A 'king' & his fairy tales
Watching President Obama's inaugural, I was confused. It looked like a new king was being crowned. At a time when America faces unsustainable debt and terrible economic troubles, why such pomp?
Maybe it's because so many people tell themselves presidents can solve any problem, like fairy-tale kings.
Before America's first inauguration, John Adams suggested George Washington be called “His Most Benign Highness.” Fortunately, Congress insisted on the more modest title, “President.”
At his inaugural, President Obama himself said, “The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few.”
But then Obama went on to say that his privileged few should force the rest of us to do a zillion things.
He said, “We must do these things together.” But what “together” means to big-government folks is that they have a vision — and all of us, together, must go deeper into debt to pay for it, even if we disagree.
We can afford this, as the president apparently told John Boehner, because America does not have a spending problem.
But, of course, we do have a spending problem and a debt problem, and the president knows this.
Just a few years ago, when George W. Bush was president, then-Sen. Obama said, “I rise, today, to talk about America's debt problem. The fact that we are here to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure and our government's reckless fiscal policies,” according to the Congressional Record.
Obama was right to worry about the debt and right to call it “a hidden domestic enemy ... robbing our families and our children and seniors of the retirement and health security they've counted on. ... It took 42 presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just five years.”
It's hard to believe that Obama chose those words just seven years ago, because now his administration in four years has racked up another $6 trillion in debt.
It's also a shock that Obama believed this: “America has a debt problem. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit.”
Yet this year, he demanded that Congress raise the debt limit without conditions.
I want the old Barack Obama back. He made sense. The new guy, he scares the heck out of me. Like a king, he assumes that the realm will be better if he can spend as he pleases.
I might not mind presidents behaving like kings — if they at least made the tough decisions that the government needs to make, such as balancing the budget. But no president has tried to use an executive order to eliminate whole programs or cut spending. They almost always act only to increase their power.
Yet they pretend they make bold choices — even when refusing to make choices. Obama said, “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the elderly and investing in the next generation.”
That's Washington-speak for, “We will spend government money on young and old alike and refuse to think about when this will bankrupt America.”
But it sounds exciting when he says it. He's not just a king — he's Santa Claus, too. Except that Santa spends his own money. The president spends yours.
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of “No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Trooper fatally shoots burglary suspect inside Somerset grocery store
- Armed bandit holds up Leechburg gas station
- Baldwin-Whitehall teacher charged with assault for hitting male student in chest
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Allegheny Medical Examiner’s Office responds to Coraopolis train-pedestrian incident
- DOJ program goal: Increased trust between law enforcement, community
- Officials envision reinvigorated Allegheny County Airport
- Westmoreland used car dealers indicted in fraud
- Two jail inmates died at UPMC Mercy, medical examiner’s office says
- Struggling Pirates SS Mercer finding himself out on infield’s left side
- Starkey: Patriots’ legacy forever stained