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President Obama’s Journey From United States Of America To United States Of Socialist America – OpEd

The 100 years old leading Russian newspaper Pravda –the official organ of Soviet Communist party from 1918 to 1991 and since 1997 an affiliate of Russian Communist Party, has claimed “The communists have won in America with Obama but failed miserably in Russia”. Pravda in one of its November editorial entitled “Obama’s Soviet mistake has said that in Russia the communist party candidate Gennady Zyuganov only received 17% of the vote.

According to Pravda, after Obama was elected in his first term as president, Vladimir Putin – the then Prime Minister of Russia in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos – Switzerland in January 2009, had advised the world leaders to learn from the Soviet mistake.

Pravda further asserts that Obama “is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so” and Americans will continue to follow him like those in Russia who still praise Lenin and Stalin.

“The schools in the U.S. were conquered by the Communists long ago and history was revised thus paving the way for their Communist presidents” Pravda further mentions and goes while observing that “Obama has bailed out those businesses that voted for him and increased the debt to over 16 trillion with an ever increasing unemployment rate especially among blacks and other minorities.”

Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pravda says that while Russia is reducing taxes on production, investing money in the economy and optimizing state expenses, the United States is doing the just opposite – including excessive state interference into the economic life of the country and displaying absolute faith into the all-mightiness of the state. Similar is the case with unreasonable expansion of budget deficit, ever growing national debt and absurd policy directives that are killing the competitiveness of the economy – the cost Soviet Union paid so dearly.

The most ironical question Pravda asked in its editorial is that “how long will the once “Land of the Free” remain the United Socialist States of America?”

Unfortunately with Obama, the United States’ economic sufferings have worsened many times and this has infuriated people to the extreme. The Huffington Post- one of the most popular political news sites in United States with over a dozen local and international editions reported in November that “The White House this week confirmed that residents in all fifty states had submitted petitions asking to leave the union”.

The Post in another news story entitled “Divided States of America: Obama Win Sparks Secession Mania” has detailed the number of digital signatures followed by Secession petition. The Huffington Post has further added that while Texas has submitted such petitions with over 115,212 signatories the others like Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina had petitioned with signatories from more than 52,000 to 29,000.

United States of America or United Socialist States of America

In his re-inauguration speech (January 21, 2013) when President Obama said “We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm”.

Mr. Obama’s inaugural address sounds like a third world leader somewhere in Sub Saharan Africa or South Asia – where people are suffering from abject poverty and some cruelest human deprivation caused by the greed and exploitation of others. The moment he admitted “. . . we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice –- not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice”.

Indubitably, it confirms his commitment to that section of people to whom the state has bigger responsibility but obviously failed to understand that he was leading that country for four years and said nothing on what he did to implement his commitment in concrete terms.

No one can disagree with President Obama that no nation can succeed when a “shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” and his statement over the significance of “rising middle class” cannot be challenged. But since his first inauguration, what he has failed continuously is that he goes on making promises, piling on political rhetoric but barely tries to improve the economy and build its inherent capacity to satisfy his promises. Instead he went on increasing the entitlement budget that is making budget deficits and federal debts shore up with historical records.

Obama reinvented a populist strategy for United States that was followed by former Soviet Union and China prior to Deng. Big promises and a weak economy nowhere works but that only kills the economic growth of the country and also strangulates the inspiration of people to work hard, gain prosperity and achieve development that ultimately pushed millions of people in economic trouble, starvation, famines and state disintegration – a lesson taught by Maoist China and former Soviet Union.

Similar was his remarks during 2009 inauguration that reads “Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many — and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”

O.K. what Obama said can be a fine story in any other part of the globe — but to a country that offers freedom for all to reach at any height that is possible on earth and blaming some people there – indubitably the rich ones with some branded rhetoric and clichés- exclusive for communist leaders in my part of the world, does not stand fair.

For me and other people – a middle class family in one of the poorest country in world that depends upon the worst system of public transport for their daily routine and have to live under 14 hours a day without electricity – have learnt some basic things: you have to produce before you want to consume anything. The pain we are living with is that we produce nothing – not only we produce nothing but we are not making any sincere efforts to make the country and its people produce what they can with the knowledge, skill and resources they have. For this reason my country has remained poorest when two of its neighboring countries are making tremendous fortunes within a period of two or three decades.

For decades we have been listening Obama type rhetoric. Similar was the case with India and China before they adopted the policy of economic liberalization. When both India and China dared to swallow the bitter pills that – a government is judged not with its populist schemes and rhetoric of its leaders that is followed by license and permit raj controlled by the huge and unaccountable bureaucracy in the name of poor and down trodden people but with its performance of its economy with unhindered and abundant opportunity available to innovative and creative mind of the people, they invented a new history for the whole humanity.

Is Obama Creating Poverty or Prosperity?

Obviously, it was the United States – the dream land of all young, energetic and innovative people around the world that teaches the global community that when there is smaller government, low tax rate, better opportunity and incentives for investments, sound system of physical infrastructures and largest number of unmatched educational institutions that creates unlimited creativity among the young and produces the best human capital on the earth – have helped it remain the richest and most powerful country in the world nearly for a century. That is the lesson the country around us whether it is China or India has learnt from the great American people. A little farther from us is South Korea – an impossible country when created and that had a per capita income of just US $ 87 in early sixties – has become an economic powerhouse of our time.

Politics in the name of poor – but without any substantive efforts to support their cause and raise their living standards in a sustained way are the most cowardice political practices prevailing in many part of the world.

When Deng Xiaoping admitted that to get rich is not a sin but a glorious thing and followed a policy to help people grow rich, it created an impossible achievement for the human civilization – that emancipated 400 people from poverty within a period of two decades. According to the projections made by American economist China by 2017 will become the largest economy of the world – pushing United States behind it and it seems Americans instead of trying hard to remain at the top are accelerating their journey to fall and decline and Mr. Obama in a driving seat is leading this fall.

Getting rich at the cost of the poor is a sin and a government has a role to play there – to ensure fair chances to all to earn their riches. But blaming rich people for their lawful income publicly from the highest position of the country and promises to punish them with unjust taxes is a way to weave crisis, poverty, chaos and breakdown of nations.

Unfortunately President Obama has been demonstrating no appetite to learn this big truth.

Citing Congressional Budget Office( CBO) based on official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data Peter Ferrara in Forbes (December 22, 2012) has stated that in 2009 the top 1% of income earners paid 39% of all federal income taxes, three times their share of income at 13%.  On the other hand the middle class earning over some 20% of income paid just 2.7% of total federal income taxes on net that year while earning 15% of income.  Ferrara further states that the top 1% paid almost 15 times as much in federal income taxes as the entire middle 20%, even though the middle 20% earned more income. And lastly the rest of the income earners remaining in the bottom 40 percent of income earners instead of paying some income taxes to the federal government were paid in cash – that was equal to 10 percent of the federal income taxes as a group on net.

According to Peter Ferrara – the director of policy for the Carleson Center for Public policy, a good tax policy is not guided by “need” but by the incentives to maximize economic growth.  He admits that the great lesson the 20th century teaches the humanity is that it is economic growth that benefits the poor, working people and middle class than by redistribution. And for this reason, as United States learnt it and followed it with rapid and sustained economic growth with commitment and courage, the living standard of American workers grew more than seven times.

American experiences over the last five decades have also exhibited that Obama’s tax policy focused mainly on savings and investments will hinder economic growth by discouragement effect to increase investment, enhance productivity, create new jobs and promote competency in labor markets and as a result of this tax rates may be increased but the revenue is likely to fall down miserably.

Reagan, Clinton Obama and Some of the Best and Worst American Presidents

During the 2008 election campaign Barrack Obama claimed that Ronald Reagan was a mere transformative president than Bill Clinton. But a survey by Harris Interactive   conducted in the beginning of 2012 says that of all the U.S. presidents since World War II – one-quarter of Americans said Ronald Reagan is the best president, 19 percent said Franklin Roosevelt while 15 percent believed John F. Kennedy and 12 percent said Bill Clinton. But on the other hand over one-quarter of U.S. adults participated in the survey stated that George W. Bush was the worst president and Barrack Obama just seconded Bush.

When the list was expanded from the beginning, Abraham Lincoln was seen as the best president in history – one-third of Americans voting in his favor. Lincoln was followed by Ronald Reagan and even the first U.S. President – one of the founders of the nation – George Washington stood third.

Obama was similarly unkind to Bill Clinton. On the one hand Obama repeatedly requested Hillary Clinton -the most respected political figure of contemporary United States and the incumbent Defense Secretary Robert Gates – one of the most effective Defense Secretaries – the country ever had to join his administration and secure higher acceptability among the American people. On the other hand, after Hillary Clinton agreed his proposal Barack Obama on December 12, 2008 forced Bill Clinton to sign a “memorandum of understanding” that according to Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy in their acclaimed book – The Presidents Club, was an arrangement most unlikely “between a president and one of his predecessors.”

The memo that the CBS News had obtained from a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member had put restrictions on Bill Clinton to lead the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meetings and stop fund-raising activities and the Clinton Foundation would have to “release the entire list of its donors as long as Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State, it will release its future donors annually”. Under the terms of the MOU, Bill Clinton released a list of its thousands of contributors that have supported Clinton Foundation in areas of activities including funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Similarly Obama was much critical on his immediate predecessor George W Bush, while Bush on the other hand responded that “I love my country a lot more than I love politics” therefore “I think it is essential that Obama be helped in the office”.

What all these say is that in his efforts to claim the tallest position in American history – President Obama not only likes to play a blame game against the wealthier people of America but also against his predecessors to whom the American people are proud of.

Excessive spending strategies of President Obama and the resulting budget deficit has become biggest problem of contemporary America and this is putting it under tremendous budgetary pressures to fulfill its basic commitments to the people and to stand tall to its obligations in favor of its alliances. And regrettably as a result of this the American people have developed a very bad taste in the politics of their country.

A recent USA Today/ Gallup poll revealed that more than three-quarters of Americans (77%) say the way politics works in Washington these days is causing serious harm to the United States, Frank Newport explaining this poll (January 7, 2013) says that it provides “still another indicator of the low esteem in which Americans hold their elected officials and the way the federal government works”. this means a bigger share of this public disrespect goes to President Obama as the top leader of the country.

And when America fails to its economic health and its leaders become most unpopular in American history and majority of American when put up an awful taste in the politics of their land how can United States expects to lead the free world – that it boasts with so loud voice around the world.

Poverty in America will make the world poorer and democracy weaker

America stands as the tower of strength, courage and inspiration for all the freedom loving people on the earth. The open democratic society it has developed, the free economy it has built, the great educational institutions it has established and the wonderful scientific research and technological advancement it has led – has been considered as the greatest and unmatched contribution to the mankind. Therefore a weaker America in all these areas will inevitably weaken the world and no American President has the moral rights to wane its moral authority to lead the free world — that is borne out of its political, economic, educational and to some extent military power.

But America is doing the same. According to report released by the American Census Bureau 46.2 million people among its 300 million populations are in poverty – the highest figure over the last fifty years and that in 2009 when Obama was sworn in was 43.6 million.

Correspondingly, America has highest budget deficit in its history. In 2011 U.S. federal budget deficit reached a record high $ 1.5 trillion and since Obama’s Presidency it was hanging between $ 1.3 to 1.5. But in the last year of Bush administration in 2008 it was just $455 billion. Fortunately in 2012 it was a bit less.

Similarly by now U.S. public debt has reached over 16 trillion but again when he came to Presidency on Jan. 20, 2009 it was just $10.6 trillion. In the last four years has added another $5.4 trillion that according to Fox News is more than Bush piled up in two terms.

Over a quarter of such debt is owed to countries like China, Japan and United Kingdom. Interestingly United States owes one fourth of its foreign debt to China – approximately 10 percent of its total debt – somewhere between one to two years of total American household income. Referring to this situation Greg Wilson has reported that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann during her failed campaign for the GOP presidential nomination joked that when it came to the debt, “Hu’s your daddy,” – a reference to Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The news consortium of the Catholic online – quoting the source of statistics released by the US Treasury Department and the Census Bureau mentions that every household in the US now owes foreign governments about $47,495 and that four years ago was mere 27,000.

In the four years Obama has been in office, household indebtedness to foreign states has increased by $20,000.

May be time has changed a lot, but the basic principles of rule of the economics and fiscal policy has remain unchanged. Renowned economist like Arthur Laffer and Steve Moore have characterized Reagan’s presidency as an era that initiated a twenty five years boom period of American economy –the greatest period of wealth creation in the history of the planet. According to them in 1980, the net worth–assets minus liabilities–of all U.S. households and business was $25 trillion in today’s dollars.  “By 2007 net worth was just shy of $57 trillion.  Adjusting for inflation, more wealth was created in America in the twenty-five year boom than in the previous two hundred years”, they added

Although Obama has been a non starter in increasing productivity, strengthening economy and creating new jobs, he has been the biggest spender and that becomes some 25 percent of the GDP – the highest in American history except for World War II.

Americans have given greatest honor to Barrack Obama. They repeated their trust in him again in the last presidential election and that according to The Economist is “an honour granted only to 16 men before him”. But the same globally acclaimed weekly in its January 26, 2013 issue reported that the “crowds, so the official numbers stated, were half what they were four years ago.”

The writing on the wall is clear Americans with their limited choice voted in his favor, but he was not their dream candidate as he was four years ago. The arrogance he exhibited during his re-inauguration, the terse language he used in his speech and the issues he raised did not do justice to a historical global leader – the man destined for the peace and prosperity of the whole humanity for another four years.

Besides, he is a global leader. Legally there may be 300 million U.S. citizens he is accountable to, but emotionally and morally millions of people who love America and love American values are moral citizens of United States. Therefore, as a mast of American power, prestige, dignity and honor, he is accountable to all those in every corner of the world.

And hence the challenges and problems America faces today are not merely American – they are global and it is mandatory for President Obama to take them seriously and judge them assiduously before taking any actions – how far it affects the people around the world. A man of his stature and power can have no luxury in healing his prejudices rather than offering a bold and humble leadership in solving the tremendous challenge of his time.


About the Author

Keshav Prasad Bhattarai
Keshav Prasad Bhattarai
Keshav Prasad Bhattarai is the former President of Nepal Teachers’ Association,Teachers’ Union of Nepal and General Secretary of SAARC Teachers’ Federation and works as a columnist for the Nepali language daily Annapurna Post. Keshav Prasad Bhattarai has also authored three books -- two of them are about Nepal's Relations with India and one on educational issues.

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