Skip to comments.If Only D'Souza Were Right (from the Austrian School)
Posted on 09/02/2012 10:49:10 PM PDT by Arec Barrwin
If Only D'Souza Were Right
Mises Daily: Monday, September 03, 2012 by Gary North
by Gary North
2016: Obama's America
I went to see 2016: Obama's America. Dinesh D'Souza wrote, stars in, directed, narrates, and did the original research for it. If we look at this from the point of view of its success as a documentary, I think it is effective. It is making money in theaters. This is amazing for a documentary. It is a campaign-year documentary, and it is a good one.
It is also dead wrong. That is because it misses the fundamental political fact of the last dozen years: the Obama administration is the operational successor of the Bush administration. In Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo, on Wall Street, Barack Obama is George W. Bush in blackface. Obama is the star of a 21-century minstrel show.
This fact has been deliberately ignored for almost four years by both the neoconservative Right and the grin-and-bear-it Left. Neither side will admit what I regard as the fundamental fact of this documentary. It is a long whitewash of the policies of George W. Bush. The On-Budget Deficit
If you understand this early, you can see it in what is by far the best section of the movie. It appears at the end. It is an interview with the ever-eloquent David Walker, who resigned in 2008 from his job as comptroller general senior accountant of the United States.
This date is crucial: the last year of the Bush administration.
I need to make three observations. First, the deficit is vastly worse than the movie portrays. The movie sticks with the nonissue: the on-budget debt of $15 trillion, which is chump change, while never mentioning the central problem: the $222 trillion present value of the unfunded liabilities of the off-budget deficit, meaning the deficits of politically sacrosanct Social Security and Medicare. This is the heart of the federal government's highly entertaining Punch and Judy show over the deficit, with Paul Ryan as Punch and Obama cross-dressing as Judy.
Second, Walker has spent years warning the public about the unsustainable increase of the on-budget federal debt. He was eloquent on camera. But, central to that presentation is the fact that he blamed George W. Bush as much as he blamed Obama. He says on camera that the turning point on the deficit began with Bush's presidency. He showed that we are headed for a fiscal disaster, and it may overtake us during the presidency of whoever is elected in 2016.
In terms of the on-budget deficit, Obama's administration is an extension of Bush's. Dinesh D'Souza
Miss this, and you miss the whitewash. This documentary is an implicit whitewash. It relies on an assumption, namely, that we are not dealing in 2012 with a single political administration, which began in January 2001. Sadly, we are.
The key to understanding this is Timothy Geithner, who was the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank (privately owned) in 2008, and is the secretary of the Treasury now. He does not appear in the documentary.
Third, neither Walker nor D'Souza mentions on-screen what should be the obvious constitutional fact namely, that it is the Congress that legally initiates all spending bills, and it is the House of Representatives that holds the hammer constitutionally. There was not one word in the movie about the Congress of the United States as being constitutionally in authority over the budget of the United States government. How in the world could anyone make a documentary that focuses at the very end on the central problem that the country faces, and then try to pin the tail on Obama as the donkey?
We are living in a bipartisan, congressionally mandated, slow-motion train wreck. The Congress of the United States could stop Obama today as easily as it could have stopped Bush. Congress is not interested in stopping the deficit; it is interested in avoiding all responsibility for the annual $1.2 trillion on-budget disaster that is the federal budgetary process.
The fiscal killer of killers in Bush's administration was never mentioned: the prescription-drug law that Bush signed in 2003. The vote was close in Congress. If he had vetoed it, it would never have passed. Instead, he turned the signing into a pageant. He brought in thousands of seniors to witness it. He announced: "You are here to witness the greatest advance in health care coverage for America's seniors since the founding of Medicare."
This sell-out to Teddy Kennedy (who refused to attend), added at least $8.7 trillion to the unfunded liability of Medicare. Yet it is never mentioned in the documentary. Instead, the documentary focuses on Obamacare, whose burden is mainly on the private sector and actually relieves some of the Medicare payments. In any case, that law was really Pelosicare. She was the ramrod. The documentary has one brief segment on her. It skips the point: bad as that law is, she was far more responsible for it than he was.
A related thing that bothers me intensely is the fact that the documentary tries to pin the bad economy on Obama. The bad economy should be pinned on Alan Greenspan, with considerable help from his successor.
To suggest that the president of the United States has the power to make the economy worse to imply that he also has the power to make the economy terrible. He has limited power either way, unless he drags us into a war. Bush dragged us into two wars.
Ron Paul always was right for 36 years in not pointing to the president as the main economic problem, but rather the Federal Reserve System. So, any documentary that does not go after the Federal Reserve when it talks about economic problems but blames the president instead, and also ignores Congress, is doing the general public an enormous disservice. It keeps the Federal Reserve in the background in the thinking of the viewers, when the Federal Reserve ought to be in the foreground, with the presidency in the background. This is basic economics. D'Souza does not know what he is talking about with respect to economics.
yes he has some good points but overall it sounds like whining
Of course, it’s Bush’s fault.
Miss this, and you miss the whitewash. This documentary is an implicit whitewash. It relies on an assumption, namely, that we are not dealing in 2012 with a single political administration, which began in January 2001. Sadly, we are.
By tracing the start of the budgetary nightmare to 2001 and the Bush administration, North jumps the shark. The fiscal insanity began long, long before Bush.
Clearly still scratching my head why our former president never appeared at the Republican convention. I've never seen anything like it. My liberal co-workers joke about it at work.
Yup. Try Kennedy.
Bush certainly didn’t do anything to stop it, especially TARP and the bailouts.
He is the guy in charge .... why keep shifting the blame? Bush screwed up and now Obama screws up even worse. They are both screw ups! Obama knew what he was getting into and fought really hard to get the job. His promises and results did not happen. Get rid of him and give someone else a shot. Thats about all we can do for now. If you or I screw up at work, do we get to blame the last guy? No .... WE GET FIRED!
He misses the point of the documentary , which is the psyche of the engineer now driving this runnaway truck. Romney will try, successfully or not,to put the brakes on. Obama will press the pedal to the metal, until it comes to the inevitable bend on the road.
People forget that FDR’s New Deal, was more or less merely a continuation of policies already enacted under Hoover.
Just as Obama merely continued Bush’s policies for the most part.
Whatever you’re smoking, take it easy.
Yes, it began with LBJs guns and butter approach. Trying to run the war in Vietnam and his Great Society at the same time. By the Spring of 1968. we had run out of money. It was the looming liquidity crisis which, more than the Tet debacle, that persuaded Johnson not to send more troops to Asia. Seeing the hand-writing on the wall, he bailed out, and left the mess to Nixon. Nixon had the choice of suddenly abandoning the South Vietnamese and beginning a withdrawal.But he also did little to slow the social spending, and so he had to abandon the existing currency arrangement that been in effect since 1945. Since then we have been dealing with fiat money.
Yes, but WHAT HE IS LEAVING OUT is that while he blames President Bush, he admits that DEMOCRATS in House and Congress pushed these bills through.
When was TARP and the bailouts?
Yeah, but that wouldn't help the author prove his point (nor make money).
This author doesn't mention the 'mess' that Clinton handed to Bush. Maybe he's too young to remember.
Monday is empty chair day. Pass the word.
Many propositions in this article are absolutely correct. I haven’t seen the movie, but I did read and promote “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”. I totally agree with the book. Everyone (almost) ignores the fact that Bush’s last two years of his second term were dominated by a National Socialist Democrat Party Congress, which resisted Bush’s attempts to control Fanny May and Freddie Mack, leading to the meltdown which was caused by fast-food affirmative action home loan LAWS.
D’Souza was NOT dead wrong, he was dead on regarding what was in the book. I will have to respond more later, it’s getting too late for me now.
At the end of Bush's term. Those legislative actions arguably helped to keep the illusion of economic viability alive, at least so far. Obviously, there was no "Plan B" and there still isn't.
But FDR continued Hoover's policies? And Ubama continued Bush's? That's like comparing a kid playing with matches to a maniac spraying a village with napalm. Sorry, no sale.
we have been dealing with fiat money since the Bank of the United States
Regardless of how BAD Bush was.... he is NOT a Moslem influenced foreigner who has anti-american and anti-colonialism as the root motive for his actions. The Neo-cons are jerks and corrupt as hell, but they ARE still Americans. D’Souza IS right about that.
Public service had become Public? Serve US!
Bingo! You have a winner here Matthew.
When the ‘RATs went in to control Congress in January 2007 unemployment was 4.2.
You really have to be stuck on stupid to think that Obama is just a continuation of the George W. Bush regime. The differences are greater than any two administrations in American history.
Never a fan of Bush, but if you look at Bush’s first four years where he had to deal with the recession he inherited and 9/11 and two wars simultaneously, he still never ran up $1.5 trillion deficits a year like Obama.
If he wants to attack Bush for prescription drug entitlements, no child left behind, amnesty for illegals and other left-wing compassionate conservative BS, that is his right, but that doesn’t mean Obama isn’t responsible for his own record.
Why do people always compare presidents?
Presidents are responsible for their own records.
Just because Bush sucked, Obama doesn’t get a pass for sucking worse.
Bush was a big spending, pro-amnesty RINO on economics but the problems did not start the day GW Bush became President as Gary North is trying to say, or did say.
Yep, Nixon took us out of Bretton Woods in 71. Nixon's policies were hard-core Statist. Nixon believed first in government.
Liberty and limited government were as much an anathema to Nixon as any far-left Rat today.
Thanks a lot Nixon for your stupid EPA idea. I despise 99.9999 % of all politicians. They are mostly scum of the Earth. Reagan was the only Constitutional respecting President in the past 80 years.
Let us assume that you are an honest and conscientious up-and-coming young politician who manages to win election to a district which might go either way and you become a representative in the United States Congress. If you want to do the right thing, your first problem is you must buck the structure of your own party.
The structure of your own party is determined by Representatives who have attained authority and responsibility by virtue of their survivability and tenure. They learned that if they permit their party to be painted as the party without compassion, that is the party of fiscal responsibility, the party loses power and they themselves risk losing their sinecure. So the leadership of the Republican Party is disinclined to suffer Mavericks in the ranks and certainly disinclined to permit the party to become tainted with the real essence of reform. They know the Democrats will quite literally charge them with throwing grandma over the Cliff. They know the donors of their own party expect the preferences of corporate welfare. They know the consequences of governing responsibly. Every pressure in Washington makes them disinclined to do so.
Their disinclination is reinforced by the fact that they know that they will not get an even chance in the media. They know they will be depicted to the electorate as mean-spirited. They know the media will seek out and concentrate on some diversionary topic such as the misbehavior of one of their members, and so indoctrinate the electorate that they will throw the election against those who advocate fiscal responsibility.
So you as a young and up and coming libertarian reformer are very soon faced with the choice of crying in the wilderness or becoming a careerist. The system is so strong that virtually everyone goes along to get along.
Senators and the President face similar structural problems.
Ultimately we should think about pointing the fingers at ourselves because we are the ones who make ourselves susceptible to pandering, payoffs, and propaganda.
There is, after all, a school of thought that says that in a democracy the people ultimately get the government they deserve.
Signed the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 on December 23, 1913
Launched the 16th Amendment in June, 1909.
FDR did a lousy job New Dealing. He spent and spent and continuously changed courses keeping business off balance.. Sound Familiar? Hoover was bad and his incessant tinkering with the economy surely caused problems, FDR caused and sustained the Depression for at least eight years longer than if he had done nothing.
Most of North's points are reasonable, but the deficit was almost nonexistent when Pelosi took over the Speaker ship in 2007. Bush and his new tone always prevented him from stopping the bleeding by VETO. He failed, O’Bumbler did far more damage.
One p[oint as to the Wars. Bush received over whelming Biparisan approval from congress to go into Afghanistan AND Iraq. Sometimes being the hyper power REQUIRES that belligerent countries pay the price. The wars where fine, The hanging around trying to salvage mentally ill societies from their own desire to live like 12th century idiots was the problem. Get in kill as many as you can, get out. Rinse & Repeat as necessary.
Clearly still scratching my head why our former president never appeared at the Republican convention. I’ve never seen anything like it. My liberal co-workers joke about it at work.
I tell my Liberal friends that when it comes to spending, (and spending is our most problematic symptom), Bush was a Liberal. He never vetoed any spending, until some minor things late in his second term.
Therefore, Obama is not the opposite of Bush - he’s Bush in a hurry. Obama is Bush on steroids. So if you hated Bush, you must REALLY loathe Obama.
Is he counting the expansion of Medicaid at the state level or merely looking at the federal spending side?
Between the Income Tax and the Federal Reserve I think we can lay the planting of the seed of our present debacle at the feet of Woodrow Wilson (despite his constitutionally having nothing to do with it and it being proposed under Teddy Roosevelt).
Amen, you are preaching to the choir.
Dear old Dad always said, "Once the parasites outnumber the hosts, it's all over."
Of course, it was inevitable that the parasites would eventually outnumber the hosts. This is because natural political gravity dictates that the path of least resistance to re-election is to create more and more victims and parasites from whom to purchase votes (using fiat money from IOUs stashed in the "other people's" immense, completely devoid of honest accounting, and hopelessly complex, treasury). It was always only a matter of time before the parasites outnumbered the hosts.
America has committed suicide.
You are correct.
Everyone wants to blame them, they, he, it, “the system”, a conspiracy or just say that is just how the world is. But the world is made up of people, “the people” is made up of individuals... us!
Instead of trying to evade responsibility for the state of the world by waving a hand vaguely and dismissively, we should start by admitting that we are part of it. If we can admit that then we admit that we can change it, even if only in a small way.
Once we are rid of Obama in the White House, we can get back to blaming Bush, and maybe with Ryan in the picture, we can start fixing things. While it is the “economy stupid,” there is much more about Obama that makes him dangerous, not the least of which is the fact the media won’t investigate him. We need to dethrone the media god.
I think one lesson we must learn from the first Iraq war and from Viet Nam is that if one goes to war one must resolve to win.
When I say win I mean in the sense that we won in WW II against Germany and Japan. We totally destroyed the enemys ability and desire to wage war.
Another lesson of WW II is the occupation of the conquered countries and the pacification. De-Nazification in particular. We need to de Islamify these countries.
To accomplish this in Iraq and Afghanistan would probably require the US to surrender some of our ideas such as permitting the Muslims in these countries unfettered religious freedom. We need to impose a more liberal form of Islam on the inhabitants of these countries; perhaps forcing a reformation on the Muslims.
What we probably need here is a new era of Colonization in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I sit corrected.
GW Bush deficit wasn’t all that bad until a treason congress was elected in 2006. At that point he had to bribe them to get the Win in Iraq. Reagan had the same problem.
When discussing a 222 trillion dollar debt over some interval of time, you have to also mention some estimate of the US production over the same interval, or you have to discuss the assets. US GDP is about 15 trillion each year, without inflation. US taxation tends to be about 20%, or three trillion a year. If the US is put back onto the path to growth, then we can begin to make progress. If we continue with significant unemployment, then we don’t make progress, and the debts can’t be paid.
The problem is unemployment. If the economy grows, which means that business people have sound money and reasonable expectation that they will make and keep significant profits, then we will grow. Further, so long as we have a stinky economy, the birth rate will slow.
The foolishly high rate of taxation discourages growth, discourages employment, and increases government spending.Further, low birth rates make it more difficult to grow the economy.
The government programs are wasteful and inefficient, and should be reduced. Reducing them will encourage growth, and increase birth rates. Win Win.
Just as FDR just followed and amplified Herbert Hoover’s progressive Republican policies, Obama followed and amplified George W. Bush’s Compassionate Conservatism.
“Barack Obama is George W. Bush in blackface”. , I couldn’t agree more. GWB was so compassionate, not like the rest of us conservatives.
The elites arrogantly dismiss the masses and seek to avoid submitting their plans to Democratic processes. By way of illustration he points to the European Union which is a construct designed to favor intellectual and economic elites at the expense of local democracy.
We see much the same thrust here in America. We see the Democrat party professing fealty to the common man, especially the common man of color or the common woman, while it actually diabolically contrives to set one group against another to circumvent democracy.
We see the Republicans in frustration moving away from democracy in many areas. When common sense cries out to close military bases, we junk our democratic system and appoint committees. When we need to manage our credit system, we pass responsibility and power over to an unelected, unaudited, unresponsible, National Bank. When it comes time to halt deficit spending before we are hurled over the cliff, we pass a continuing resolution.
My bias is to the effect for government to work it must ultimately be responsible to the people-it must be some sort of democracy (with the rule of law). In order for a government to be a democracy it must be submitted to the people. In order for democracy to work people must be educated, enlightened, and involved.
Our system is designed to keep the electorate ignorant, uninvolved, and bigoted in the sense that they prejudge. The only responsible course is to go after the root causes of government failure. And that is not only a daunting but a overwhelmingly comprehensive challenge.
Barack Obama is George W. Bush in blackface.
It’s more like he’s Bush on steroids.
"Does Obama really hate America?" (Duh! Does a bear **** in the woods?)
Dinesh DSouza found in the United States a land of opportunity: Free from Indias repressive caste system, here was a nation where the native of Mumbai could determine his own destiny, a land where a poor boy could actually improve his lot in life through education and hard work. To him, it was like being loosed from the chains of bondage.
Could this anti-colonialist loathing for the wealthy nations of the West explain Obamas apology tours? His odd choice in the first 40 days of his administration to return to England a bust of Winston Churchill, the man who crushed Kenyas Mau Mau independence uprising in the 1950s and allegedly was responsible for torturing Obamas grandfather? His State Departments policy-reversing urging of negotiations between Argentina and the U.K. over the fate of the Falkland Islands?
And since Barack Obama Sr. was an anti-colonialist in the extreme, whose radical rhetoric made DSouzas pops pale in comparison, could those same views have penetrated the perspective of Obama Jr., author of Dreams from My Father?
These mind-bending questions presented in DSouzas surprise hit movie 2016: Obamas America suggest Obamas political opponents may have been looking at him all wrong rather than a leftwing socialist, the movie suggests, Obama could simply be a closet anti-colonialist.
I was trying to fit Obama into American history, the movie explains, instead of into his own history.
Oh, but theres nothing simple about having an anti-colonialist in the Oval Office.
If DSouza is right that Obama has concealed a raging anti-colonialist worldview in a false cloak of Ivy-league liberalism, then many of the Internets wildest rumors could prove legitimate: Obama actually would want to see the U.S. economy crumble; his budget cuts and nuclear reduction drive really would be at attempt to undermine the U.S. as a world superpower; his push for global warming initiatives really could be just a way of forcing developed countries to pay undeveloped nations billions in reparations; and well, really he would hate America.
As Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum said in an interview in the film, [Obama] doesnt want the influence of the U.S. to expand, and thats a strange thing for a U.S. president.
As the movie points out, anti-colonialism in the White House would dramatically affect a presidents foreign policy: He would show sympathy for the Palestinians, for example, as the poor neighbors to Israeli occupiers; he would show animosity toward the British Empire; he would seek to redistribute the wealth and power of Western nations around the world; he would resent any superpower and weaken it militarily.
Economically, he would increase his countrys indebtedness to the rest of the world, stop the U.S. from developing natural resources like oil, for example and encourage, say, South American nations to drill instead. He might even demand the U.S. stop leading the world in, say, space exploration, and build up the scientific communities of third world nations instead.
Of course, as 2016: Obamas America points out, Obama has already done all these things.
daunting and demoralizing in scope
Just me against the tsunami.... *gulp*