National Debt Missing from Trump’s SOTU

National Debt Missing from Trump’s SOTU
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

I dutifully watched Donald Trump deliver his State of the Union speech on January 30. The president did a fine job expressing his thoughts about what his leadership had accomplished during his first year, and what he would like to accomplish in the immediate future.

Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.

I liked all the introductions of heroes large and small. The female helicopter pilot who rescued many, the Forest Service officer whose bravery saved lives, and Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) whose successful recovery from being shot at a baseball field last year was very good news. There were more of these special introductions of remarkable individuals, and each was a good break in what can be termed a tedious bit of oratorical excess.

During another departure from governmental matters, Mr. Trump dwelled briefly on the conduct of good Americans when saluting the flag, and when they “stand for the National Anthem.” Without doubt, he used the opportunity to condemn – without naming any – professional football players who have made a habit of kneeling rather than standing during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” What he said was welcomed by supporters but it didn’t address the nation’s biggest problem.

What is that “biggest problem?” I found the speech terribly disappointing in that the President chose to ignore the enormous national debt, now at $20.6 trillion. He avoided the topic while announcing his intention to spend additional billions for infrastructure, the military, the fight against opioids, continued foreign aid, and more. He delighted in noting that his prodding led Congress to approve a new tax measure that would have the government’s receipts shrink by $1.5 trillion. Where the government’s funds will come from to make up this shortfall, and previously accumulated indebtedness, wasn’t mentioned.

Six years ago, Admiral Mike Mullen who had been Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff summarized this very real problem as it existed six years ago. He stated: “A nation with our current levels of unsustainable debt cannot hope to sustain for very long its superiority from a military perspective, or its influence in world affairs.” Correct! But that was six years ago and the problem has only worsened.

It would be easy to produce a list of scary figures about the debt currently endangering our nation’s very existence. I’ll present only one: U.S. debt held by foreign countries totals $6.4 trillion, one trillion of which is held by Comunist China. Does the United States still possess any clout to deal with China’s clear intention to expand its influence worldwide? Our leaders can pontificate all they want about military might, but reckless spending has produced a situation where China holds more cards in the potentially deadly game of international politics.

The Democrats chose Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) to offer a rebuttal to President Trump’s speech. In effect, Kennedy told his audience, including large numbers of television viewers, that he would spend even more federal dollars. And he, too, never mentioned the threat posed by indebtedness. As for working together with members of the “other party,” he mentioned a sign held up by one of the marchers cheering the Democratic agenda. It said, “Build a wall and my generation will tear it down.” So much for working together with Republicans. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies remarked, about the Trump speech, “The Democrats are going to be even less disposed to do anything the President suggests, even if it’s in their interest.”

The share of the enormous debt per American is $63,000; per each American family $170,000. Our nation’s partners in crime, the Federal Reserve and the federal government, allow more dollars to be created out of thin air. Those freshly made dollars derive their worth by stealing the value of all existing dollars. That why prices go up for food, rent, fuel, and everything else. Not only is debt robbing our nation’s ability to act in its own interests; it is subjecting all Americans to domination by our central government.

Ignoring the consequences of national indebtedness isn’t good leadership. Refusing to tell the American people they are being victimized by it is unconscionable.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


What Altered Reality is President Obama In?

What Altered Reality is President Obama In?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama managed repeatedly to avoid reality. Simply stated, his performance as chief executive has harmed America. He ended his speech with the claim that “the State of our Union is strong.” Many Americans disagree. One clear measure of that disagreement is the powerful showing of a candidate seeking to succeed him who employs the slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Americans who support this candidate, and others as well, believe that our nation’s greatness isn’t strong.

In his speech, the President pointed to the nation’s “broken immigration system.” He has had seven years to fix it but, as he himself admitted, it’s still broken.

He called again for a raising the minimum wage, as if such a task fits within his job description. Sound thinking economists insist that arbitrarily forcing employers to pay higher wages discourages hiring, especially among the youth.

He took credit creating “14 million new jobs.” But whatever wealth-creating jobs have opened up aren’t the product of any government magic. Real jobs get created despite the taxes, regulations and bureaucratic control government creates.

He patted himself on the back for cutting the rate of unemployment when the figures regularly given by government don’t count the many would-be workers who have given up looking for a job.

He claimed the “No Child Left Behind” educational program had improved education. Reality shows it to be another failed scheme forced on the schools by the federal government.

The president’s cheers for solar and wind power failed to mention the tax breaks and subsidies the government provides for such industries. Even more, he skirted the fact that the combined product of both of these energy sources adds up to a mere one percent of what is needed to power our nation.

He took credit for cutting imports of foreign oil when those cuts really resulted from discovery by private enterprise of new domestic sources and new methods of obtaining previously unavailable oil and natural gas.

He insisted that our nation’s “standing around the world” has improved in the years he’s been in office, and he termed any disagreement with such a boast “political hot air.” The reality is that respect for America has declined substantially with him at the helm.

He claimed it is a “lie” to believe that radical Islamists spring from a reading of Islam’s holy books. While it surely is true that most Muslims don’t seek to implement some of the directives appearing in their basic creed, a minority does take what they find literally. And they act accordingly.

He urged acceptance of the dangerous Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new form of entanglement that will surely lead to surrendering hard-won independence just as European nations have surrendered theirs to the European Union.

He congratulated himself for steering the nation into climate change agreements. Yet the number of competent scientists who strongly disagree with the need for such action continues to grow.

Near the beginning of his speech, Mr. Obama praised America’s “commitment to the rule of law.” But, like numerous predecessors, he employs executive orders to make law, a horrendous flouting of the rule of law. He also sanctions sending our military into war without a constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. And he does nothing to abolish unconstitutional departments of energy, education, medicine, housing, and more. The rule of law has virtually disappeared.

Missing completely from his address, however, was any mention of the enormous national debt that will almost double during his presidency ($10.9 billion in 2009 to $20 billion when he leaves in 2017). Indebtedness that grows daily can alone destroy this nation.

The state of the union isn’t “strong.” It is weak and getting weaker. And much of the blame for this growing weakness can be laid on Barack Hussein Obama.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.