Treasury Secretary Lew: Stop lying to the American people

Since January 2009, the federal government has thrown money out the window then burned it once it hit the ground. Photo: wikicommons

NEW YORK, October 10, 2013 — The United States has reached a “Dragnet” moment—we deserve facts, Jack.

Though the federal government shamelessly closed websites housing essential historical statistics on October 1, those of us with a pulse understand the terrifying fiscal and monetary trajectory set from 2009 forward.


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You Democrats and enabling Republicans are unrepentant spendthrifts, addicted to easy money.

What tricks are you now trying to foist upon the public?

Since January 2009, the federal government has thrown money out the window then burned it once it hit the ground. Starting with spending for non-existent “shovel ready jobs,” your Administration bilks taxpayers and future generations blithely and continuously.

Federal spending under President Obama’s watch soared upwards from 2007 levels by approximately one trillion dollars each subsequent year. This huge increase funds ineffective and “extraordinary stimulus” outflows that the Obama Administration apparently seeks to lock in as a permanent, growing base even as we unwisely shrink our military.


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In the end, you shall be stopped and your legacy in history is the kind of ignominy future generations will do level best to avoid.

Billionaires, millionaires, and ordinary folk in the private sector are supposed to cut back but the only trillionaire on the planet, the federal government, gets to spend with unchecked and reckless abandon.

Meanwhile, in kitchens across America, belts are tight and growing tighter.

Yet, in bloated and badly wounded Washington D.C., you and civil “servants” refuse to do what you force the people to do every day and that is cut right to the bone,

For the record Mr. Secretary, slowing the rate of growth in federal spending is not a “cut”.

Some day soon, America will have to achieve a large surplus so we can pay down the monstrous debt that has doubled under President Obama’s “leadership.”

The cold truth is that U.S. government financial statements do not reflect underlying reality. The Federal government, unlike publicly traded corporations, does not carry all of its actual liabilities within its annual estimates of spending and income.

Moreover, the global financial markets functions now only because the Federal Reserve System engages in behavior that would be manifestly illegal were private market participants involved.

The chief reason that markets for U.S. Treasuries trade at current prices is that an already over-leveraged, incurious, and dependent Fed purchases new issues of U.S. government debt at “par”— a price certainly above “fair” value.

The Federal Reserve System is today a shell-shocked buyer of last resort for high-risk U.S Government debt obligations.

Is it truly prudent to concentrate so much of the Fed’s assets in securities of one government that evidently cannot approach control?

Is it actually wise to force entities that the Fed ultimately regulates to use tough, accrual-based accounting while letting the Fed employ “mark-to-myth” accounting principles?

You, like previous Administrations, refuse to demand audited financial statements for combined banks that comprise the Fed.

The estimates you do furnish are prepared using aggressive and questionable assumptions.

Even with benefit of these, the Fed’s balance sheet is now stretched tauter than Lehman’s was back in 2008.

Albert Einstein observed “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I am not sure about the universe.”

Though Americans as a group are more ignorant than most concerning mathematics, finance, and budgets, we are not all stupid.

You think you sound wise and prudent, you are actually living embodiment of clear and present financial danger. Put simply, just because you say something sternly does not make it so.

You are the most senior U.S. Government official guarding this once great nation’s finances.

For your latest statements and arguments, you should be red-faced, ashamed, and unable to sleep in peace. Yet, like the serial dissemblers who sit with you around the Cabinet table and work with those pulling strings behind the scene, you evidently count on the unfortunate reality that “lies travel half way around the world before truth has a chance to catch up.”

Yes, Mr. Secretary, you serve the people from a lofty perch in one branch of Federal government—but it is one equal branch of three and most certainly not first among equals. Another branch has a Senate in Democrat hands but in matters of the purse, the Senate is inferior to our House of Representatives.

You should plan now for a much more hostile legislature in both chambers come November 2014.

Some 41 years before the Declaration of Independence, famed lawyer Andrew Hamilton argued eloquently on behalf of Peter Zenger who stood accused of libel:

Power may justly be compared to a great river which, while kept within its due bounds is both beautiful and useful; but when it overflows its banks, it is then too impetuous to be stemmed, it bears down on all before it and brings destruction and desolation wherever it comes. … nature and the laws of our country have given us a right—the liberty—both of exposing and opposing arbitrary power…by speaking and writing the truth.”

In the end, your dominion will fall faster and farther than England’s did over the American colonies.

Rest assured Mr. Secretary, you and your ilk face an appointment in November 2014—nothing then will stand between you and swarms of people who will toss incumbents in both parties out on their ears.

Your arguments concerning the debt ceiling are a pack of lies—your colleagues long ago lost touch with the financial reality that is daily life for most Americans.

You, sir, have forgotten who works for whom.

Congressional opponents of despotism practiced under your watch are not committing “economic treason.”

You are.


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Charles Ortel

Charles Ortel became a lapsed member of the silent majority in August 2007 when he began alerting the public to dangers posed by structural changes in the global economy. Since then, Charles has appeared in the print, radio and television media with increasing frequency. Brass Tacks will attempt to offer non-partisan perspective on factors contributing to the unresolved, burgeoning crisis and discuss potential solutions. Graduated from Horace Mann School, Yale College and Harvard Business School, Charles tries to learn each day.  

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