President Barack Obama Confronts The Global Economic Crisis
We must remember that not even Barack Obama walks on water, though a miracle worker is perhaps the only human being that can terminate the Global Economic Crisis with rapidity and no further pain. The approach adopted by Obama so far in confronting the economic crisis, though manifesting a clear realization of its seriousness, is also impeded by a conventionality that may be his biggest obstacle.
As with the other boilerplate responses from political leaders across the globe, the Obama administration is proposing a massive stimulus package, dubbed the “American Economic Recovery Plan,” financed with borrowed money. This follows a previous injection of borrowed money, $700 billion for TARP, supposedly essential for rescuing the banks. It is now clear that the $700 billion TARP spending frenzy was a fiasco. As has since been admitted by top Treasury Department officials, Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary, pulled the $700 billion out of thin air, because he wanted a “big number” to impress the markets. Such a cavalier attitude towards stampeding Congress into borrowing a staggering amount of money, equivalent to roughly $2,500 from every American man, woman and child, without any strings attached on the part of the banks receiving the money, explains its total failure to resuscitate the clogged arteries of the U.S. credit system. This example is not an encouraging harbinger for another dose of heavy deficit spending in a hurry by Washington.
The Obama Plan envisions $825 billion in borrowed money for a variety of projects and tax cuts. Though Obama promises a much higher level of accountability with his stimulus package than with TARP, that is not even the most crucial issue. It is the whole premise of Obama’s economic plan. What are the parameters and assumptions that led to a figure of $825 billion? On top of the already ballooning federal budget deficit, can the U.S. government raise another $825 billion from largely foreign credit markets (e.g. China), and at what interest rates? What if the Obama Plan has no significant impact on rapidly eroding macroeconomic indicators, while the exploding national debt and structural deficits remove any other fiscal options from consideration?
The proper context for President Barack Obama to view the Global Economic Crisis is not just as a catastrophe for the U.S. and world economy, but also as the gravest danger to American national security. If the Obama administration had a broad enough intellectual horizon to comprehend that the erosion in American geopolitical power that would inevitably result from the implosion of its economy is a far greater threat than what emanates from a non-state actor with a few thousand adherents, namely Al-Qaeda, it would review the irrationally excessive U.S. military budget.
The question Barack Obama should be reflecting on is if the U.S. should continue to spend a trillion dollars a year on its military establishment, and hope that the global credit markets will finance unfunded government liabilities in other categories in perpetuity. Ultimately, the global economic and financial tsunami cannot be combated by bloated military budgets. It is critical that there is a radical restructuring of U.S. budgetary priorities, or else Imperial overreach will finish what is left of U.S. economic power, after the meltdowns on Wall Street and Main Street have added their unique contributions to the deconstruction of the U.S. economy