to stop non-essential surgical interventions because of a critical shortage of gloves, syringes and gauze. The order was revoked when Roupas found emergency supplies later in the day.
"The situation is really critical and getting worse every day," said Dr Panaghiotis Papanikolaou, a neurosurgeon at the hospital. "There is not enough medical staff to cope and huge shortages of supplies. There's no money to even service scanners and surgical microscopes … we're talking about a major healthcare crisis – not in the making, it is happening now."
European finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro.Christopher T. Mahoney: Europe's Economic Crisis is Going Global
There is no well-thought-out plan for the orderly exit of the eurozone’s insolvent countries. There are no safeguards, no plans, no road map — nothing. The Maastricht Treaty, like the United States Constitution, did not provide for an exit mechanism. So, instead of realism and emergency planning, we get denial and more happy talk. But, just because something is “unthinkable” doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.Read the rest. I don't know much about economics, but I have learned that in the real Real World, nothing is free. Ultimately, someone has to pay. Take it away, Mark Steyn:
In fact, it already is happening. Greece is rapidly running out of money; its residents are withdrawing their deposits and have stopped paying their taxes and utility bills. Even if the country can stay afloat until the June 17 election, a disorderly eurozone exit, default, and currency redenomination will follow. Greece will be dependent upon foreign aid for essential imports such as petroleum and food. Civil order will be difficult to maintain, and the army may be forced to step in (again).
Once Greece goes, runs on bank deposits are likely to follow in Spain and Italy. There is nothing to stop Spanish and Italian depositors from wiring their euros from their local bank to one in Switzerland, Norway or New York. At that point, the only thing still standing between the eurozone and financial chaos will be the ECB, which could buy government bonds and fund the bank runs. The scale of such an operation would be enormous, and would expose the ECB to huge credit risk. But it could, in principle, step in — if northern Europe permitted.
If the ECB does not step in, Italy and Spain, too, will be forced to exit the eurozone, default on their euro-denominated sovereign and bank obligations, and redenominate into national currency. Massive losses would be imposed on the global financial system. Given the opacity of banks’ exposures, creditors would be unable to discriminate between the solvent and the insolvent (as was the case in September 2008).
In the twilight of the West, America and Europe are still different but only to this extent: They’ve wound up taking separate paths to the same destination. Whether you get there via an artificial common currency for an invented pseudo-jurisdiction or through quantitative easing and the global decline of the dollar, whether you spend your final years in the care of Medicare or the National Health Service death panels, whether higher education is just another stage of cradle-to-grave welfare or you have a trillion dollars’ worth of personal college debt, in 2012 the advanced Western social-democratic citizen looks pretty similar, whether viewed from Greece or Germany, California or Quebec.As the tab comes due and things get increasingly ugly in Europe, our president continues to lead us blithely down the same path. And again the old question -- stupid or evil? -- arises, this time from Michael Walsh:
That’s to say, the unsustainable “bubble” is not student debt or subprime mortgages or anything else. The bubble is us, and the assumptions of entitlement. Too many citizens of advanced Western democracies live a life they have not earned, and are not willing to earn. Indeed, much of our present fiscal woe derives from two phases of human existence that are entirely the invention of the modern world. Once upon a time, you were a kid till you were 13 or so; then you worked; then you died. That bit between childhood and death has been chewed away at both ends. We invented something called “adolescence” that now extends not merely through the teenage years but through a desultory half decade of Whatever Studies at Complacency U up till you’re 26 and no longer eligible for coverage on your parents’ health-insurance policy. At the other end of the spectrum, we introduced something called “retirement” that, in the space of two generations, has led to the presumption that able-bodied citizens are entitled to spend the last couple of decades, or one-third of their adult lives, as a long holiday weekend.
In other words, what is it about a second term that’s so important to him that he’s willing to expose what has essentially been a sham presidency — certainly, aside from health care, a sham first term of basketball games, parties, golf, and vacations — in his quest for something that’s clearly greater to him? In short, what is Barack Hussein Obama really after, once he’s freed from campaigning and any electoral responsibility to the voters?Well, yes, but they're not mutually exclusive. But there's an even simpler answer: the Ego wants it.
So back we go to the only real question — why? With the housing market still cratering, real unemployment soaring, personal wealth vaporizing, what more is left for him to accomplish as he acquaints Amerikkka with the joys of progressive payback? Because either you believe that the wasteland of the first term was due to incompetence or — the only other alternative — malevolence.
He’s not running on competence, so that pretty much narrows it down.
Prediction: If Obama loses, the Ego will be unable to comprehend it, and the excuse-making and responsibility-shifting, including attacks not only on those nasty Republicans, but also on his own party, his own campaign, and the confused and ignorant voters who failed him, will be like nothing we've seen before. He's not a gracious man, and will be at his worst in defeat.
Afterthought: And Bush! Of course, if he winds up as a one-term loser, he'll blame Bush.
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