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Ear to the Ground

Deficit Could Be Obama’s Achilles’ Heel

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Posted on Jun 18, 2009
White House / Pete Souza

President Obama once said the deficit “keeps me awake at night.” He’s not alone. Three recent polls show that while Obama’s approval ratings remain high, most Americans are preoccupied with the deficit and many question about whether the president is willing and able to rein in spending.

With mounting pressure at home and abroad to cut the budget, Obama’s ambitious health care plans could be headed for the rocks. Too bad we already blew a few trillion on wars and banks. We could have used that money for something useful, as it turns out.

AP via Google:

The nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported Thursday that a majority of Americans — 55 percent — are optimistic that Obama will eventually reduce the budget deficit. But that’s a smaller slice than the 61 percent of people who approve of him generally.

And according to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, 60 percent of Americans don’t believe the president has a strategy for dealing with the deficit.

Also, 58 percent in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll want Obama to make controlling the deficit a higher priority than a speedy economic recovery. And, nearly half expressed a “great deal” of concern about the increase of government intervention in American life that Obama has overseen, from taking over companies to influencing corporate bonuses and seeking to add government-sponsored insurance to the health care system.

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By P. T., June 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Reining in spending in an economic downturn is disastrous, Herbert Hoover economics.

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By ardee, June 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

boggs, June 19 at 11:26 am #

Ardee,And the Republicans nurse-maid the white supremist groups by telling them that they can buy and sell guns and own guns, any kind of guns practically are allowed. AK47’s, they’re in! Everyone buy one.

Yes, the GOP nursemaids these radical groups but not with guns but with false facts about communist takeover of our govt., Obama’s ties to Islam, forced participation in govt run health care and the entire litany of stupidity they love to repeat ad nauseum.

One cannot purchase an automatic weapon in this country without a costly and rare permit, a very costly one indeed. It is tn the guns, its the ideologies.

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By tropicgirl, June 19, 2009 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

Obamabush so readily helped force Congress and the House to shove the bank shaft bailout down out throats. What a dummass. We ALL knew better. It was an assist to a bank heist, no better.

That killed his own future and ours, and he will forever be known as the man who stole our financial future. A man that stupid has no right to be president. Bush wouldn’t have been that stupid, although he rates a place in hell.

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By boggs, June 19, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Ardee,And the Republicans nurse-maid the white supremist groups by telling them that they can buy and sell guns and own guns, any kind of guns practically are allowed. AK47’s, they’re in! Everyone buy one.
As for the economy, Obama didn’t have much choice at first, but now it is running pastime to start ending wars, and begin to de-emperialize by closing bases all around the world. Those countries need our bases as much as we would need them to have bases over here.
I think there is one thing the people won’t like and that is if he signs off on a bogus healthcare plan.
If we’re going to spend trillions, then the american people want it to come their way!

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By jackpine savage, June 19, 2009 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

Yeah, i’m no fan of deficit spending by either party. But what galls me is that we never hear the reason for our finances being so out of whack…outside of a few people like Chalmers Johnson and Joseph Stiglitz.

We can’t spend close to $1T/year on the military perpetually and stay in the black.

But that spending is never on the block. There is a difference between having a robust military capable of defending the United States and a giant, imperial expeditionary force. We’ve got the latter and pretend that it doesn’t cost anything.

Military spending was a huge factor in the implosion of the USSR, and it will be a huge factor in our implosion too.

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By JT Lancer, June 19, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s see… A $11 TRILLION federal debt, and an estimated $90 TRILLION in future debt obligations to entitlement programs.  That amounts to something in excess of $1.2 million per American family. 

Where will this money come from?  Why, the govt will simply print more dollars to pay the debt, and this will continue to devalue the dollars in existence.

Inflation is the most egregious form of taxation, because most don’t realize it is happening.

Dems and Repubs alike have dug the American people a hole that we will never get out of.

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By mmadden, June 19, 2009 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

It is too bad that the citizens weren’t more concerned about their own deficits. Maybe we wouldn’t be in this financial mess if they were.

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By Shift, June 18, 2009 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Obama arranged fourteen trillion and counting for the banks, paid for by taxpayers, and now it’s budget busting to provide one trillion for health care.  Washington dances to the tune of wealth, not need.  I can find no words strong enough to express the disdain that I have for Obama and the Democrats.  It’s all bad.

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By coloradokarl, June 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

our economy is so powerful it is almost unstopable. By keeping wages low they keep us beholdin to the company store. start producing something, anything and achieve some freedom in your life. I have, it is not making me rich but what is the price of some hope and freedom? I did not quit my day job so this is like paying myself a bonus. these people in charge do not want us to succeed. greedy bastards to roast in their own 24kt.hell

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By idarad, June 18, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

It is the conditions surrounding us the provide the opportunity to succeed or fail.  Unfortunately for Obama - both congress and his inner circle seem to have accepted the limited confines of debate and understanding of the economic realities to those defined before he occupied his current status.  Congress will be of no help to Obama or to the country, as they have, by their own ineptitude, absolved themselves of any legitimate course of action let alone debate.  They are in essence a children’s sandbox where the extent of debate never goes beyond the number of grains of sand in the box.
His inner circle is of his own choosing, and it is here that he became master of his own lost opportunity.  He bought into the Paulson line of thinking-for lack of a better term - that by flooding the banks with money, the banks in turn would open the gates and begin again to provide credit.  Greed was never considered a variable in the equation and now it is the achilles’ heel. I empathize with Obama, but damn it, he either forgot that change meant more than tweaking the process,or he stright out lied. Change means fundamental reassessment of the issues. It requires altering ones perspective, shifting the paradigm, refocus and balance - in essence clearing the crap so you can see alternatives and recognize opportunities.
I often think of the multiple opportunities presented by the shamble of what remains New Orleans.  Re-assessing that city and developing it again as the city it was while looking at ways to make it happen within the context of practical wetland management and environmental parameters.
We could be so much better than we are, but we have, I am afraid to admit, fallen into a nation of bickering finger-pointing knuckle-draggers.

As I said I empathize with Obama, but I fear for this experiment that was established through our now shredded constitution.  There is hope, but the crack in the door that lets the light shine is getting ever so dim.

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By AFriend, June 18, 2009 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

1. American’s have always been concerned with deficits. That’s not news. Americans tend to sensibly tense when deficits go up and relax when they shrink.

2. Simplistic but true it’s actually the Congress that spends the money, however, the president is always credited or blamed for the economy and any deficit.


Due to flooding the market with massive amounts of printed money the United States will soon head into a tough period of rising inflation and interest rates. In the middle of that Americans will see an “OBama” economy and deficit. As the shock of the past 8 months subsides the public will look toward an unprecedented deficit in spending. A deficit, according to clear trends in polling data, the majority of people disagreed with as it was happening.

As the deficit grows and interest rates rise, when the cost of everything from soap to eggs begins to go up, when people feel even more squeezed it will be tough for the White House to deflect. Not after the president himself submitted a spending budget larger than all past presidents combined.

None of this speaks of how this Congress has spent other peoples hard earned money. I personally have never seen so many people take advantage of a bad situation.

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By ardee, June 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

“If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.” GBShaw

The most charitable thing I might conjecture is that Obama was stampeded into giving away our future to the very folks who deserve it least, the criminals who were already stealing it.

I wonder if a solution is even possible given the polarization in Congress and the willingness of the public to believe endless loads of crap disguised as fact. We are a nation so divided as to be unable to find any common ground. Worse, as we stampede we become ever more malleable to manipulative groups with hidden agendas.

It is noteworthy to add that , since the Obama inauguration, 9 people have been murdered by those connected to white supremacist groups, heard that on NPR yesterday. Imagine if things get even worse.

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