Thursday, April 28, 2011

Remember Jimmy Carter's "Stagflation?" It's ba-a-a-a-ck

Jobless claims are trending up again while economic growth is slowing and inflation growing. We're looking at a nearly perfect storm of economic woes, where one key indicator, the inflation rate, is obscured only because the costs of housing as defined by the government are falling. That a basket of commodity prices have risen 35% in the past year is not a reflection of supply or demand nearly so much as an indication of the fallen value of an American dollar under Mr. Obama's watch. And while America twists slowly on a rotisserie above the coals of economic strain, the leader of its government is playing celebrity guest on a political reality show where there is no story line except his.

Like George Hamilton III, Paris Hilton or a couple of dozen others, our President is becoming best-known for being a vacuous celebrity, or as Joe Biden once described him, "good looking, clean and well-spoken", playing his role in a show where every scene is about him, only him.

This morning Mr. Obama took to the airwaves to express his bemusement at the interest that has built up about the location of his birth, a thread he has milked assiduously for attention for nearly three years.

At the same time he asks, not apparently rhetorically, why so little attention has been paid the last two weeks to his "budget", a budget that is supposed to save the country from economic Armageddon. That Mr. Obama confuses a "speech" with a "budget" reflects his disdain for his office or for the people he governs, or both. It also demonstrates a mental tick common in the extraordinarily arrogant, an ability to mistake his words for reality.

A "budget" is a written document specifying in some detail future outlays and receipts. In our federal system it describes taxes and expenditures in a manner that can be analyzed, compared and contrasted with alternatives, and reported upon. A real budget can be "scored" by the CBO and voted on by the House and the Senate.

A speech is not a budget, Mr. Obama. A speech, even yours, is just a speech.

And, at this point, a birth certificate is really not all that interesting.

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