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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The windfall

The recent post Pig's kin mentioned a 2009 study which found that 78% of recent NFL players file for bankruptcy or are under severe financial distress within two years of retirement.

It does bring the old expression "black rich" to mind. (To be "black rich" is to have come into a windfall which is shortly to be squandered.)

Thirty years ago (in my pre-political days), when I first heard that explanation, I was appalled. Well, maybe "appalled" is too strong a word; but I can honestly say I was surprised that the liberal who explained the expression to me actually said it.

In any case, the expression, in turn, brings Barack Obama to mind.

There has been no other President in recent memory who throws as many White House parties (not state dinners, but parties for his personal friends) as he does. I can think of no other President or First Lady who have taken as many lavish vacations, either.

What's far worse is that Obama's attitude toward the federal deficit. The US government is racking up debt at an unprecedented rate, and Obama seems unconcerned. As long as he's in office, he just wants to effect as much redistribution of wealth as he can.

Much has been made of the fact that during his administration, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer -- as if that's somehow his doing. It's not: it's just an unintended side effect of the tremendous bond buying program the Fed has been on since 2008. (By driving interest rates down, the Fed has pushed people into the stock market to look for returns, which has caused stocks to go up; since it's mostly rich people who own stocks, their net wealth has increased rapidly during a time when the weak economy hasn't provided jobs for those who need them.)

Obama has in fact wanted just the opposite: to redistribute wealth. And his administration has tried this with a host of policies: The stimulus bill, which included "tax refunds" to people who paid no taxes. Higher taxes on those who weren't doing their "fair share," i.e., the rich. Obamacare, which has expanded Medicaid. Extensions of unemployment compensation. Various suits against JP Morgan Chase and other banks for their mortgage origination policies, many of which the government pressured them into in the first place.More disparate impact lawsuits from the Justice Department, which hurts businesses even more. A push for amnesty for illegal immigrants. Doubling the number of people on food stamps. Etc.

And every time the Republicans balk at raising the debt ceiling, Obama can hammer them for being obstructionist, wanting to shut down the government, and being the party of "no."

Obama sees his Presidency as an opportunity to squander as much taxpayer money as he can, as quickly as he can.


arthur thurman said...

Enough money to throw lavish parties, not enough to keep an open air military monument available for the public. Enough money for date night in New York, enough money to extend unemployment and increase the SNAP enrollment, not enough to stop from cutting military pensions and personnel. The dirty secret of downsizing the military are the forced lay-offs of career men with 10-15 years of service without a retirement. So close yet so far. That's ok though. As long as the "Support Our Troops" stickers are still new looking enough on the bumper and we continue to listen to another empty suit blather on about our sacrifice in sorrowful tone, we're good. So go on Mr. President, have another on us. It's Miller time!

John Craig said...

Arthur --
Perfectly stated!

arthur thurman said...

I might have made it overly obvious that I was in the group that was laid off in the military. Navy 1998-2012. 14 years that I will not get back. At least I saw the world; 30 countries and five of the seven seas. I take pride that it expanded my viewpoints and understanding of how the world actually works. I like to think so at least. LOL

John Craig said...

Arthur --
Actually, I hadn't caught that, though now that you mention it and I look back at your first comment I can hear the bitterness more clearly.

You have my sympathies; but I also think you're right about having seen the world, etc. My son was on active duty for a little over three years, including a year on a COP in Kandahar, and he feels that he saw the world in a way he never would have otherwise. He also feels he got to meet a much wider variety of, and more interesting types of, people in the military than he ever did in his hometown. He actually considered the year he spent in Afghanistan to have been the most exciting of his life, and says he would go back in a heartbeat if he thought he'd be going back there.

Anyway, thank you for your service. (Does that phrase sound as hollow to you as it's starting to sound to me?)