America Is Killing Its Future. Right Now. Today.

Have you heard about the United States government (in the avatar of the incredibly inefficient Post Office) printing THREE BILLION STAMPS featuring the wrong Statue of Liberty (i.e., the one in Las Vegas rather than the one in New York Harbor)?

Mark Steyn did.  And he considers that blatantly ridiculous fact along with the far more sobering one that Barack Obama, Timothy Geithner and the rest of the fools running America are borrowing $188 million every single hour, as representative examples of a form of liberal American madness that I would describe as the “Dodo Bird Syndrome.”

April 16, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Losing the Future
Vegas is no longer the world’s biggest gambling resort; America is.
Mark Steyn

I always enjoy the bit in Planet of the Apes where a loinclothed Charlton Heston falls to his knees as he comes face to face with a shattered Statue of Liberty poking out of the sand and realizes that the eponymous simian planet is, in fact, his own — or was. Also the bit in Independence Day where Lady Liberty gets zapped by space aliens. And in Cloverfield when she’s decapitated by a giant monster. And in The Day After Tomorrow when she’s flash-frozen after polar-ice-cap melting brought on by a speech from Dick Cheney. I’ve been enjoying such moments since, oh, the short story “The Next Morning” in the 1887 edition of Life, illustrated with a pen-and-ink drawing of a headless statue with the smoldering rubble of the city behind her. The poor old girl was barely off the boat from France, and she’d already been pegged as the perfect visual shorthand for societal collapse.

But the United States Postal Service has now gone the Hollywood apocalyptics one better and produced a somewhat subtler image of civilizational ruin. The other day the post office apologized for its new stamp honoring Lady Liberty. Due to an unfortunate error, the stamp shows not the 19th-century Statue of Liberty that stands in New York Harbor but the 1990s replica that stands at the New York–New York Casino in Las Vegas.

An ersatz statue of pseudo-liberty standing guard over the world’s biggest gambling operation: What better way to round out a week in which the Republicans pretended to pass the most historically historic budget cut in history while the president pretended to come up with a plan to address the debt? All while pretending to wage a war in Libya whose most likely outcome seems to be that the only Arab dictator to sleep soundly in his bed at night during these turbulent times will be doing so under cover of a NATO no-fly zone for the rest of his 75-year term of office. In such a world, the USPS, bless ’em, has come up with a far more plausible emblem of societal devastation than Hollywood’s space monsters and climate-change fairies.

After the revelations that the $38.5 billion 2011 budget cut will in reality either cut a mere $352 million from the 2011 budget or, in fact, increase it by $3 billion, it might be easier just to build a replica White House, Capitol, and Congressional Budget Office at the new Beltway Casino next to Caesar’s Palace. Vegas is no longer the world’s biggest gambling resort; America is. Barack Obama says we need to “win the future,” and one more roll of the dice should do it: a trillion dollars of chips on the stimulus came up empty but let’s pile another couple trillion on Obamacare, and “high-speed rail,” and “green jobs,” and “broadband access” . . . And all the while Wayne Newton is singing “Danke Schoen” in Chinese. But don’t worry, we’re not just throwing our money away. We’re playing to a system! The president calls it “investing in the future.”

How do you “invest in the future”? By borrowing $188 million every hour. That’s what the government of the United States is doing. It’s spending one-fifth of a billion dollars it doesn’t have every hour of every day of every week — all for your future!

Most of the “futures” we’ve “invested” in are already at record levels of spending. Obama and his speechwriters are among the laziest men in the republic, so they cite the same dreary examples every time. In all three of his State of the Union addresses, he’s brought up the highway system, and he did so again in Chicago at the end of the week. If the Republicans get their way, he said, “We can’t invest in roads and bridges and broadband and high-speed rail. I mean, we would be a nation of potholes.”

That’s the choice, is it? Multi-trillion-dollar government “investment” or a nation of potholes? America “invests” a lot in roads. It has more highway signs than almost any other country: not just mile markers but fifth-of-a-mile markers; not just “Stop” signs, but four-way “Stop” signs, and “Stop Sign Ahead” signs, and one day soon “Stop Sign Ahead Sign Ahead” signs. America also has the worst automobile fatality rate in the developed world, in part because there’s so much fascinating reading material on the shoulder. Our automobile fatality rate is three times that of the Netherlands, about the same as Albania’s, down at 62 in the global rankings, just ahead of Tajikistan and Papua New Guinea. But don’t worry, if we ever do become “a nation of potholes,” you can bet there’ll be federally mandated “Pothole Ahead” signs in front of each one.

Anything else? “Our airports,” continued the president, “would be worse than places that we used to call the Third World, but who are now investing in infrastructure.” Maybe he should get out of the motorcade once in a while and swing by LAX or LaGuardia: They’re already decrepit cheerless dumps, mainly because they’ve been lavishly governmentalized into bureaucratic holding pens through which the citizenry dutifully shuffle while armies of crack TSA operatives poke around in the panties of six-year-old girls.

Oh, and let’s not forget “education.” “We should invest in education,” says the president. But we have done, spectacularly. We spend more per pupil on “education” than any other developed nation except Switzerland, and our math scores barely make the global Top 40, scraping in at big hit sound No. 35 between Azerbaijan and Croatia, the former of which was a Commie dictatorship until 20 years ago while the latter was reduced to rubble in the Yugoslav civil war. Maybe, when it comes to “investing in the future,” civil war gives you more bang for the buck.

Government is not alone in “investing” in “the future.” The New York Times reported last week that in 2010, for the first time, student-loan debt topped credit-card debt. This year, college debt is projected to be over a trillion dollars — a spectacular increase in just the last decade. America is now dumping two-thirds of Canada’s or India’s GDP not into overall debt but into one small niche market of debt. Yet, in a nation with a trillion dollars of student debt, 40 percent of Americans work in minimal-skill service jobs about to be rendered obsolete by technology, while our elites dream of following Michelle Obama into leisurely gigs as $350,000-a-year diversity-outreach consultants.

Question: How much do you have to invest in the future before you’ve spent it and no longer have one?

That the president’s rote recitation of tired catchphrases can still be taken seriously is a bleak glimpse into the scale of this nation’s structural problems. But hey, relax! Maybe we can win the future by investing in highway signs for the crowd-facing side of his prompter: “Warning: Lame Cobwebbed Brain-Dead Sloganizing Ahead.”

We are in trouble.  Standard & Poor’s just listened to Barack Obama’s toxic speech and decided that America’s future was decidedly “negative.”

We’re spending ourselves into Dodo-bird extinction.  And that extinction is going to happen very, very soon.  And the president of the United States has made it his campaign strategy to demonize anyone who tries to solve our massive problem.

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2 Responses to “America Is Killing Its Future. Right Now. Today.”

  1. sensistar Says:

    If you don’t like the state of our country don’t ever ever vote Republican again.

    Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record

    By WSJ Staff

    President George W. Bush entered office in 2001 just as a recession was starting, and is preparing to leave in the middle of a long one. That’s almost 22 months of recession during his 96 months in office.

    His job-creation record won’t look much better. The Bush administration created about three million jobs (net) over its eight years, a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under President Bill Clinton‘s administration and only slightly better than President George H.W. Bush did in his four years in office.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/01/09/bush-on-jobs-the-worst-track-record-on-record/

    If republicans had facts they wouldn’t be Republican.

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    A few things.

    Number one, Bill Clinton was such a lousy president that after two years the American people were in full revolt. In the biggest shellacking until the PRESENT shellacking in 2010, Bill Clinton lost both the House and the Senate in the Republican Revolution.

    If you read my article here, you should realize that a lot of the recovery that Clinton gets all the credit for was something that the Republican CONGRESS should get most of the credit for.

    Otherwise, you can start explaining why Bill Clinton was such a great president the American people massively turned on him.

    Number 2, you fail to forget the 2008 Dot-com bubble that brought down the economy just as Clinton was leaving office. In addition to the 9/11 attacks, in which ALL the terrorists who attacked us were already in the country, that’s TWO giant economy-killers that “Mister Wonderful Clinton” inflicted on George Bush. The Clinton-era Dot-com crash ultimately destroyed 78% of the Nasdaq composite. Clinton benefited with a huge market surge, and Bush paid with a huge market collapse that began taking place while the handprint on the Bible from Bush’s oath of office was still warm.

    Then there is the seldom-discussed fact that the 2008 collapse that crushed Bush’s overall record was caused almost entirely by Democrat policies, particularly at Fannie and Freddie. And these policies were initiated during the Clinton years – particularly in the last year of the Clinton presidency. See my article here for just one example of why that’s true.

    So the destruction of the Bush economy was bookended by massive Clinton failures – the Dot-com bubble collapse in 2001 and the housing market bubble collapse in 2008. And Clinton was never blamed for either of them by the propagandist mainstream media. Instead, he got ALL the credit for successful policies that had been implemented by the Republican-dominated Congress that took over – by strange coincidence – just before things started to “miraculously” turn around for Clinton.

    And if you want to say Clinton was a great president, he ended up with basically the SAME employment rate over his 8 years that George Bush did. If memory serves, it was about 5.2% for each president.

    Then there’s the third point. Whoever wrote that op-ed piece (and the WSJ does allow liberals to write such pieces) didn’t have Obama’s presidency to compare to, since the article was dated Jan 2009. Why don’t we consider an article that has a little more perspective?

    Democrats of 2004 Brand Obama Worst President
    By Kevin Hassett – Jun 20, 2010

    As we approach another general election, it will be interesting to see how the economic performance of Democrats is judged. If voters borrow the preferred method of John Kerry and other Democrats from 2004, Barack Obama will be revealed to be among the worst presidents in history.

    During the 2004 election, Democrats constantly reminded voters that George W. Bush was the first president in decades to oversee a net loss of jobs.

    The drumbeat was incessant. “This administration is the first since Herbert Hoover’s to actually lose jobs on its watch — 1.8 million jobs,” Kerry said at a campaign stop. His campaign chairman, Jeanne Shaheen, said Bush deserved “the first-ever ‘Herbert Hoover Award’ for having the worst jobs record since the Great Depression.”

    The Hoover analogy was a stretch, as some recognized even back then. The watchdog election site factcheck.org wrote, “Comparing the Bush economy to Hoover’s Great Depression is just silly, and implying that tax cuts are not contributing to job growth deserves an ‘F’ in freshman economics.”

    As an adviser to the Bush re-election campaign, I regularly rebutted the Hoover charge when I appeared on television to debate Kerry supporters in 2004. Here’s what I said then, and still say now: While some presidents arrive in Washington during boom times, others come during busts, and those often are the ones elected precisely because voters hope that they will change economic policies.

    Jobless Recovery

    Bush arrived just as the last recession was beginning — a bit of timing that Obama can relate to. Though that recession was brief, the subsequent jobless recovery did little to strengthen Bush’s record as he entered his reelection year.

    Obama, of course, is just 17 months into his presidency, and more than two years from facing the voters personally. But with a big midterm congressional election upcoming, let’s see how Obama would fare if Kerry-like tactics were used on him.

    The answer: not well. Whether the measurement is job creation, unemployment or growth of gross domestic product, the economy has been worse under Obama than it was under Bush.

    First, job creation. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. shed 2.3 million jobs since February 2009, Obama’s first full month in office. Going back to World War II, that is by far the worst record for any president in his first 17 months, outpacing the job destruction experienced in the early Bush years by more than 800,000 jobs.

    Campaign Fodder

    For Obama, there is an even worse way to play the data, which might just become fodder for a political ad: From November 2008, the month he was elected, until now, the economy has shed an astonishing 4.4 million jobs. That’s worse than Hoover.

    Sure, you can blame the first few months of that period on lame-duck President Bush. But perhaps companies accelerated their shedding of jobs because they were bracing for higher tax rates, increased union power and costly environmental taxes under Obama.

    Other measurements are only slightly kinder to Obama. The two-percentage-point increase in unemployment rate during his presidency, to 9.7 percent from 7.7 percent, is the third-worst since World War II. Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford saw bigger increases.

    GDP growth under Obama, an abysmal 3 percentage points so far, is the fourth-worst in the postwar period. Eisenhower, Ford and Ronald Reagan all began their terms with worse GDP growth.

    But hey, it was Kerry and the Democrats who made job creation the be-all and end-all measurement of a presidency, and by that standard, Obama is dredging a new low. It’s probably a good bet that Democrats who became so enamored of Hoover’s name in 2004 won’t be mentioning it much this year.

    Republicans should be willing to drop it too — so long as some economic adviser to Kerry-Edwards ‘04 admits the campaign was wrong to bring up Herbert Hoover in the first place.

    George Bush should have taken a lesson in demagoguing from Democrats. While Obama has constantly blamed his failures on Bush, Bush rarely did anything of the sort. Maybe if years into his presidency, Bush had continued to constantly demonize Bill Clinton’s failures, it would have been better for his record.

    All that said, George Bush created an unprecendented 52 consecutive months of job growth. Apparently Democrats don’t want that, given their support for Obama.

    If you had facts you’d BE a Republican.

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