Obama Administration’s delusion personified in Treasury's Jack Lew

As we were preparing for Memorial Day, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was talking crazy to members of Congress. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2013 ― On Friday, May 24, as everyone else was thinking about Memorial Day and preparing to honor our war dead, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew was doing his best to share his delusions with America. In response to questions posed by Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Lew actually said he thinks our government is doing right by us.

The Representative asked, “Mr. Secretary, can you tell us how long it will be before the budget balances?”


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“[President Obama’s] budget would bring the deficit as a percentage of GDP and the debt as a percentage of GDP, back into a sustainable range. If anything, we’re we’re overachieving on deficit reduction right now, in terms of the current year and immediate economic needs.”

Pegging government spending to the GDP number is circular math. Since Gross Domestic Product includes “government spending” as one of its four constituent parts, saying that spending “as a percentage of GDP” is sustainable is ridiculous to even a casual observer. It is deceitful, coming from someone in Lew’s position. It’s nonsense, and he knows better, even if Stutzman (claiming no expertise ― a Congressman’s qualifications are determined at the ballot box, unlike a Secretary’s) doesn’t, or even if Stutzman won’t take the time to call him out on it.

“We’re overachieving on deficit reduction right now.” Yes, he actually said that. Of course, the deficit is huge ― over $1 trillion in the fiscal year that ends on September 30. That follows trillion-dollar deficits every year of Obama’s presidency, a record amount of debt for the country and an overwhelming hurdle for our sons, daughters, and grandchildren, into eternity.

Except our bills need to be paid before “eternity” gets here. They can’t be paid, therefore they won’t be. Further, neither Lew, nor President Obama, nor Speaker Boehner, nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ― in fact, no one who has responsibility for any of this ― has any idea of how to pay back our debt. More importantly, they don’t intend to. That problem will be someone else’s, far down the road, when everyone who should be doing something about it today is riding high on fat pensions.


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Stutzman, though, pressed on. He wanted an answer from Lew. “Can you tell me how long it will be, before the President’s budget balances? …What year should be our goal?” When, when will we start paying our debt, rather than adding to it? This year? Next year? In 2050? When?

Lew’s answer was not just a deflection, it was astounding in its arrogance, and in its implications. “I don’t think that the year is what is most significant. I think that the path we’re on is what’s most significant.”

The path we’re on, Mr. Secretary, is the shortcut to fiscal depravity, disinvestment, destruction, and collapse.

The path we’re on, Mr. Secretary, leads to greater debt; today’s debt of roughly $16.8 trillion isn’t enough for you?

The path we’re on, Mr. Secretary, leads away from prosperity. It leads away from hope: it leads to despair and bankruptcy. It is, sir, the path to national suicide.

The fraudulent path we’re on, Mr. Secretary, if we were operating in the real world, would lead, for you and your predecessors and cronies, to prison. You’re too smart to get off with the otherwise-obvious insanity defense.


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Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

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