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Barack Obama is making sense

Friday, March 13, 2009

It just so happened that I caught part of Barack Obama's comments on TV yesterday after the Business Roundtable in Washington and then, when they showed up again on the evening news, his words were transcribed.

On the subject of the "illusion of prosperity", these thoughts were offered:

We can not go back to endless cycles of bubble and bust. We can't continue to base our economy on reckless speculation and spending beyond our means.

I did not come here to pass our problems on to the next president or to the next generation.

I'm here to solve them.
These are the most sensible words I've heard from any politician about the U.S. economy in quite a long time - he almost sounds like Ron Paul.

Bloomberg has more here.


Anonymous said...

Yes, he is Mr. Temerity, all right!

Don't you understand that he is building a "planned economy"?!

I, for one, would rather have booms, busts, and "illusion of prosperity"!

Tim said...

Obviously, my focus was on the goal rather than the means by which it might be achieved.
It's sad to think that, with a better monetary system, we could avoid both the painful booms and busts along with the heavy-handed era of government we are now embarking upon

Anonymous said...

He talks a good talk and is still campaigning but his actions give the truth.

This huge spending bill is saddling future generations with tons of debt the US has to pay. His foreclosure plan conviently runs with low rates for 5 years, so if he isn't re-elected it won't be his problem.

So he is doing exactly what he says he isn't doing. = Politician

Pool Shark said...

Too bad his words are at complete odds with his actions.

The era of big government is over...

Let the era of enormous government begin...

News said...

Obama has a tough task ahead of him. He needs to manage the unwind of Greenspan(Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush) bubble.

It will take most of his first term or longer.

Gregg said...

Another statement at odds with his actions. Maybe he thinks we will be so saddled with debt that thoughts about asset bubbles will become pure fantasy.

Nick said...

Saying the right things has never been Obama's problem: he's an eloquent speaker, and has no problem saying the "right" things about how to fix the country's problems, which makes it all the most distasteful when he does the exact opposite.

He's said he's for smaller government, yet he's creating the largest government in the history of the country. He's said he's for reducing the deficit, yet his long-term economic plan raises the deficit more than any president in history. He's said he's for fixing long-term entitlement programs, yet he's not only not fixing anything, he's creating even more long-term entitlement programs. He's said he's for fixing the economy, but his budget increases taxes on businesses and makes it harder for the economy to recover. Etc, etc, etc.

At this point, you can almost count on him doing the exact opposite of what he says; the distortions, misrepresentations, and outright lies have gotten that pervasive and routine.

Anonymous said...

Even I always get moved by Obama's speeches. They are very truthful and passionate. When it comes to actions, he and his administration is no different from Bush-II. Give out money to banks and creditors, and pass on that burden to taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I am never moved by his speeches.

We live in the "age of appropriation"; when you here a DJ sampling some beautiful music, is it as "artful" as the work of the original artist-genius? Of course not.

That Obama has a staff that samples the work of moral GIANTS and then packages it in book or teleprompter form, FOOLS only the GULLIBLE.

He is a cypher -- we know not his heart nor his character.

albrt said...

I am very disappointed in Obama's actions on the banking issues so far, but on the whole I think he is doing a good job and has kept as close as he could to what he campaigned on.

"Maybe he thinks we will be so saddled with debt that thoughts about asset bubbles will become pure fantasy."

This is pretty close to the mark, and I think reflects the appropriate level of realism. More likely though, he thinks it is too late to save the dollar from massive devaluation, so we might as well borrow what we can before the foreigners stop lending and then pay it back with Bernanke Bucks.

Anonymous said...

Wow, one would think one has had enough politicians lie and distort that one would would be smart enough, not to take a politican's word (and wait for actions).

But I guess some will never learn (those who do not learn history, are doomed to repeat its mistakes, or something like that).

Obama in par. is an accomplished liar and propagandist. Words are nothing - deeds count. Repeat.

Dan said...

I think the means to the goal are very important. Marx had a dream of an egalitarian utopia and lived a life railing against big government and jack-booted thugs, and then wrote a prescription for even bigger gov't and even heavier handed jack-booted thuggery. Saying that you like ice cream is one thing, killing kittens to get your ice cream is another.

Mathlete said...

In order to have a bust, you need a boom. Get rid of the boom, and you'll have no busts. The problem is that without the booms, there is no progress.

Outside of the Austrian school, which blames fiat money for economy wide booms (industry specific booms are still possible), there's no argument I've heard that doesn't involve killing the patient (capitalism).

Chuck Ponzi said...


Well said. Very well said.

Maybe we don't want to really even out the cycle. The grass isn't always greener on the other side; or have we forgotten that already?


Adam said...

Stimulus Money does not mean more money in the Government. It means the money gets to the government sooner and therefore to tangible things sooner.

What this means is that instead of waiting for the road to get fixed until the economy gets better. Or the park, or the telescope, or alternative energy, or health care records to be digitized.

I remember when the Minnesota bridge collapsed. American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE have said for years our infrastructure is crumbling. They rated it. Here is the site if you want to see.

WHY wait when we obviously have idle hands (9% unemployment and growing).

More people working, making income will pay for this. Not higher taxes.

BTW most of our tax money goes to the Military Industrial Complex. Obama does want to curtail some of that.

Support said...

Come on, his solution is to turn us into USSR. They didn't have a business cycle either. The business cycle is 1000's of years old. He cannot solve that, these are just words to justify a socialist agenda.

Adam said...

What is with the hyperbole from the Republicans? USSR? Socialist Agenda?

BTW USSR obviously had a bubble too, else they would not have crashed.

Anonymous said...

It remains to be seen what he really means by those words.

John S said...

...he almost sounds like Ron Paul

Ron Paul is a Marxist/Leninist?

Tim said...

OK everybody, focus...not on the stimulus plan or the budget deficit, but on these words:

No more "bubble and bust" or "spending beyond our means" or "passing our problems on to the next generation".

These are admirable goals. Whether or not his plans have any chance of accomplishing these goals is an entirely different matter which, it was not my intention to start a debate on. Just to hear a U.S. president speak these words was such a shock to the system that I just had to share.

George P. said...

Tim, I knew what you meant all along. Don't sweat it.

Bruno T said...

As the president himself once said,

"just words, just speeches!"

Come on, don't be so naive. He says this because it sounds good. And what does he do? Right afterwards he trumpets TRILLIONS in borrowing and spending as a way out of the mess. Borrowing and spending to fix an economy that borrowed and spent too much, eh?

Did you really think he'd say the following?

"We have to get busy and find a new bubble to blow up. We need to invest in speculation and go out and spend more.

If I can just put the total collapse off 8 years you and I will be fine, it's your kids who are F#@%$%ed!"

You lost a lot of credibility with that post, Tim. We count on you to be appropriately cynical. Good grief.

Anonymous said...

Damn, when you blow one man up and admit it and don't try to pin it on your readers misunderstanding you. You were smitten like a kitten. Own it.

Any clown politician can say pretty words and lie.

Tim said...

I'm inclined to postpone my cynicism toward the Obama administration until he's past the eight week mark.

Anonymous said...

The DEBT IS being passed onto next generations. So, Tim, what is your point, or what is your question? Geez!

Anonymous said...

Its lookin like your goin a little soft on us timmy boy, man up, will ya

Anonymous said...


You see, we cannot go back to endless cycles of bubble and bust. We can't continue to base our economy on reckless speculation and spending beyond our means; on bad credit and inflated home prices and over-leveraged banks. This crisis teaches us that such activity is not the creation of lasting wealth -- it's the illusion of prosperity, and it hurts us all in the end.

Instead, we must build this recovery on a foundation that lasts -- on a 21st century infrastructure and a green economy with lower health care costs that create millions of new jobs and new industries; on schools that prepare our children to compete and thrive; on businesses that are free to invest in the next big idea or breakthrough discovery.

We cannot wait to build this foundation. Putting off these investments for another four years or eight years or 12 years or 20 years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. It would be exactly what Washington has done for decades. And it will make our recovery more fragile and our future less secure.

And that's a future I don't accept -- not for my children, and not for yours. I did not come here to pass our problems on to the next President or the next generation -- I'm here to solve them. I'm here to start building an economy and a prosperity that lasts.

Now, would I prefer to tackle these challenges without having inherited a trillion-dollar deficit or a financial crisis? Absolutely. But that's a choice that we don't have. I don't like the idea of spending more government money, nor am I interested in expanding government's role.

Obama policy: Don't accept responsibility for our policies. Blame other administrations first.

Dan said...

Us foreigners are watching all this 'socialism' and 'communism' talk with some amusement. Those of you who think Obama is the reincarnation of Marx or Lenin need to do some reading. Government handed the banks the keys to the kingdom some time ago, and the banks burned the place to cinders.

Obama's management of the crisis thus far has left much to be desired, and much criticism can rightfully be leveled his way, but I'll presume to speak for many of us out here in the diaspora who would like to see Obama rein in the excesses of the financial sector. I'm a trader, and I've been watching this nonsense for far too long.

Great blog, btw.

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