The Obama Watch

Obama Redefines America’s Gift to the World

No, it's not himself but his commitment to binge spending.

By 11.11.10

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America's gift to the world isn't freedom or democracy. It isn't the example of a free market that has created unparalleled prosperity for the nation over more than 200 years. It isn't the generosity of the American people or their willingness to go to the defense of others threatened with tyranny. And it isn't baseball, football or basketball… or any of the exports of Hollywood and American popular culture. No, it is none of those things.

According to Barack Obama, America's gift to the world is spending. More precisely, it is our willingness to spend beyond our means -- in the happy thought that we (or if not we, they, the Obama administration) are spending someone else's money.

Margaret Thatcher got it right when she said that all socialist governments would go on spending -- and spending -- until they ran out of other peoples' money. 

According to the president, we make the world a better place by continuing to live beyond our means. This enables people in other, less fortunate parts of the world to lift themselves up by the bootstraps by lending us the money we need to buy their products -- or by accepting payment in deliberately devalued dollars. What a deal! The latest wrinkle in this narrative is the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to print enough new money to purchase another $600 billion in long-term government bonds. 

That is how the president explained things to skeptical (or make that outraged and rebellious) fellow leaders in the Group of 20. "The United States will do its part to restore strong growth, reduce economic imbalances and calm markets," he explained in a letter prior to the G-20 meeting beginning on Thursday in Seoul, Korea. "A strong recovery that creates jobs, income and spending [emphasis added] is the most important contribution that the United States can make to the global recovery."

Yes, let's go out and "create" some more spending by creating more money -- out of thin air…money which can used to inflate away our IOUs (and our savings) at a later date. We can then pretend that in doing so we have also "created or saved" a few million jobs, even though the actual effect will be truly to pave the way to another great depression. 

With his trademark rhetoric (filled with false, Kennedy-like parallelisms), Obama went on to say: "When all nations do their part -- emerging no less than advanced, surplus no less than deficit -- we all benefit from higher growth."

That sounds like Karl Marx -- "to each according to his need, from each according to his talents." Only in this case, the United States, as one of the richest countries in the world and, until recently, one of the most entrepreneurial, is also the neediest and the least able to cope for itself.

What a shameful thought! What a repudiation of everything that "America's gift to the world" used to mean.

By a resounding margin in the November 2 elections, American voters rejected this thought. Without a doubt, it will be similarly rejected at the G-20 meeting.

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About the Author
Andrew B. Wilson, a frequent contributor to The American Spectator and a former foreign correspondent, writes from St. Louis.