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Unfit to Serve?

Our President interjected himself into this year’s campaign again earlier this week.  While it was an act beneath the office he holds, the comment that one of the candidates is unfit for office is much more troubling, and its being passed over by our society at large is even more telling yet.  I must admit that I do not agree with Mr. Trump on some issues, and agree even less with Ms. Clinton, but both have been nominated by their respective party as this year’s candidates.

With this week’s comments and the Iran payment coming on its heels, it is time to say enough.  People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.  Let’s look at just a few of the relevant facts surrounding this administration’s, and its leaders, job readiness. 

·       This administration will have racked up more public debt in eight years than all previous administrations in our history combined.  We’ve been told repeatedly that it was his predecessor’s fault and without the extraordinary spending things would have been even worse.  However, the housing collapse did not begin with the Bush administration.  Instead it was fueled by policy changes within the Clinton administration, and supported by a Republican congress, such as the Affordable Housing Act implementation and revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act.  It is true that the imbalances caused by these policy shifts were exacerbated by the unfunded expenditures for the war on terror during the Bush administration, but these were not the cause of the collapse - only its timing.

·       What do we have to show for the additional mountain of debt?  An economy that this year has been sluggishly moving along at less than 2% growth, and has seldom been above 3% since 2010 - and even those peaks lasted no longer than a quarter or two at a time when they occurred.  It is one of the weakest recoveries we’ve ever experienced.

We must go back to the last century to find something comparable.  The only country where the depression of the 1930’s is known as the Great Depression is the U.S., as it is the only country where the depression lasted longer than a couple of years - and the only country where FDR’s progressive policies were followed.  These are the same type of policies that this administration has repeatedly tried, and despite their failure they have failed to change course.

·       Our economic weakness is showcased by the lack of jobs.  Yes, the unemployment rate is better, but only because the administration changed the formula to exclude those who have given up looking for work - and that number has grown significantly.  While this change made the unemployment number look better, the labor participation rate is still at or near historic lows.  Further, most of the new jobs are either part-time, or in lower paying areas such as the retail, hospitality, or sanitation sectors.  This is demonstrated by stagnant/decreasing worker earnings from eight years ago.

·       Business growth has been strangled by legislation attempting to micro-management the economy under the premise that administration elitists are brighter and better know how things work than we do.  The results have been a trail of regulations increasing both business costs and the size and scope of government - leading, you guessed it, to relatively greater deficit spending.  We have to look no further than Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, EPA regulations, etc for examples.

·       While on the subject of Obamacare, it was passed using lies and deceit, and has resulted in some people losing coverage and others seeing their premiums, out of pocket, and deductibles increase to unsustainable levels.  All this in exchange for attempting to provide coverage for a few million who did not have it.  The billions spent on this legislation could have been given directly to those without insurance, providing them with the means of obtaining coverage for themselves for much less than has been spent.

·       And we should not forget the more than two billion spent on the web-site, and the list of problems that came from the effort to build it - from its failing to work, to capturing incorrect information, to security concerns.  Further evidence of the incompetence underlying this policy is the number of insurance companies choosing to opt out of the program as it is simply not profitable - despite the premium increases consumers are experiencing. 

Charity can never be successfully provided using collectivist means.  It is contrary to our purpose, and Obamacare joins the list of similar policy failures that includes education and the war on poverty.  Insanity is repeating the same things and expecting something different to happen.  Maybe that is where the ‘hope’ comes in?

·       We should also mention just a few of the scandals occurring over the last seven years.  These include the IRS targeting of individuals/organizations, the lie that a video caused the Benghazi attack, Obamacare’s details, the administrations dealings with Iran, the DOJ’s collecting reporter phone records, green energy cronyism (Solyndra), and the Fast & Furious program.  The list simply seems to go on and on.

·       The above just covers some of the domestic issues, but unfortunately that is not all we have to worry about.  The world is a much less safe place than it was a mere eight years ago.  We can look at this administration’s policies, actions, and in some cases inaction.  Tyrants recognize weakness, and act upon it.  This administration has arguably gotten everything wrong it has touched - or refused to touch.

o      It failed to even verbally support the Iranian people in its attempt to remove the mullahs from power.

o       It supported the Arab Spring which led to the destabilization of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen among other countries, and the election of a government supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

o      It withdrew from Iraq in a way that helped lead to the creation of ISIS, and furthered the Middle East disruption.

o      It dithered in Syria, imposing conditions that it did not act upon, further destabilizing the region and leading to Russia and Iran taking actions which have made them bigger power players in the region.

o      Protocols have been given to our troops that tie their hands, and we’ve now seen a resurgence of Islamic extremism in Afghanistan, while our leader is even unwilling to name the enemy (click here for more).

o      Russia has furthered its ambitions, not only in Syria, but in land grabs along its western frontier such as those in the Crimea.

o      Iran has increased its influence and is arguably well on its way to obtaining nuclear weapons.  Just yesterday we learned that our government gave $400 million in hard currency to Iran, something we ‘owed’ them.  These were in fact payments received for weapons made by the Shah’s government that were not fulfilled after Khomeini took power.  While the weapons orders were not filled, Iran did take Americans hostage and continues to do so today. 

The most troubling aspect of this last item is that this administration once again used deceit and lies.  They printed dollars to obtain Euros and Swiss Franks, making it harder to detect the transfer, and landed in Tehran in the middle of the night in an unmarked plane to deliver the currency - at the same time four American captives were released by Iran.  Just today we learned that the hostages were not allowed to leave Iran until the ‘other’ plane arrived.  They were not released until the Republican Guard unloaded the cash.  If it looks like a ransom and stinks like a ransom ...

But there is a larger problem.  If one had only $500 million in funds to spend on items for a people, there is a limit to what they could do with it.  If one is given an additional $400 million then most of the original $500 million that were already ‘earmarked’ for particular uses can be freed up for other things.  This is what is known as fungability, one unit of currency looks exactly like another.  No doubt this administration will say that they are not funding terrorism.  But Iran is a global leader in terrorism, and money is fungible.  It doesn’t matter which bills were used to pay for a specific item, just one’s capacity to use them.  This administration’s actions has increased Iran’s capacity to fund terrorism and achieve its nuclear ambitions.  It can arguably be said this payment makes this administration one of the worlds leading underwriters of terrorism.

Many words have been expended that this payment was not ransom.  The trouble is that these words ring hollow.  They are not worth the breath used to utter them.  Why?  The words are not supported by actions.  We see once again a pattern of lies and deceit.  Even the State Department admitted that the optics around the payment looked back - with good reason as they were.  The Department of Justice’s objections that the transfer broke the law were overridden.  But like all collectivist notions, it is only the ends that matter, the means used to obtain them do not.  These are what Plato’s ‘noble lies’ look like.  Iran recognizes it as ransom, and arguably their perception matters more than ours.  We are likely much less safe today than we were before this action.

One either has integrity or they do not, it does not suddenly appear in a single decision.  It is a matter of character and character develops over time.  Integrity would have been reflected by the administration making the case for the payment to the people they serve, the American public, before taking action instead of using subterfuge to hide their actions and denial to attempt to acquit themselves after the fact. 

This disregard for the law is carrying over into the disintegration of our society at large.  We have only to look at the actions of groups such as Black Lives Matter, the execution of police officers, and even fights occurring when people are playing Pokémon Go.  Race relations have deteriorated under this administration, an area where this President in particular had the opportunity to do so much good.  Instead racism has arguably increased.  Seeing things through the prism of race is by definition racist.  BLM’s focus on black lives alone mattering, to the detriment of all other lives is in itself racist.  Too many have become dependent on our government, and this dependency leads to viewing oneself as a victim not responsible for their own actions - instead of taking accountability for one’s circumstances and working to improve it.

A strong leader brings unity and prosperity to the people he/she serves, by acting with virtue and compassion.  Weak leaders create division and jealousy by incorporating vice and self-service into their actions.  If there is one subject on which our President could be considered a subject matter expert, it is being unready for office.  He has demonstrated it repeatedly over the last seven plus years, and it just keeps on coming - which indicates he likely also lacks an ability or desire to learn.  I think history will judge him to be one of the worst Presidents this country has ever elected, a problem that rests squarely with us. 

One candidate this year is promising more of the same.  Her hands are on many of the above items.  From the Russian reset, to the Middle East policies that have lead to its increasingly precarious state, to the loss of her Ambassador and others in Benghazi.  She also apparently doesn’t understand her actions related to her e-mail debacle, and then goes on a prominent cable news show this weekend and lies about it.  Do we really need or want more of the same?  Collectivism rests on elitism, and progressivism is no different.  One of its assumptions is that those most gifted should rule and they are a law unto themselves.  No wonder more than two-thirds of us feel we are on the wrong track.  It is time to focus on the problem.  It is a federal government that has become increasing arrogant and out of touch.  It has forgotten it exists to serve its people instead of being served.  We can only change direction if we elect people of virtue who are willing to serve.
Posted in: Governance

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About Dan Wolf

Dan WolfMy goal is that my writing will help you to get started on your own journey of discovery, or help you along the way on a journey you may have already begun. Our Founders considered education, religion, morality, and virtue to be the cornerstones for any successful society. Being successful requires understanding both the languages of reason and faith; reason alone is insufficient.