WASHINGTON, DC, January 31, 2013 ― In November, 2008, President Obama made an important promise which he has never quite managed to keep: “we will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible, cost-effective way.”
Obama has not had a budget yet during his presidency. That may have hampered his ability to scrutinize the budget “page by page, line by line” and prevented him from finding and eliminating those unneeded programs. During his reelection campaign, he claimed to have shuttered 77 federal government programs that were obsolete, but he also created 159 brand new bureaucracies within the government, for a net gain of 82, more or less, and added in excess of 16,000 new IRS agents.
Obama recently forged ahead to eliminate two failed federal agencies. One was the office he created to close the prison camp at Guantanamo. The other was his much ballyhooed Jobs Council. Perhaps they should not count, as he created them in the first place, but who can really say what constitutes a promise kept or broken these days?
The Guantanamo office was created specifically to keep Obama’s promise to close the prison camp by January, 2010. Daniel Fried has been hard at work the last four years leading the effort to close Gitmo, but his efforts have been fruitless. The office closed, but Guantanamo continues its operations unabated.
Fried did travel the world extensively. He met with foreign diplomats and received a glowing commendation for his hard work. Based upon his extensive experience in these vital state department functions, we should expect him to be nominated as Secretary of State should his former boss, Hillary Clinton, gain the White House in 2016.
Although unemployment remains stubbornly at the same rate now ‒ 7.8 percent ‒ that it was the day he took office, Obama shut down his Jobs Council today. Perhaps his last meeting with the council nearly a year ago was not as productive as he had hoped, or perhaps it had simply fulfilled its mission and was no longer needed.
Economists are optimistic that the unemployment rate will fall. The percentage of Americans looking for any job at all continues to dwindle. The labor force participation rate has hit an all time low of 63.6 percent; when it falls to 58.5 percent, the unemployent rate will fall to 0.0 percent. At that point Obama might perhaps close the agencies responsible for dealing with the unemployed.
Despite a contracting economy, rising taxes on the middle class, rising health insurance rates for everybody, and non-stop money printing, things are looking great. There are rumors of a possible budget, the stock market is doing well (don’t listen to the rumors about devalued money causing asset prices to rise), and Dr. Obama is hard at work with his cost cutting “scalpel.” Our future has never been brighter.
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