Now, we have several of those fooled with buyer's remorse. First, it was Christopher Buckley
Hold on—there’s a typo in that paragraph. “$3.6 trillion budget” can’t be right.The entire national debt is—what—about $11 trillion? He can’t actually be proposing to spend nearly one-third of that in one year, surely. Let me check. Hmm. He did. The Wall Street Journal notes that federal outlays in fiscal 2009 will rise to almost 30 percent of the gross national product. In language that even an innumerate English major such as myself can understand: The US government is now spending annually about one-third of what the entire US economy produces. As George Will would say, “Well.”
Is Buckley, himself a fiscal conservative, really all that surprised that President Obama is on a government spending spree? Why? Every policy proposal that President Obama made included a massive expansion of government. Whether it was health care, education, energy, or anything else, one thing that was certain was that it involved a lot of new government spending.
Then, there is this column from David Brooks.
But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor — caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once.
So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new.
To Mr. Brooks, I say that none of this is new. President Obama was clear in his intention to spend massive amounts on social programs. He was clear in his intentions to pay for these by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He was even clear in his intention on implementing schemes like cap and trade. What is new in any of the policies that President Obama has proposed or even gotten passed. Why does Mr. Brooks think it new that President Obama is attempting a social engineering experiment? That has been his agenda since the early part of the decade.
Finally, there is this piece.
a top money manager who, if he had the stomach to have a financial proctology exam performed on payments he made to his various nannies or housekeepers, would have been offered a top job in the administration. Instead, his main complaint was about Obama’s plan to help distressed “homeowners” (not that they actually own their homes) avoid foreclosure, better known on Wall Street as the “mortgage cramdown.”Why is this money manager shocked that President Obama is trying to bailout borrowers. He has long made that his intention. He also supported TARP and made his intention clear that the automakers would be bailed out as well. This write down scheme, which the manager correctly pegged as corossive, was also a part of his platform since the mortgage crisis materialized.
The president, of course, uses less harsh terms to describe a plan to provide relief to homeowners who can’t make their mortgage payments and may default on their loans and lose their homes. Under his plan, judges can order banks to back off from foreclosure if a family is late on its mortgage payments. That payment can be put off indefinitely or lessened to the point so that the mortgage holder can afford not to lose his home.
Sounds good right? “This is insane,” the money manager told me. “They are abrogating contracts. No one is trading these bonds and no one will if they think a judge can simply tell a mortgage holder he doesn’t have to pay what he owes.”
To this money manager and many others I speak to, the mortgage cramdown is just one of many contradictions in the economic policies of the Obama team. Part of the reason Treasury Secretary Geithner has received such low marks so far is that he hasn’t produced a plan to save the banks that are still holding more than $1 trillion in bad mortgage and real-estate debt. It’s the reason the banks still aren’t lending money; if they sell these securities at market prices, they have to write down massive losses and become insolvent, barring a massive government bailout.
Geithner says he’s working on a plan to unclog the system—to have the banks sell the toxic assets at a price that wouldn’t result in massive losses. Yet the president’s mortgage plan assures just the opposite; if a judge can simply say that a homeowner doesn’t have to pay his entire mortgage payment, the bonds that these mortgages are packed into fall in value. “We need foreign buyers to come in and make a market in this stuff,” the manager told me. “They’re never going to come back to this market if this thing passes.” He says he made the same comments to Barney Frank, the head of the House Financial Services Committee, but he isn’t sure if Frank got the message. “I will tell you this, if the cramdown makes it into the final budget, it’s going to be worse than Lehman Brothers.”
Those that are shocked by President Obama's radical agenda paid attention far too much to his eloquence and soaring rhetoric. They paid far too little attention to any of the specific policies he proposed. That President Obama was a radical was not even something he hid. He is unabashedly pro choice all the way till even after the baby was born. He preached big government quasi socialistic policies from the beginning. On top of this, he had an endless tring of radical associations. Did all of these folks really think this all happened in a vacuum? Did they think that President Obama would go through some transformation once he was President and suddenly become a moderate? To all these folks, I say, didn't you see the radical right in front of you.