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Obama Should Tell the Truth About the American Economy

| September 4, 2016

obama economy nancy smith

President Obama celebrating his birthday on Aug. 4. (White House)

By Nancy Smith

President Obama would have you believe everything about the American economy is rosy. It isn’t. Far from it.  The president and everybody in his administration really must stop talking about how much better off we are today than we were eight years ago.


Here is the disastrous truth:

The national debt hit $19.5 trillion for the first time ever during the week just ending, a little more than seven months after it hit the $19 trillion mark.

By my calculation, $19.5 trillion amounts to $65,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. Or, $260,000 for a family of four.

When President Obama took office in early 2009, the total debt was $10.63 trillion, which means it has nearly doubled on his watch.

In fact, in one day, on Nov. 30, 2014, the national debt increased $32 billion, at that point surpassing the $18 trillion mark.

Keep in mind, Obama was elected in part on the promise of addressing the national debt.

The issue was part of his “hope and change” platform. Here’s what he once said of George W. Bush’s debt:

“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

Of course, Obama was correct about Bush. But then what did he do? He added nearly $10 trillion more to the debt.

The mainstream media most likely will largely ignore this new debt milestone. Despite the fact that virtually every economist in the land will tell you the debt poses the biggest threat to individual Americans, the American economy, and the health and future of the U.S. itself.

Year after year, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) gives the federal government a failing grade in its audit report of America’s financial statements.

In last year’s report, not only did the GAO chastise the federal government for its “unsustainable fiscal path,” but they state that the federal government consistently fails to prepare “reliable and complete financial information — both for individual federal entities and for the federal government as a whole.”

The Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Agriculture are all singled out for their failure to prepare complete and accurate financial statements.

This is corroborated by a report published more than a year ago stating the Defense Department has somehow “misplaced” $8.5 trillion of taxpayer money over the last 20 years.

The GAO cites other material weaknesses in the government’s reporting of supposed cost reductions in Medicare and Social Security.

In all, the GAO calculates that these financial uncertainties total $27.9 trillion, suggesting that the government’s true financial condition is far worse than reported.

Bottom line: As the noted financial blog Zero Hedge writes, “If this were a private company, Barack Obama and (Treasury Secretary) Jack Lew would be wearing dayglo orange jumpsuits in court while facing felony fraud charges.”

It’s not just the $18.2 trillion in negative net worth. Or the $41+ trillion (by their own calculations) in the Social Security shortfall, says the website.

“It’s the fact that they can’t even stand in front of the American people with an honest accounting of how pitiful the financial situation really is.”

What Obama isn’t telling us is, the government of the United States is totally, desperately, hopelessly bankrupt, and grows more insolvent with each passing year.

It reminds me of the old British adage, “I’m all right, Jack,” adopted when we think bad is happening to somebody else, we’ve got it made. If we have have a job and a roof over our head — for now, anyway — we can close our eyes and pretend it isn’t there.

nancy smith sunshine state news columnistNancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News. She started her career at the Daily Mirror and The Observer in London before spending 28 years at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News as managing editor and associate editor. She was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in the mid-1990s. Reach her by email here, or follow her on twitter at @NancyLBSmith.

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23 Responses for “Obama Should Tell the Truth About the American Economy”

  1. Sherry says:

    Ya know what. . . there’s a lot more to our economy than “National Debt” ! There’s a little thing called the “stock market” which is NOW UP! UP! UP! and consistently staying at all time RECORD HIGHS. If you don’t think you invest in the stock market, take a look at your 401K mutual funds.

    Oh and BTW, Nancy’s source “zero hedge” is “noted” alright:

    The site was described by CNNMoney as offering a “deeply conspiratorial, anti-establishment and pessimistic view of the world.”[8] Financial journalists Felix Salmon and Justin Fox have characterized the site as conspiratorial.[9][10] Fox described Ivandjiiski as “a wonderfully persistent investigative reporter” and credited him for successfully turning high-frequency trading “into a big political issue,” but also termed most of the writing on the website as “half-baked hooey,” albeit with some “truth to be gleaned from it.”[10] Tim Worstall described the site as a source of hysteria and occasionally misleading information.[11] Bloomberg Markets noted in 2016 that since its founding in the middle of the financial crisis, “Zero Hedge has grown from a blog to an Internet powerhouse. Often distrustful of the ‘establishment’ and almost always bearish, it’s known for a pessimistic world view. Posts entitled ‘Stocks Are In a Far More Precarious State Than Was Ever Truly Believed Possible’ and “America’s Entitled (And Doomed) Upper Middle Class’ are not uncommon.”[1]

    Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman describes Zero Hedge as a scaremongering outlet that promotes fears of hyperinflation and an “obviously ridiculous” form of “monetary permahawkery.”[12] Krugman notes that Bill McBride of Calculated Risk, an economics blog, has treated Zero Hedge with “appropriate contempt.”[13]

    Lokey, a former paid Zero Hedge writer who left the website in 2016 over disagreements in editorial direction, characterizes the site’s political content as “disingenuous,” summarizing its political stances as “Russia=good. Obama=idiot. Bashar al-Assad=benevolent leader. John Kerry=dunce. Vladimir Putin=greatest leader in the history of statecraft.”[1]

    In December 2012, Bank of America, which had been criticized by the site in the past, blocked its employees’ access to Zero Hedge from BOA servers.[3]

    In September 2009, Zero Hedge had begun drawing more traffic than certain financial websites[6] with 333,000 unique visitors a month.[5] According to Quantcast, in 2012 Zero Hedge had a monthly global traffic of 1.8 million people. In 2016 3.3m.[14] Under the name Tyler Durden, Ivandjiiski was interviewed on Bloomberg Radio[4][15] and Zero Hedge has been quoted in the Columbia Journalism Review.[16]

    Matt Taibbi cites Zero Hedge as having accurately assessed the level of corruption in the banking industry. He questions why mainstream financial media did not earlier detect the corruption at Goldman Sachs.[17]

    Dr. Craig Pirrong, professor at the Bauer College of Business points “I have frequently written that Zero Hedge has the MO of a Soviet agitprop operation, that it reliably peddles Russian propaganda: my first post on this, almost exactly three years ago, noted the parallels between Zero Hedge and Russia Today.”[18][19]

  2. Pogo says:

    Has trump bought this site? Only reason I can see for pernicious drivel like this post; by a tool like Smith: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/10/big-sugar-hiding-in-plain-sight/

    Never mind – the ad from newsmax answered the question. Sad.

  3. Joe says:

    The great deceiver, he also stated how transparent his he would be, Clint was right when he said that Obama is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the american people!!!

  4. Patrick williams says:

    Out of context inconceivable again. During Bush the Second we were spending 11 billion a month on the Wars. And during Obama the congress has refused to re hire aka refund many jobs that would help build bridges roads and reopening Community Policing which helps reduce crime. If we go back to the races we had during Clinton the First who left office with a surplus and we cut the corporate loopholes for offshore investments etc. and on and on and on, all will go down as interest rates rise. Not to worry. Unless the republicans remain in control.

  5. redrum66 says:

    I couldn’t agree more! It’s sickening how everyone from his loyal fans to 90% of the media has covered up his horrible presidency and fall on their swords for him. Even on this forum I completely expect either crickets on this topic or the “tolerant” leftist…. it’s Bush’s and anyone else’s fault that this putrid..anemic so called economic recovery! And while we’re at let’s point out where we gone racially since this half black & half white “obamination” took office. Everyone’s afraid to speak up about how terrorists like George Soros and others are funding hate and chaos in cities across America all in the name of racial justice..yeah because looting your own neighbors businesses and burning them down makes you a hero, well in Obama’s America it does! What about the knockout game, you know the one where young black men sucker punch unsuspecting white victims in the head with the hopes of knocking them out. They must get extra points for old victims because they seem to target the helpless..probably because veterans are also to blame for all the freedom we enjoy. I could go on forever about all the criminal activities that have been allowed and even encouraged under a man who was sworn to protect this country and not just his half but all of us. His presidency was the most appalling in my lifetime and it will take years to undue the damage he has done.

  6. florida native says:

    One of the better articles I have seen written in a while that does not give a one sided view of the democratic party. GOOD JOB!

  7. Lawrence Beighle says:

    Well said!

  8. r&r says:

    For Obama to tell the truth would be challenge. He doesn’t know how . He’s been living a LIE his whole life.

  9. Tired of it says:

    Finally an article published that has some real truth to it about Obama and his disaster of an administration. Like the Donald or not, he is a business man that has the smarts to turn our country around and hopefully get it headed in the right direction. A vote for Hillary is just more of the same and the continued ruination of our once great country. GOD BLESS AMERICA

  10. timothy says:

    My God, a breath of the truth from FlaglerLive. Things must be really bad.

  11. G.W says:

    Obama / Truth

    Now there’s an Oxymoron

  12. A Little Common Sense Please says:

    The national debt is not any presidents fault, exactly. The national debt is due mostly to the Federal Reserve Banks that are privately owned by foreigners under the federal reserve system. This system of banking is corrupt and is designed to control a nations economy through its manipulation of the countries money supply. When these predatory bankers control the money supply of any country, they care not who makes its laws. These bankers control the nation and much of the Worlds banking and money supply. They have moved to consolidate their control over the rest of the nations of the worlds economies and are currently moving to set up a One World Currency money supply controlled by themselves. The federal reserve must go!

  13. snapperhead says:

    it’s easy to bitch about the debt…the same people crying about it will be the same ones crying when their government benefits are cut or terminated. States that vote democratic, for the most part, receive less in federal tax dollars than states that typically vote republican. Republicans talk a good game but when it comes to mooching off the government they’re at the front off the line.

    2016’s Most & Least Federally Dependent States

    https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/

  14. Outsider says:

    I’ve said this before, but the numbers don’t lie. Obama has, in fact been given a zero percent introductory rate credit card. Most of this new debt is financed at short term, sub one percent interest. But they roll over this short term debt into more short term debt, making the actual interest paid reasonable. When inflation picks up to five percent, no one will buy our debt at one percent interest. That’s when the debt bomb explodes. Why do you think they keep balking at rate hikes of a quarter point? First they said they would raise rates when unemployment hit five percent. That didn’t happen. Then they tell us this “great” economy is so fragile it can’t handle a quarter point increase. The real reason is a quarter point rise will significantly raise the actual interest on debt payments. Any significant rise in rates could cripple our ability to pay the interest. That will have to happen, and when it does God only knows what will result. One thing is for sure; the Obama sycophants will be able to point back to his tenure as the good old days, totally oblivious to the fact he is directly responsible for the coming disaster.

  15. Mark says:

    Think the debt is bad, take a look at unfunded liabilities. Then tell me how much each taxpayer is on the hook for. By the way, you can keep your doctor. P.S @Sherry, everybody isn’t in the stock market, can’t afford it. Remember the last crash?

  16. Common Sense says:

    The writer would have us believe that he did this all by himself. Where was the Republican controlled Congress while the debt was increasing? What did they do about it? And how much of that debt increase was the result of eight years of Bush’s failed economic policies? Bill Clinton left us with a surplus and the debt grew under the Bush’s presidencies.

    Which brings us to how Trump intends to pay for a wall, Mexico has already said they won’t pay for, and how he would fund his immigration storm troopers.

  17. Veteran says:

    Nancy Smith usually is liberal. It’s funny how a few liberal commenters go against her when she writes FACTS that make Obama look bad. You can’t have it both ways!

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Veteran, Nancy Smith is the conservative editor of the conservative Sunshine State News. She would furiously dispute being termed a liberal.

  18. Outsider says:

    Common Sense, the Republicans did try to put the brakes on spending, but the Dems accused them of trying to shut down the government, and that would have forced them out of power, a position from which they could do nothing to control spending. That was a perfect example, along with Greece, of what happens when governments try to institute austerity measures: the people don’t like it. That leaves a few other options, including outright default, which, particularly for our government is not an option. Tax increases are unpopular as well. That leaves one option that the people are too stupid to understand and therefore willingly accept: keep interest rates very low and stoke inflation. The government keeps rates artificially low, to finance massive deficits and attempts to keep inflation higher than the interest rates yet not so high as to provoke public outcry. Over time, this ensures that you and I will pay for the debt, through inflation. Many retirees are paying for the debt right now through very low interest rates on their retirement savings, and current savers will have much less for their retirements. They will also force many to comply by making laws that will make it difficult to invest overseas and restrict investment in precious metals. Hence, we are paying the price for government overspending right now, and will continue to do so for decades to come. It’s not simply a problem for future generations to deal with. It’s here.

  19. Sherry says:

    Thanks Common Sense. . . you are soooooo right on!

  20. Just me says:

    Today’s sell off in the stock market shows just how it is a fauls thing to use as a sign of a good economic condition in this once great Republic. With only the word of a SLIGHT raise in intrest rates from all time unrealistic lows.

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