PJ Media

Great Job on Bin Laden, Mr. President. Now, About Gas Prices, the Debt Ceiling, and Unemployment...

Like most Americans, I was euphoric when our president called his late press conference to announce the death of Osama bin Laden. I was online, as were many Americans, expressing pride, relief, and that collective exhale that comes with justice served. I tip my cap to the president for maintaining the secrecy, which is so fleeting in Washington, and making what many rightly called a gutsy move of sending in a strike force to get proof of bin Laden’s death. That would have been difficult if a bomb had been dropped on that house. Aside from the choice to keep that evidence, which our men and women risked their lives to get, secret from the American people, it was a flawless operation. The aftermath, though, was anything but flawless.

You see, I had this crazy idea that after his announcement the president would get back to the business of running the country. Given evidence of his work ethic in the past, with the parties with top-notch celebrities at the White House, date nights to New York, an unusual amount of vacations, and his time hitting the links, I’m not sure why I expected that. But the president stayed true to his previous actions when he took what many, even some 9/11 families, considered to be a victory lap after killing OBL. I’m not sure if the president made this choice or he was pressured by those who are tasked with getting the president re-elected. But the buck does stop with him, yes? I’m sure the sycophants who surround the president and maybe the big man himself had visions of the campaign ads that would just seem to write themselves. All that was left to do was to hit the road and get those photo-ops. One problem: As the euphoria of getting bin Laden wanes, America is coming back down to earth realizing we have skyrocketing gas prices, out-of-control government spending,  and a rising unemployment rate. If only our president were as grounded.

It was like the Keystone Cops. In their haste to score political points, the support staff around the president rolled out “facts” of the bin Laden raid to the eager public. And within hours, that same staff would walk back, downplay, or full-on contradict previous statements. There was a firefight, then there was just one gun. He was given a chance to surrender, then he wasn’t. The wife was used as a human shield, then it was an unnamed woman, then she wasn’t killed but only shot in the leg — oh, and she was indeed bin Laden’s wife. Who can keep it all straight now? The White House surely couldn’t. An exasperated Jay Carney even threw his hands up at one point saying even he was confused. Now at first blush this seems to be more evidence of something that has become common knowledge here on Capitol Hill among both parties. It’s “amateur hour” at the White House. But the cynic in me suspects something more. All the misinformation given by the White House kept the fever of this story going … and going. The story, from so-called news outlets that carry Obama’s water, was how “new” details had emerged from the raid. Fair news sources rightly called the White House out on getting so much wrong. But this statement-retraction-redefine-refine narrative allowed the White House to do something that would help in Mr. Obama’s re-election hopes. It allowed a sympathetic press to all but ignore the dire economic fallout from this administration’s policies.

The average price of gasoline is now $4 a gallon across America. When this happened to Bush, story after story was published or broadcast about how the former president’s greedy oil buddies were profiting off our misery. Conspicuously absent from news coverage today is the constant drumbeat of how Americans are suffering under the boot of high gasoline prices. The media would rather focus on the president’s trip to Ground Zero. Some news outlets are stepping up though. A recent CNNMoney survey finds that 9% of Americans’ budgets go to pay for gasoline. The report outlined that Americans could buy round-trip airfare from New York to Los Angeles or more than a dozen dinners for two at Applebee’s or two 16 GB iPod nanos if they had not spent $368.09 a month on gasoline. It’s a tax on every American family that drives, yet we have a president who stubbornly refuses to allow American companies to go after the energy resources we need here at home. For the last 30 years, liberals have said, “If we start drilling now, it will take 10 years to make a difference in oil prices.” Indeed, if we had told liberals to shut up thirty years ago, the pain at the pump could have been avoided today. But our president is a big government guy. The smartest president, or so we’re told by the left, America has ever had doesn’t realize that we need the titans of industry to get us alternative energy sources faster. His latest big idea, floated in an internal memo, is to tax every American by the miles they drive. Isn’t that novel? Just where do Democrats get that “tax and spend” label from?

Conservatives agree that corporate welfare to oil companies, to all companies, must stop. It’s wrong to give taxpayer money to oil companies that make billions. It’s just as wrong to give taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, which posts a billion dollars in annual revenue. What America should be doing is allowing these energy companies to extract America’s oil to bring down prices. That would rein in those “evil” speculators. These energy companies in turn will make profit. That’s a good thing. Understand that private companies are vastly more efficient; they have the ability to get products to market faster and less expensively than any government program would. Government could offer the energy companies a way to make more money if those companies invest their profits into development of alternative energy sources like non-food derived biofuels and solar, wind, and nuclear technologies. The government would reward those companies with tax breaks for finished products or, in other words, rewards for results and only results. But this notion escapes Mr. Obama, as he is in the practice of rewarding failure. We learned recently that Fannie Mae, a government-sponsored enterprise, will once again ask for over $8 billion in a taxpayer-funded bailout. But hey, keep the cameras on the president, who is still talking and touring about his operation to get bin Laden. Is it any wonder that we’re about to reach the debt ceiling … again?

The federal government has hit and raised our nation’s debt ceiling 75 times. Isn’t a ceiling supposed to be a limit? If we can just raise it at will, is it really a ceiling? Last week, the Obama administration said that raising the debt ceiling by $2 trillion ought to work. Are you kidding me? We’re already $14.3 trillion in the hole. And as evidenced by the previous 75 debt ceiling increases, our government, regardless of party, has a structural inability to spend only the money that it brings in in taxes. Mr. Obama’s idea, along with many Democrats, is to raise taxes. Where have I heard that before? This is the biggest slap in the face to Americans. The 536 people on Capitol Hill spend our children and grandchildren into perpetual debt slavery and those lawmakers have the temerity to ask taxpayers for more money? I have an alternative. Why don’t the members of our government demonstrate that they are capable of managing the substantial chunk of tax money they are already given? Then we can talk about giving them more. They still do work for us, right? I just want Americans to remember the dynamic here. We The People provide Congress and the president money to run our government. I think it’s fair to point out that they’ve done a lousy job at managing that money. I have 14.3 trillion reasons I can point to to back up my claim. So We The People should demand a balanced budget amendment in exchange for raising that debt ceiling. This president and his liberal Democrats are fond of talking about shared sacrifice. But from my vantage point, it is the people who are being asked to do with less. When is it government’s turn to sacrifice, Mr. President? When will government have to get back to basics and not fund every social experiment, cornhusker kickback, and political payoff that comes down the pike? But why talk about this when the president is going to meet privately with the brave Navy Seals who bagged bin Laden? Perhaps if members in our government, our president in particular, felt the pain of unemployment or at least the threat of unemployment, their penchant for government largesse would give way to good governance.

We’re back up to 9% unemployment. For those keeping score, that’s the wrong direction. Despite adding nearly 250,000 jobs, that rate went up from 8.8%. Why? Because those who had given up looking, who were not being counted, decided to give the labor market another go. This tells us that the number put out by the government isn’t the best gauge of employment. How could it be if those who give up looking are not even counted among the unemployed? Well, they are counted in the government U-6 numbers. But presidents rarely cite that stat. The point here is that 14 million people are still out of work in the United States. Our deficit spending did little to rectify our staggering unemployment problem. In fact, the president’s stimulus had the opposite effect. Anyone in business knows that they can live beyond their means, but only for a short period of time. Business people also know that even though those in government pretend it isn’t so, our government is contained by that same principle. So when Presidents Bush and Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid went about adding over $10 trillion to the debt, business owners knew who was going to be tapped to pay for their reckless behavior. Under Bush, they at least felt confident that growth was going to be the main driver to pay down the debt. But under unfettered liberal rule, that wasn’t going to be the case. Once it was clear that the Republicans had no wish to win the presidency in 2008 with the nomination of John McCain, business owners got nervous. Unlike the press, they had done their homework on Barack Obama. Business owners knew they’d be a target in an Obama administration. So they began cutting, laying off, and getting leaner, casting millions into the indignity of unemployment. And as predicted, President Obama and his Democrats set out to allow the Bush tax rates to expire. They had to admit, though, through a backdoor admission, that they only desired some of the Bush tax rates to go away. Those making under $250,000 a year wouldn’t see an increase. This must have made Mr. Obama choke when he had to admit that Bush didn’t just cut the tax rates for the rich and that everyone who paid taxes got a break. But lack of revenue didn’t bother Mr. Obama. He trudged ahead with a massive two-year spending spree totaling nearly as much as Bush had over-spent in eight years. That debt will need to be paid. As laid out in this article, President Obama knows only one way to get money to the government: Tax! That’s why we’re in a jobless recovery. Business owners know that sooner or later he’s coming for their money. And he’s unashamed to use the power of the federal government to take it. Because Mr. Obama has never run a business, and chooses to surround himself with like-minded people, he can’t understand why there is such a disincentive to hire in the America he is creating. That is why Obama’s presidency is unsustainable. But let’s make sure we get the inside scoop as to what the national security team was thinking in that photo of the situation room the night we killed bin Laden.

We can’t afford four more years of Obama. It’s just that simple. We had serious challenges after the 2008 elections. They were met with more of the same. More spending, more broken promises, and more obfuscation. The Obama administration is too adept at keeping a complicit press occupied with silly controversies like Michelle Obama’s desire to have government regulate what our children eat, the president’s birth certificate, another election-timed outreach to Hispanics, and keeping the killing of Osama bin Laden in the headlines as long as possible. In the meantime, our country is poised to fall off a cliff. Adversaries at home and abroad are all too willing to give it that last push. And our commander-in-chief seems unwilling to address these problems. The killing of bin Laden was well done. The president deserves a lot of credit. But the high from the bagging of the butcher isn’t enough to dull the pain of an America that is poised to pass on a lower standard of living to future Americans. We need serious governance, not photo-ops. We need solutions of substance, not a week-long victory lap to fill up coming election ads. We need hope that our government will not sell us down a river of debt. In short, we need a change from Obama.