May 14, 2013
The Incredible Shrinking President
President Obama stood before a global audience yesterday and accused Republicans of playing politics with Benghazi, an issue that is threatening to bring down his administration:
President Obama today gave no ground on Benghazi, proclaiming “there’s no there there” to the GOP-led investigation of the administration’s response to the attack and calling the probes a “political circus.”
Obama, who spoke during a White House press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, asserted that he had said the attacks were terrorism the day after they occurred. But he also argued it wasn’t clear in the immediate aftermath exactly what had caused the attacks.
But Obama did not address his own repeated statements in the days after the attacks, even as evidence suggested otherwise, that the assault was the result of an anti-Islamic videotape. And he did not even attempt to address the matter he was specifically questioned on – why the “talking points” recited by UN Ambassador Susan Rice were edited from their original form and why there appeared to be more White House and State Department involvement in the editing than previously indicated.
“The whole issue of talking points throughout this process has been a sideshow,” Obama said, charging that Republicans were using the issue to raise money.
The president’s explanation flies in the face of testimony that was given last week by key witnesses who had firsthand knowledge of the incident:
The testimony was not kind to the Obama administration.
The hearing, called by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was framed around the appearance and questioning of three State Department officials who were closely involved with the US response to the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11, 2012, but had not yet testified on it.
All three officials, called “whistleblowers” by several committee members, were critical of the Obama administration’s actions before, during, and after the assault on the temporary US mission in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi and on an annex operated by the CIA.
The officials, including the second-in-command to Ambassador Stevens at the time of the attack, were critical of a wide range of administration decisions: from the level and type of security for the Benghazi mission, to rejecting a number of military options for addressing the attack.
Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Tripoli the night of the attack, criticized “stand down” orders out of the Pentagon: one not to send jets to overfly the attack site, another not to dispatch special forces from the embassy in Tripoli in the early morning hours the day after the attack.
It was Mr. Hicks who gave the committee and its audience – which included relatives of the four Americans killed in Benghazi – a riveting “tick tock” of events the night of the attack that included phone calls with Stevens. He said the last words he heard from his boss before the last call went dead were, “Greg, we’re under attack.”
Hicks said he sought to have jets overfly the Benghazi mission in a bid to frighten away the attackers and end the assault, but was told the nearest jets were at Aviano Air Base in Italy and would take hours to get in the air.
Americans died. President Obama was in charge. Hillary Clinton was his front person. Susan Rice was their mouthpiece. All of them saw the potential political damage associated with the Benghazi fiasco at a critical moment in the 2012 presidential election campaign, and they decided to play politics instead of doing their jobs. If there is a political “side show” as the president said, he and his team are guilty of initiating it:
GOP outrage over a changed set of talking points related to September’s attack in Benghazi is a political “side show,” President Barack Obama argued Monday, asserting the tragedy was being used for political gain by his rivals.
The Republicans who claim Obama’s administration was intentionally misleading in the way they characterized the Benghazi attack are ignoring key facts and sullying the memory of the four Americans who died, the president claimed.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of people in the State Department who consistently say, ‘You know what, I’m willing to step up, I’m willing to put myself in harm’s way because I think that this mission is important in terms of serving the United States and advancing our interests around the globe.’ And so we dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus,” he said.
President Obama continues to play politics over the coffins of four Americans who died in service to their country while he ignored their pleas for help. That’s his modus operandi. He’s playing politics now just as he did over the coffins of the young children who were murdered by a crazed lunatic at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his quest to savage the Second Amendment to the Constitution. It’s time to hold him and his accomplices accountable. They should be investigated, charged if there is evidence of criminal activity, and tried in a criminal court. Justice demands it.
The IRS shenanigans are another matter that deserve and are getting attention. The president says that he has “no patience” with it and that he “won’t tolerate it.” Well, Mr. President, they were your people, and they were targeting your political opponents who had the audacity to talk about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and freedom. Your culpability in that matter is still an open question. More on that issue will follow.
May 5, 2013
The Ever Widening Chasm between Christians and the U.S. Government
Following Jesus’ death and resurrection, the number of Jewish people in Israel believing in Him as the Messiah grew rapidly. Their numbers continued to grow for 40 years, and in 70 A.D. after the Romans destroyed the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakki asked the Roman general in Jerusalem, Vespasian, for permission to open a small school in the seacoast town of Yavneh.
Vespasian consented, and Zakki, along with a small group of leading rabbis, went to Yavneh and modified a Jewish benediction in an attempt to drive Nazarenes (a sect of Judaism consisting of Jewish believers in Jesus) from Jewish congregations. They were fearful that the Nazarenes’ practice of fraternizing with gentiles would eventually lead to the assimilation of most, if not all, Jews.
According to the Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth 28b-29a,
“Our Rabbis taught: Simeon ha-Pakuli arranged the eighteen benedictions in order before Rabban Gamaliel in Jabneh. Said Rabban Gamaliel to the Sages: Can any one among you frame a benediction relating to the Minim [Nazarenes]? Samuel the Lesser arose and composed it.”
The benediction they modified is known as the birkat ha-Minim, and this is how the modified portion read after changes were made:
“And for Nazarenes let there be no hope, and let all wickedness perish as in a moment; let all thine enemies be speedily cut off, and the dominion of arrogance do thou uproot and crush, cast down and humble speedily in our days. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who breakest the enemies and humblest the arrogant.”
Jewish people were expected to recite this benediction three times a day, and when called upon they were expected to read it aloud in the synagogue. Obviously, Nazarenes could not read it or recite it, because it was a condemnation of them and their faith. When they refused to read it or recite it, they were identified as Nazarenes, and they were no longer welcome in the synagogues. Thus, this benediction effectively divided Jewish Christians from other Jews—a situation that persists to this day.
Modern-day Jews will not recognize this language in the birkat ha-Minim, because it was changed again once Nazarenes were effectively driven from the synagogues. This is how it reads today:
“And for slanderers let there be no hope, and let all wickedness perish as in a moment; let all thine enemies be speedily cut off, and the dominion of arrogance do thou uproot and crush, cast down and humble speedily in our days. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who breakest the enemies and humblest the arrogant.”
According to Lawrence Schiffman, Vice-Provost of Undergraduate Education at Yeshiva University and author of Who was a Jew?: Rabbinic and Halakhic Perspectives on the Jewish-Christian Schism, the rabbis meeting in Yavneh never questioned the Jewishness of Nazarenes. Rabbinic law at the time prescribed the conditions under which a person was considered Jewish. Either their mother had to be a Jew or they had to convert to Judaism. For males, conversion required immersion, acceptance of the Torah, and a sacrifice. If a person met those conditions, he was considered Jewish no matter what he believed and no matter how he acted.
The great divide between Jews and Christians in Israel intensified during the Bar Kochba Rebellion–132 A.D. to 136 A.D. Bar Kochba led a fight to oust Romans from Israel. During the first year of the campaign, Nazarenes fought alongside other Jews to overthrow the Romans. Then Rabbi Akiba, one of the most famous rabbis in Talmudic Judaism, announced that Bar Kochba was the Messiah. After his pronouncement, Nazarenes could not continue supporting Bar Kochba or the cause he was leading. When the revolt ended in failure, Nazarenes were branded as traitors for having withdrawn their support, and leading rabbis of the day retaliated by forbidding contact between Nazarenes and other Jews and by openly questioning their Jewishness.
Is history repeating itself? The answer is “yes”. According to Breitbart,
The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”.
The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.
(From our earlier report: Weinstein is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and says Christians–including chaplains–sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of “treason,” and of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” He also asserted that Christians sharing their faith in the military are “enemies of the Constitution.”)
Being convicted in a court martial means that a soldier has committed a crime under federal military law. Punishment for a court martial can include imprisonment and being dishonorably discharged from the military.
As you would expect, the Pentagon issued a statement “clarifying” its position on this issue after the public outcry began:
The Department of Defense (DoD) issued a statement today ‘clarifying’ its earlier statements about possible prosecution for military personnel who share their religious beliefs with other military personnel. This comes the day after a law firm began its investigation into the matter.
Christensen issued a statement today saying that “Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).”
The words in parentheses are in the original statement.
ADF is “troubled” by both the new comments as well as the original statement. The law firm filed a Freedom of Information Act request Tuesday to investigate the DoD’s position on military personnel sharing their faith.
No matter what the outcome of the investigation is, this much is becoming crystal clear: the Obama administration is waging a war against Christians in the United States, and he is doing little or nothing to protect persecuted Christians around the world. The U.S. military is his chosen vehicle for remaking the face of America and for denying security on a selected basis. You would have to be a complete ignoramus or an imbecile not to recognize this fact.
If Christians respond as I suspect many of them will, they will not reenlist nor will they join the U.S. military. That will hasten the ever widening chasm between Christians and the U.S. government and in due course will leave America’s security in the hands of non-Christians for the first time in our nation’s history. One can only speculate about the broader negative consequences associated with this misguided action on the part of our nation’s political and military leaders, but I fear that they might dwarf those of the rabbis who campaigned to rid Judaism of the Nazarenes.
April 14, 2013
If You Want to Criticize Christianity, Get Your Facts Straight
Usually, I enjoy reading Jeremy Rosen’s commentary and analysis. He’s an orthodox rabbi and a writer. His observations are generally astute, but today I must take exception. In an article for The Algemeiner titled “Not My Bible,” he said,
I am amongst those who think that Pauline and later Christianity developed a series of myths based on earlier popular ideas rather than on a specific, living human being. There is nothing wrong with that in itself, unless it leads to torturing and killing those who do not agree with you. We too have our earlier Canaanite horror stories. Both Christianity and Islam wanted to supersede what came before. To do this they had to show how their religion was so much better. And to hammer it home they had to present the Jews as primitive, hypocritical, corrupt betrayers of truth which the new religion was going to put right. The very distinction between Old Testament and New Testament that make up the Christian Bible is a clear statement that we oldies are now out of date and out of touch.
In the Christian world, for thousands of years Jews have been cursed and pursued for the “crime” of rejecting Jesus and the greater crime of causing his death. In some quarters we are still blamed for “killing God,” ridiculous as such a claim might sound to you and me. As for the myth of Jesus being accused of heresy, you will not find anywhere in Jewish law any hint that it is heresy to say “I am the King of the Jews,” “I am the Son of God,” or indeed to claim “I am God.” One might think you are a lunatic, but hardly a rational heretic.
There are so many errors in those few sentences that I couldn’t possibly address them all in a short response, so I’ll deal with only one: the historicity of Jesus. Actually, his name wasn’t Jesus. It was Yeshua and he was Jewish, but those aren’t the issues here.
Christianity was and is based on a man whose life and death are chronicled in the Talmud. You don’t need to read the New Testament to learn about him. Jewish sages 2,000 ago wrote about him because his teachings exposed the flaws in many Jewish religious traditions. That’s why the priests wanted to kill him. According to the apostle John, they also believed the Jewish people’s enthusiastic response to Jesus’ message might compel the Romans to abolish their positions.
Convincing miracles accompanied Jesus’ teaching. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk, and cast out demons. Those supernatural miracles caused many people to believe in Jesus, and they turned to him in large numbers. Those miracles aren’t myths.
Additionally, Jesus empowered his disciples to perform healing miracles in his name prior to and after his resurrection. The Talmud speaks about this fact and offers insights into the priests’ attitudes toward Jesus and his disciples:
Abodah Zarah 27b: “A man shall have no dealings with the heretics [Christians], nor be cured by them, even for the sake of an hour of life. There was the case of Ben Dama nephew of R. [Rabbi] Ishmael, whom a serpent bit. There came Jacob [the apostle James who wrote the New Testament book of James] the heretic of the village of Sechanya to cure him (in the name of Yeshu ben Pandera var. leg.); but R. Ishmael would not allow him. Ben Dama said to him, R. Ishmael, my brother, do allow him, that I may be cured, and I will produce a text from the Law to prove that this is permitted. But hardly had he finished his discourse when his soul departed, and he died.”
In this passage from the Talmud, the name “Yeshu” was used instead of Yeshua. Yeshu is a curse. It means “may his name and memory be blotted out.” Leading rabbis of Jesus’ day hated him so much that they used a curse in lieu of his name, and they refused to allow healing in his name even in cases where the life of the person being healed was at stake. The “text” Ben Dama referred to is Exodus 15: 26:
“If you will give earnest heed to the Voice of Yahweh your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, Yahweh, am your healer [i.e., Yahweh Raphah or Yahweh your doctor].”
Ben Dama knew about Yahweh’s promise. He must have been anxious to claim it for his own healing, but Rabbi Ishmael would not allow James to heal him using the name of Jesus so Ben Dama died.
Shabbath 14b: “The grandson of R. Joshua ben Levi had something stuck in his throat. There came a man and whispered to him in the name of Jesus and he recovered. When the healer came out, R. Joshua said to him, What was it you whispered to him? He said to him, A certain word. He said to him, It had been better for him that he had died rather than that.”
Yahweh was the “word” whispered to Rabbi Joshua’s grandson, and that’s who Jesus claimed to be. I won’t go into detail trying to prove that point here, but I wrote a book about it titled His Name is Yahweh. If this interests you, you should read it.
Rabbi Joshua was so incensed that the disciple equated Jesus and Yahweh that he would have preferred his grandson’s death to his healing under that condition. The Talmud says that Rabbi Joshua’s grandson recovered after the disciple prayed for him in “the name of Jesus.” This passage from the Talmud gives you a glimpse of the rabbis’ intense hatred of Jesus.
Sanhedrin X, 1: “R. Akiba said, He who reads in external books [the New Testament], and he who whispers over a wound, and says, ‘None of the diseases which I sent on Egypt will I lay on thee, I am the Lord thy healer’ has any share in the world to come.”
Rabbi Akiba is quoting Exodus 15: 26, and as I said before, it refers to Yahweh Raphah. The people who were seeking healing understood that it makes specific reference to Yahweh, and they believed that Jesus is Yahweh. Thus, they permitted his disciples to pray for them if they used this verse instead of his name thinking that they could obtain healing without offending the rabbis, but Rabbi Akiba would have none of that. He said that people who committed that “offense” were destined to spend eternity in hell because it meant they believed that Jesus is Yahweh.
Rabbi Akiba is more responsible for the chasm between Christians and Jews than anyone else including the Roman Emperor Constantine. During the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 A.D., he declared that Bar Kochba was the messiah. Until that time, Nazarenes, Jewish followers of Yeshua, fought alongside Bar Kochba, but they abandoned the fight after Akiba’s pronouncement thus leading him to declare that they were not Jewish. That edict stuck, and to this day, the gulf between Jews and Christians remains.
Be that as it may, the historicity of Jesus isn’t in doubt and neither are his claims. If Mr. Rosen wants to criticize Christianity, that’s fine. There is plenty of room for criticism, but he needs to get his facts straight.
April 3, 2013
China and the Dollar’s Global Reserve Currency Status
In 1993, U.S. News & World Report invited politicians, business leaders, academics, and others from around the world to submit questions that they believed would be vital at the end of the next 60 years for inclusion in their 60th anniversary edition. Presidents of major universities were asked to encourage their faculty to participate and many of them did including the president at the University of Virginia where I taught.
As a strategy and leadership professor, I decided to submit a question that I knew would be important, but I really didn’t know when it would become important. It had to do with China. This was my question: “How can the United States ensure that it is granted most-favored-nation trading status with China which will be the world’s lone superpower?”
I realized that China was on a trajectory that would enable it to surpass the United States economically and that there is a close connection between economic and military prowess. It wasn’t that China’s economy was setting records at the time, but China’s leaders were committed to economic development and U.S. leaders were more concerned about eating the seed corn. It due course, it was obvious to me that our lackluster performance by comparison would catapult China to the prized status that they were seeking.
It didn’t take 60 years for my prediction to come true. It’s happening now, and only 20 years have passed. The editors at U.S. News & World Report must have realized that I was on the right track because they published my question. It appears on the same page with questions submitted by Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Schmidt, and Oliver Stone to name just a few.
China’s rise is of utmost importance and at this very moment China’s leaders are positioning their country to usurp U.S. global hegemony. According to yesterday’s Catholic Online,
The Chinese and Australian move to oust the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency gained full steam over the weekend with Australian officials agreeing to start making direct currency exchanges with China.
This will ultimately harm the U.S. economy, although only slightly in the short term. In the long run, as other countries join Australia, it could unseat the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
The U.S. dollar has been the world’s reserve currency since the end of World War II, when it was made such by deliberate international agreement. As reserve currency, most international exchanges are made with the U.S. dollar. This requires foreign traders to convert their money to U.S. dollars to enter the market. When cashing in their profits to spend at home, traders must usually exchange their dollars back into their native currency.
Australia isn’t the only country joining hands with China. A few days ago, Brazil and China agreed to a $30 billion currency swap that is aimed at achieving the same objective, and a few months ago, China made a move to begin buying oil from Iran with yuans:
Iran’s yuan-for-oil payments won’t catch on, yet. Tough sanctions from the United States have pushed the Islamic Republic to accept the Chinese currency as part-payment for crude exports to the People’s Republic. But while the yuan should play a bigger role in the world’s energy settlements by the end of the decade, Iran’s shift won’t be the catalyst.
It makes sense for China to use its own currency to pay for oil imports. The move transfers foreign exchange risk away from the world’s second largest oil consumer and supports the government’s long-term drive to establish the yuan as an alternative global reserve currency to the dollar.
For Iran, the yuan trade is more a matter of necessity than desire. Sanctions have made it hard to deal in freely convertible dollars or euros – the currency of Chinese oil payment to Iran since 2006 – so it has been forced to let its largest customer pay in its own non-convertible currency, just as it let India pay in non-convertible rupees.
I wrote about the importance of this issue in a blog for American Thinker in February:
As the dollar loses the protection provided by its global reserve currency status and countries are no longer required to stockpile dollars for oil trades, the dollar will rise or fall in value based on the strength of the U.S. economy. So will interests rates and inflation. Unfortunately, with deficit spending looming for as far as the eye can see and our debt burden growing more ominous every day, that doesn’t bode well for the dollar’s ability to compete on an even playing field.
Our government officials in Washington should have dealt with our debt and deficit problems before our economic situation deteriorated to a crisis point, but they didn’t and calamity is just around the corner. For example, our penchant for routinely spending more than we collect in tax revenue, subsidizing able bodied men and women who contribute virtually nothing to our economy, paying the bills of illegal aliens who should not even be in our country, and ignoring our burgeoning debt problem because interest rates are at historically low levels have the effect of weakening our economy at a time when we should be doing everything that is humanly possible to shore it up.
I’m not the only one ringing the alarm bell. According to David Stockman, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Reagan,
So the Main Street economy is failing while Washington is piling a soaring debt burden on our descendants, unable to rein in either the warfare state or the welfare state or raise the taxes needed to pay the nation’s bills. By default, the Fed has resorted to a radical, uncharted spree of money printing. But the flood of liquidity, instead of spurring banks to lend and corporations to spend, has stayed trapped in the canyons of Wall Street, where it is inflating yet another unsustainable bubble.
When it bursts, there will be no new round of bailouts like the ones the banks got in 2008. Instead, America will descend into an era of zero-sum austerity and virulent political conflict, extinguishing even today’s feeble remnants of economic growth.
It’s no wonder that Chinese leaders think that now is the right time to make a move on the dollar. President Obama doesn’t have enough economic sense to understand the situation. When he’s not vacationing, he’s telling the American people that the 1% of our fellow citizens who pay roughly 40% of federal income taxes aren’t paying their fair share while the roughly 50% of Americans who pay no federal income tax are being victimized. That’s ludicrous, but it sells well among the chronically ignorant.
Meanwhile, seemingly unbeknownst to President Obama, the U.S. faces imminent economic peril. When our economy nosedives and inflation and interest rates begin to soar, all of us will pay a high price for his incompetence.
This SnyderTalk editorial first appeared in American Thinker.
April 2, 2013
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Fiscal Reality
A few days ago, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a fact sheet that should have shocked this nation, but it didn’t. Among other things, the report revealed that there were more than 110,000,000 sexually transmitted disease (STD) infections in America in 2008. It’s difficult to say what percent of our population is infected because many people have more than one STD.
The fact sheet also said that there were 20,000,000 new cases of STDs reported in 2008. That statistic dwarfs the number of new jobs being created by our economy annually even now — five years later. The medical cost associated with STDs was a staggering $16 billion in 2010 dollars.
According to the fact sheet,
CDC’s new estimates were developed using the best available data. The estimates are based on national surveys, nationally notifiable disease case reports, and data from special projects. The primary data source used to estimate the number of most prevalent infections was the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of the civilian, non-institutionalized population in the United States that includes testing for STIs. CDC used conservative assumptions in generating its estimates, so the true numbers of STIs in the United States may be even higher than estimated.
When calculating the number of prevalent and incident infections, only those infections that were sexually transmitted were counted. In general, CDC estimated the total number of infections in the calendar year, rather than the number of individuals with infection, since one person can have more than one STI at a given time (e.g., HPV and chlamydia) or more than one episode of a single STI (e.g., repeat chlamydia infection). Because 20 percent of people with HPV are infected with more than one type, HPV infections were calculated per person so that individuals infected with multiple HPV types would not be double counted. If each HPV infection was considered, the totals would show an even higher burden of infection.
CDC’s cost estimates reflect the lifetime direct medical cost per case of eight common STIs in the United States and do not include either indirect costs (e.g., loss of productivity) or intangible costs (e.g., pain and suffering) associated with many STIs. Including such costs would have resulted in a substantially higher estimated economic burden.
Last week, cnsnews.com ran a piece about the problem, but the mainstream media for the most part ignored it completely. Why media titans chose to pay no heed to such an important report is anyone’s guess. I suspect that it had something to do with the fact that drawing attention to the negative consequences associated with promiscuous sex undermines their beliefs about a number of politically charged issues including gay marriage, the right to choose, and sex education for young children, to name just a few. Whatever the case may be, their silence was deafening.
Judging by the rapidly escalating moral decay in our society and the willingness of Americans to accept perversions as alternate lifestyles, I have a strong hunch that the STD problem is more serious now than it was in 2008. If things continue as they are, I suspect that it will be even worse in the years ahead. This is an important matter that all of us need to consider because it means that the health risks for our children and our grandchildren are growing quickly as are the costs that we must bear to treat people with diseases that could have been avoided.
Our STD problem is just one more indicator that something is wrong with the soul of America. Societal depravity and self-indulgence have both moral and fiscal consequences that we can’t ignore no matter how hard we try. We get daily reminders as we watch our nation’s debt climb to stratospheric levels due in large part to health care costs that are spiraling out of control.
A vote for moral sanity is a vote for fiscal common sense. Keep that in mind as we approach the 2014 election.
This SnyderTalk editorial first appeared in American Thinker.
March 31, 2013
A Battle is Raging for the Soul of America
President Obama was in Miami yesterday talking about the need for infrastructure improvements at the Port of Miami. It’s the same song that he’s been singing since he was elected president in 2008.
According to the BBC,
Mr Obama outlined his plans at Port Miami, which is undergoing a $2bn (£1.3bn) upgrade and tunnel project.
Among his proposals was $4bn in new infrastructure loans and grants.
He also repeated a call for a $10bn “infrastructure bank” to attract investment for projects that will have the greatest impact on the economy.
The Obama administration is proposing tax breaks for foreign pension funds that invest in US infrastructure, and bonds designed to attract investors in larger projects.
“There are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now and strengthen our economy over the long haul than rebuilding the infrastructure that powers our businesses and our economy,” Mr Obama said in Miami.
‘Work to be done’
The upgrades at Port Miami – including a tunnel under the bay designed to link a highway with the port – are being funded by taxpayers as well as private investors.
Mr Obama noted that the involvement of several jurisdictions, as well as private companies whose payments were tied to performance, meant “construction workers are on the job digging this tunnel, doing great jobs, getting good pay”.
“What are we waiting for?” Mr Obama said, turning his attention to the wider US. “There’s work to be done, there are workers who are ready to do it.”
I don’t have a problem with seeking private funding for infrastructure projects. In fact, I think it’s a good idea, one that governments at the state and local levels should pursue independently of the president. But what about the roughly $2 trillion that our nation borrowed and wasted on so-called “infrastructure projects” between 2008 and 2012 that ended up being funneled into the coffers of unions and other groups that supported candidate Obama in 2008?
President Obama needs to give us an accounting. He needs to tell us plainly what he has accomplished with the money that he has already spent before he lends his and our support to more boondoggles. Will he? At this juncture, probably not, but we should demand one anyway.
The point is that I’m very skeptical. Obama is a good talker, but judging by the evidence, any resources that he helps to raise now will be used in the same nefarious manner as those raised during his first term. That frightens me because we can’t afford to take on more debt to fund Obama supporters who I fear threaten the survival of this nation.
As I said, raising private funds for infrastructure projects is a good idea, but Obama should limit his involvement to clearing hurdles that stand in the way of progress. Instead, through the EPA and other government agencies, he is building obstacles. That’s why I believe the president is just talking.
Enough is enough. It’s time for leaders in Congress to tell the president what they expect from him and then hold him accountable for producing results. If he fails to comply, they should use their power of the purse to insist that he toe the line. Truth is, with Democrats in control of the Senate, that’s not likely to happen, but if they lose control in 2014, it’s a very real possibility.
A battle is raging for the soul of America. It’s time for right-minded Americans to do their job and throw Democrats out of the Senate. If they don’t, we will get more of the same until 2016 or longer. Under President Obama and his lackeys in the Senate, the likelihood of turning this nation around before it’s too late is not good so time is of the essence.
This SnyderTalk editorial first appeared in American Thinker.
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