President Obama’s deficit spending is driving us deeper into debt than did that of any president before him. He’s actually driving us deeper into debt than did every previous president combined, and the deficits he’s creating are greater than any we saw throughout all eight years of George W. Bush’s administration. Yet as new and dangerous as Obama’s spending is on the federal level, it is not completely without precedent. In fact, we only have to cast our eyes West, to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Cul-eee-forn-ya” to see just where such spending is certain to take us. The parallels between Schwarzenegger and Obama are legion.
When running to succeed Bush as President, Obama took every opportunity to criticize “reckless spending” and on October 6, 2008 said: “We need to restore confidence in our economy and in our government.” A month later he won the election and U.S. debt has increased steadily ever since.
When Schwarzenegger was running to replace then Governor Gray Davis (D), he pledged to return the government to the people and bring spending back into check. Shortly after winning he even spoke at the Republican Convention where he said: “I’m proud to belong to the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Ronald Reagan and the party of George W. Bush.” Yet he has not only abandoned his pledges and relinquished his seemingly proud claim to Republicanism, but has far and away outdone his predecessor in reckless spending and energy boondoggles.
The scariest part of all this is that Obama, a man who takes pride in being a leader, is quickly following Schwarzenegger down paths best left un-walked.
After going on what’s been nothing less than a multi-trillion dollar spending spree at taxpayer expense, Obama appeared in Rio Rancho, New Mexico during the second week of May to announce that both the spending and the deficits it created were “unsustainable.” Senators like Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, along with radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin had been saying this for months but Obama never listened to them.
And he’s still not listening. Instead of admitting that he spent his first 100 days driving this country into the ground, Obama gave a weekend interview to C-SPAN host Steve Scully in which he said the current financial crisis is ultimately a private sector problem that results from healthcare: “We are operating on deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we’ve made on health care so far [but as] a consequence of the crisis that we’ve seen and [failed to address in healthcare] over the last several decades.”
In other words, after spending billions to salvage banks, automakers, and mortgage institutions, making these entities quasi-nationalized in the process, Obama points the finger toward one sector that’s somehow been able to remain private in order to keep the heat off himself.
Schwarzenegger has tried to blame the California private sector for his ills as well. As recently as May 19, 2009, the state voted on six new ballot initiatives, four of which were tax hikes that their once proud Republican Governor was seeking to use to keep his state afloat. That’s right, after spending the state into the ground, in the much the same way that we’re now watching Obama spend the U.S. into the ground, Schwarzenegger had the nerve to ask the people to bail him out (via tax increases). But the “Cul-eee-forn-yans” would have none of it: they voted down all tax increases.
Keep in mind that when Schwarzenegger took over the governorship he was taking over a state that had, for years, been enduring an unbearable tax burden and rolling black outs due to Davis’ spending and “do nothing” energy policy. And what has Schwarzenegger done to remedy these things? He’s continued to spend with reckless abandon and to promote a “green” energy policy that has forced California to import “more energy than any other state in the country.”
On July 1, 2008, George Plescia, one of the state’s Republican Assemblymen, made the following observation: “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislators [recently] agreed to raise…$7 billion by selling bonds. Senate Republicans blocked the bond bill, pointing out that last year the Legislature authorized $7.4 billion in bonds to add 53,000 new beds for prisoners — healthy and sick. That money still hasn’t been spent.” In other words, for Schwarzenegger the rule is “spend, spend, spend” whether you need it or not.
But the jig was up on Schwarzenegger on February 22, 2009, when, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, he said he would not only accept federal stimulus checks directed toward California but would also take the checks of any “other governor in this country that doesn’t want to take [stimulus] money.” Schwarzenegger’s desperate words made it evident that he had driven California to the possible point of no return aside from handouts from the federal government.
So what does Obama say about all this? Sadly, he still apparently thinks California is a model the rest of the U.S. should follow. In a stump speech in Youngstown, Ohio, during August 2008, he “[called] for a 15% reduction in electrical demand…and held California up as a model for the rest of the nation to follow.” And on May 19, 2009, as he proposed new CAFE standards for automotive emissions that are to go into effect in 2016 instead of 2020, he also made sure Schwarzenegger was in D.C. with him for the announcement.
But the jig is up on Obama as well. In the C-SPAN interview with Scully he said of the U.S. – “We are out of money.” Think about it: Obama has already spent his people into a deficit oblivion and like Schwarzenegger, the only remedy he’s found for it is more spending, talks of higher taxes, and expanded government regulation (particularly in healthcare).
Obama’s plan to make us all “Cul-eee-forn-yans” is one that may damn us to decades of deficits and mediocrity. And worse. Far worse.