As follow-up to a November 21, '08 article regarding signs that may reveal the direction that an Obama Presidency might take, the following presents another "tell." This one is less innocuous, but may prove to be more expensive to America.
Perceptions inside the current White House, when Bush and Cheney took office, were that incurring debt was its right and was its political capital to spend with Cheney supposedly claiming "deficits don't matter." Hindsight was temporarily kind to them with support from William Niskanen, a member of Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors also claiming, "The lesson we should have learned is that deficits have little or no short-term economic impacts."
Through the early years of this decade, everyone accepted the premise that debt was a normal, perhaps integral conveyance of a modern society, possibly even an applauded one. From economists to taxpayers on assembly lines, everyone dwelled in the comfort that deficits and borrowing could bring unfathomable respect from acquisition of material possessions. Second mortgages were objects of desire and their procurements were cause for boasting. And didn't second cars and gigantic cinema sized TV screens provide jobs for people in foreign lands anyway? Who could possibly argue with success?
Debt administered through spinal shunts delivered energy into the U.S. economy. The amphetamine rush sent economic experts into undiluted delusions of grandeur, and the exploiters into creative overdrive on derivative concoctions too complex for their corruption and decomposition to be diagnosed. Somewhere along the delivery track, the drug magically transformed into analgesic and the rest of society, including government, slid into either acceptance or compliance. Some sectors of government abdicated responsibility, when their persuasion to appear oblivious was finessed with financial seduction.
Debt is seducing. Its power is evidently overpowering. America is anxious to move on beyond the current administration and is anticipating a new President with promises of change. We listen for signs of that impending change, and so here is the Second Tell. During this past weekend President Elect Obama, while making promises of unprecedented public works projects, stated, "We've got to provide a blood infusion. And that means we can't worry short-term about the deficit." At least Obama's delivery of attitude toward economic probity was less arrogant than Bush and Cheney's, but identical in its bearing. He seems more genuine, even if misguided. The legal debt ceiling has already been increased to $11.3 trillion and more increases will be requested.
Evidently not so much has changed or will change, and deficits be damned, full steam ahead with borrowing and government intervention. An additionally disconcerting sense is felt when accepting the reality of the notion that even bigger government may not be just an enigmatic abstraction over the coming four years.
In a preceding article I discussed the need of the 44th President to urgently obtain an intensive and thorough education on inflation. With the coming boom in currency creation, not doing so would be tantamount to an abdication of responsibility.