Obama Losing Power
Listen to the air going out of the economy; it sounds like an air mattress deflating. As Obamacare comes closer to reality, its drawbacks — or at the very least its growing pains — alienate more of its erstwhile supporters. President Obama’s failure to pass the gun control bill was more than a legislative reversal. He lost in the court of public opinion. Despite his histrionics exploiting the Newtown, Conn. tragedy, he failed to move public opinion. In fact, polling suggests that it moved the other way — from a pro-gun control consensus in the wake of the shootings to a pro-Second Amendment posture after more reflection. The Boston bombings cast a harsh light on his failure to keep us safe and his weird compromises with Islamic terrorism.
It might be a long, hot summer for the president.
Leading the casualty list is his economic policy. After 0.4 percent growth GDP growth in the last quarter of 2012, experts had expected a sharp rebound in the first quarter of 2013, sparked by year-end bonuses. Didn’t happen. The 2.5 percent rate was anemic at best. The fact that only 88,000 jobs were created in March 2013 is pathetic. Indeed, the prospects for any kind of real growth this quarter are sharply limited.
And more economic disaster beckons. The stock market is artificially pumped up by desperate investors who are facing zero interest rates in their safe, normal investment outlets. So these folks, who likely saw their portfolios take a crew cut in 2008 and 2009, are putting their money into CCC rated securities — junk. The bubble is going to burst, as they all do, and their investments will come crashing down.
Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Administration has stepped in to offer mortgages of low-income people with all of the shortcomings of those issued or insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — a 3 percent down payment, artificially low teaser interest rates and high mortgage/value ratios. Wait until this crash materializes.
Finally, the banks of the world are invested to the tune of $1.6 guadrillion (first time you’ve seen that word in print?) in derivatives. There is not enough money in the Fed, the ECB or China to cover the losses that are in the offing. With the Fed’s balance sheet stretched as never before, there is little room for error in this preposterous bank gambling.
And then there’s Obamacare. Set to go into effect in 2014, Americans are in for a sticker shock when they see their health insurance premiums. The pleasant promises of a $2,500 per family savings will be seen as the baloney they were when the president made them. And a great many Americans will find equally disingenuous his promise that we can keep our current health insurance policies if we want. With our employers weighing whether to pay a $3,000 per employee fine for no coverage of a $15,000 health insurance premium, it will be an easy decision. They will cancel their policies and offer no coverage. Their decision will throw the employees on the mercy of the insurance exchanges Obama has established with their hope of federal premium subsidies. But, as they are about to find out, the subsidies are only available up to about $75,000 in household income and the presuppose that you pay a minimum of 7 percent of your income on health insurance before they kick in. Americans will be outraged when they realize how much they are going to have to pay.
And young people are going to realize that the hope of coverage is evanescent at best. While the elderly learn the grim truth about Medicare rationing.
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My mentor, retired businessman Fred Smith, says: “You are the way you are because that’s the way you want to