With the stock market facing a historic meltdown, Americans could at least expect the president to be on time for a speech intended to inspire confidence. But those tuning in Monday at 1 p.m. eastern expecting to hear Mr. Obama address the rolling national financial crisis instead saw a live feed of casually dressed techies joking around in front of the presidential podium. After twenty five minutes of waiting for Mr. Obama to show up, the markets resumed tanking. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid four points a minute before Mr. Obama arrived. It gained a few points back at first, but ten minutes into his remarks the Dow broke through the 11,000 point floor. In the 20 minutes after he finished speaking the Dow slid 200 points. The market closed having lost 634 points. It was a vote of no confidence.
Mr. Obama did little more than repeat what his surrogates had said on talk shows over the weekend. He claimed that there really is no problem with American credit and that the United States was still one of the world’s safest investments. Of course it used to be number one, but no matter. Instead of restraining government spending, Mr. Obama said the solution would only come through “tax reform that will ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share” and Medicare reform. He made vague reference to some ideas to help with the debt problem, saying “these aren’t big government proposals.” Without program cuts government spending will continue to accelerate.
The president refuses to admit that he is part of the problem. “There will always be economic factors that we can’t control,” he said. “Earthquakes, spikes in oil prices, slowdowns in other parts of the world,” seemingly arguing that these factors have something to do with the current crisis, which they do not. He chose not to mention his limitless appetite for spreading around borrowed money. Federal non-defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product averaged 15.6 percent from 1975 to the advent of the Obama presidency. Since then it has zoomed to an average of 19.6 percent and is headed up. Even the prospective future budget “cuts” in the debt ceiling agreement still institutionalize $7 trillion in spending beyond the government’s means over the next ten years. This is the problem, not earthquakes.
Mr. Obama said he had great faith in the country, but he has a funny way of showing it. In justifying the U.S. credit rating downgrade Standard and Poor’s Managing Director John Chambers quoted Mr. Obama saying that the U.S. political system was “dysfunctional.” Who would invest in a corporation whose chief executive describes the company’s management in such terms? Never fear, Mr. Obama said Americans have always risen to the challenge with entrepreneurship, innovation and hard work. Given Mr. Obama’s insistence on increasing the number of costly government regulation, his blame-the-rich approach to economics, and burdensome, job-killing health care plan, no president has done more damage to this spirit of enterprise. Mr. Obama said that “this is the United States of America… We always have been and always will be a Triple-A country.” If only we had a Triple-A leader.