Monday, August 03, 2009

McCain: Deficits “ . . . biggest problem we’ve ever faced.”

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 8/2/09

John McCain is stepping up. In an interview last week he told Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal that he felt the deficits were “ . . . the biggest problem we’ve ever faced.”

We need more McCain. McCain is possibly the most trusted, admired and respected of Americans for his long service and his long suffering as a POW during the war in Vietnam. Today he is our Gray Champion. We need his leadership. Perhaps now more than ever.

We may be on a nine-month reality time lag here. What investment master chiefs Jim Rogers and Marc Faber were saying about the danger to the dollar ten months ago mainstream pundits are saying today. And what South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and Texas Governor Rick Perry were saying about the bailouts last November, McCain is saying today.

"I think you could say that it is a short-term improvement in the economy. And I'll be glad to give him [Obama] credit for that,” McCain told CNN's John King in an interview taped Friday for State of the Union. “But the question that I think we should be asking are the long term consequences of this unprecedented debts and deficits — are they beneficial to the country? And I think the answer is no."

Long term, Faber has said, the printing of money will bring inflation of 20% and possibly 100% in a sea of paper.

“Never have I seen such a transfer from the private enterprise system to the government of such massive scale,” he told Moore. He went through the list: car companies, banks, insurance firms owned by government, and he especially grimaced when he mentioned the $787 billion stimulus package.

In recent weeks, Rogers, speaking plainly, simply called it American communism. Let’s see who speaks up nine months hence.

The only time where we amassed greater debt was during World War II, and that was temporary spending, he said. “We won the world war and then cut back. But now . . . the spending is permanent.”

And this is not to win the war against German fascism. This is a stimulus to trade in the 1973 Dodge Dart slant six that’s been rusting on the back 40 for a down payment on a new Lexus or one of those sweet Audi R8s. (The Toyota web site reports: With the U.S. government’s trade-in program, a.k.a "Cash for Clunkers," your old vehicle may be worth up to $4,500, plus factory incentives**, towards the purchase or lease of a new Toyota, Lexus or Scion.) Good for Germany. Good for Japan. Bad for us. Non-partisan estimates today are approximately an $80,000 tax burden for every man woman and child and for those yet waiting to be born to bail out Germany and Japan. Second time for Germany, counting the Marshall Plan.

The Hill reports that McCain will lead opposition to “cash for clunkers.”
The mainstream press was still enamored of the new boy king when Perry and Sanford wrote in The Wall Street Journal on December 2, 2008, that as governors and citizens, they've grown increasingly concerned over the past weeks as Washington had thrown bailout after bailout at the national economy with little to show for it.
“In the process, the federal government is not only burying future generations under mountains of debt,” they wrote. “It is also taking our country in a very dangerous direction -- toward a "bailout mentality" where we look to government rather than ourselves for solutions.”

They asked other governors from both sides of the political aisle to join with them in opposing further federal bailout intervention. Very few stepped forward. Only Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Sarah Palin of Alaska. Both faced the scorn of the winged monkeys.

McCain makes the point in the Moore interview that not much has improved because of the stimulus. “And now, the answer is, according to the Obama economists, we didn’t spend enough.”

McCain told Moore that he was perplexed that his pals in the media turned on him in 2008 after years of worshipful press treatment.

McCain was, in a way, a victim of network marketing circumstances. When Barack Obama appeared on the scene virtually out of nowhere in the middle of that very, very long campaign it did two things for the media. It gave them the opportunity to neutralize the long and tedious soap opera that is the Clintons. And then it gave them an opportunity to market a fully new venue that could conceivably carry for a generation – the first black President - with fully over-the-top historical tie ins to Kennedy, Roosevelt and Lincoln (and even Jesus). All network hands were got on board from Late Night pundits and comediennes, to mainstream broadcasters and the major newspapers joined the new zeitgeist juggernaut as well. By July, Senator Obama was up 15 points on McCain. They were already into long-term planning and investment. Then when McCain picked Governor Palin for VP they were suddenly dead even again.

The scorn Palin and family have been receiving this past year is primarily related to that. Obama was to be the new star. There were no plans for anyone else. There was no room for such a dynamic and attractive individual running in such a pure counterpoint to everything Obama stood for. It would be the New Man again as it is periodically in our history, and there was no longer room for a venerable old soldier like John McCain.

But now it is coming down fast and this could be dangerous because there is a long way to go and it could be a long way down. The networks and complicit papers like The New York Times and the Washington Post basically marketed Obama as a tour manager would a rock star. Obama likewise, staging his acceptance speech at Mile High stadium to a rock star crowd or possibly closer in his mind, modeling on a Cecil B. DeMille production of Jesus or Moses hovering, arms raised, over the minions.

It is interesting that The Beatles actually started this but soon after John Lennon refused to perform before vast crowds in huge stadiums like this because it created a horde mentality - they came to see you as “gods” - and he was afraid someone might get hurt or die which they do. But even the Pope today has no such scruples. Or Obama. As Mick Jagger once said, his job was basically to come up with one hit song ever six weeks or so to create and sustain a static market. Obama likewise needs a new hit every six weeks or so.

That was probably the first mistake and it reveals a condition deep, widespread and dangerous in the American electorate that may yet bury us. You want a rock star for piped in background music at the super market or the Bada Bing! You don’t want a rock star for President. You want an adult.