Lincoln * Institute

Ralph R. Reiland

Ralph R. Reiland

The B. Kenneth Simon Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University

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Reflections

Hope, or Hopelessly Naive?

by Ralph R. Reiland
 

It didn't take long for Iran to brush aside President Obama's holiday video.

In his video message to Iran, complete with Farsi subtitles and timed to coincide with the celebration of the Persian New Year, Obama praised the "true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization" and said that the United States wanted to engage Iran and reverse decades of animosity.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the overture the next morning. "They chant the slogan of change but no change is seen in practice," said Khamenei, sounding not unlike some of Obama's disillusioned supporters in the United States.

"We haven't seen any change" replied Khamenei. "If you are right that change has come, where is that change? What is the sign of that change? Make it clear for us what has changed."

Bush-basher Michael Moore might well say the same words. What's changed since the days of Bush and Cheney when it was charged that too big a piece of the pie was being grabbed by those who already have too much?

Obama told Joe the plumber that he wanted to "spread the wealth around." True to his word, Obama has done the spreading in record time and in unprecedented amounts. The only problem for guys like Moore is that the trillions have been flowing for the past two months in exactly the opposite direction of the "change" that Obama promised in his big stadium speeches during the campaign.

No one chanting "Yes we can" was pushing for a change that would stick America's middle class taxpayers with additional trillions of new debt in order to fill up the coffers of some of the biggest and richest swindlers on Wall Street.

Where's the change, in short, between Bush's TARP-1 and Obama's TARP-2?

Khamenei, similarly, pointed to the lack of change in responding to Obama's video: "Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? Even the language remains unchanged."

Obama kicked off his video overture to Iran's leadership by praising "the great and celebrated culture" of Iran, a culture that "made the world a better and more beautiful place." As Khamenei delivered his reply to Obama, the crowd around him in the better and beautiful place chanted "Death to America."

Khamenei could have additionally asked where the change was in Obama's decision to send an additional 17,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan by May, increasing the number of American troops in Afghanistan to 55,000, while keeping 50,000 American troops in Iraq. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cindy Sheehan jumping the White House fence and pulling the arugula out of Michelle's new vegetable garden.

Regarding Obama's budget proposal and his big-government schemes to boost the U.S. economy, the president of the European Union, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, warned last week that Obama's strategy of spending his way out of recession is a "road to hell."

Obama's banking bailouts, massive stimulus packages and proposed deficit increases, cautioned Topolanek, will weaken and destabilize the entire financial system of the world economy.

"Americans will need liquidity to finance all their measures and they will balance this with the sale of their bonds but this will undermine the liquidity of the global financial market," warned Topolanek.

Two days earlier, Zhou Xiaochuan, the head of China's central bank, called for the creation of a new international currency reserve to replace the U.S. dollar. China, currently holding over $1 trillion in U.S. Treasuries and other dollar-dominated bonds, is concerned about the real, adjusted for inflation, value of those assets.

"On March 13, China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, said he was concerned about the safety of those assets, particularly because huge economic stimulus plans could lead to soaring deficits in the United States, which could sink the dollar's value," reported The New York Times.

You know things are dangerously off track when even the commies in China are worried that Obama is pushing for too much government, too much spending and too much borrowing.

With China providing the warning, Sen... Judd Gregg, who withdrew as Obama's nominee to head the Commerce Department, stated that Obama's proposed 10-year spending plan and soaring deficits would bankrupt the nation: "People will not buy our debt, our dollar will become devalued."

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.