The President Takes his First Sip of Tea

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Chriss Street

Chriss Street

The following is a guest view by OC Treasurer Chriss Street

The President Takes his First Sip of Tea

Candidate Barack Obama famously said: “Americans… still believe in an America where anything’s possible – they just don’t think their leaders do.” At the time, candidate Barack Obama saw himself as a transformational figure to bury the last vestiges of Ronald Reagan’s supply-side economics and usher in a nirvana of the progressively managed economy and a collaborative foreign policy. With U.S. unemployment now 30% higher than when he took office, and American combat deaths running 13% higher than his predecessor; it is President Obama who is being transformed to a pro tax-cut populist moderate.

President Obama’s $3.8 trillion dollar stimulus failure ignited the Tea Party movement, which may be the most significant political backlash since President Hoover’s trade-killing, Smott-Hawley Tariff plunged the world into the Great Depression. Fortunately for President Obama, he can wake up every morning and read his tea leaves in the form of overnight polling from consummate professions, such as the Rasmussen Report and Pew Research Center. What he saw last week was the implosion of his party’s lead in voter identification for the first time since this type of polling began:

Political Party Identification

Identification              1988    1992    2000    2008    2010
Republican                   33           30       30            33       36
Democrat                     33           37        38            42       35
Independent                 34         33        32            25       29

Tea Party movement “patriots” tend to describe themselves in the following terms: “Normal everyday working people who are fed up with having to balance their family budgets while Congress and the lawyers in Washington, D.C., cook up ways to tax the living daylights out of us and then hire thousands of IRS hooligans to come to our homes and hit us over the head with their tax and- spend billy-clubs.” For a year the Democrats attacked the Tea Party patriots as a right-wing fringe element that are out of touch with mainstream Americans; while Republicans tried to hijack the conservative Tea Party logo to mask their own nasty deficit spending addiction.

President Obama’s compromise with Congress fully embraces the populist Tea Party mantra of restraining government intervention and letting the private sector create jobs. All the Bush tax cuts are extended for 2 years, business can now expense 100% of capital equipment purchases in the current year, personal Social Security tax withholding is cut by 2%, the rise of the Alternative Minimum Tax is delayed and the length of the unemployment benefits extension is curtailed.

The President’s rating of voters strongly approving versus strongly disapproving his policies had hit an all-time low of -19% late last week; down by -47% from +28% when he was inaugurated. Bad luck with rising unemployment,nuclear saber rattling by North Korea and Iran, daily Wiki Leak exposures shredding his foreign policy initiatives and literally getting his teeth kicked in and taking 12 stitches on the basketball court seemed to pound the young President from every direction. When the evening news interviewed basketball legend Charles Barkley about the injury, he commented: “He’s a lefty, he always goes left.”

With irrelevancy looming, the President has shocked the Nation and taken a hard libertarian turn toward the Tea Party Movement. The President’s poll numbers leapt in a positive direction immediately, with his negatives down by almost one third. A grinning and newly confident Commander and Chief stood proudly in front of the glare of the television Klieg lights as his former liberal and progressive fellow travelers were too tongue tied to even respond.

The President’s economic policies have created a very difficult situation for Americans. Over 8 million jobs have been lost or out-sourced and the nation now has a debt load that is approaching that of Greece. But the best way to stop digging yourself into a ditch is to throw the shovel away. Let’s hope President Obama savors his first sip of tea enough to put it on his regular menu.

For additional articles on finances by Chriss simply go to his blog at:

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