Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen put it bluntly: "The biggest threat to our national security is our debt." He added that, in 2012, America will pay $600 billion in interest on the debt—about what we spend on national defense.
Our adversaries are well aware of our vulnerability. More than a year ago, Chinese communist General Luo Yuan told the state-run Xinhua News Agency that China should attack the U.S. "by oblique means . . . such as dumping some U.S. government bonds." (China currently holds about $1.16 trillion of U.S. debt.)
Today, America is precariously balanced on an economic knife edge, thanks to the run-amuck spending of the Obama administration. What is the government doing about its mounting debt? So far, it's just printing more money.
On February 28, Bill Gertz reported in the Washington Times on a Pentagon assessment of vulnerabilities in America's financial system. The report, "Economic Warfare" by analyst Kevin D. Freeman, is the stuff of nightmares. It details how foreign adversaries could launch a financial terrorist attack against the U.S., leaving no fingerprints.
"The new battle space is the economy," Freeman told Gertz, adding that America placed itself in jeopardy through "massive public debt." Freeman noted, "This is the 'end game' if the goal is to destroy America." The Chinese military, he said, has long advocated "the potential for an economic attack on the U.S."
Even if the Chinese don't collapse our economy, we seem bent on doing it ourselves. On March 2, Bloomberg quoted Thomas Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who warned that the Fed is "monetizing debt" by purchasing U.S. Treasury bonds—action that will surely produce inflation. Bloomberg called Hoenig "the lone dissenter" from the Fed's purchase of $600 billion in U.S. securities. The Fed currently holds a record $2.54 trillion in U.S. debt.
Wall Street insider Michael J. Panzner warns that our economic woes signal decline—and approaching death. America, he says, is "afflicted with the overspending and overborrowing disease that has long been a distinguishing feature of . . . dying empires."
Free market economists will tell you that Obama is running an age-old scam—stealing our wealth by printing more money. Thomas Sowell points out that government-engineered inflation "is a quiet but effective way for the government to transfer resources from the people to itself, without raising taxes." Sowell echoes Milton Friedman, who years ago observed, "Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation."
Is President Obama deliberately trying to throw our economy into an inflationary spiral? After all, an inflationary crisis tacked onto the ongoing financial crisis amid a looming Middle East oil crisis is a recipe for doom. The idea of an American president tipping America into a Great Depression is unthinkable—isn't it?
Maybe not. Remember the words of Obama's technology czar, John Holdren, who told students in April 2010, "We can't expect to be number one in everything indefinitely." Holdren also co-authored a book called Human Ecology, which advocates deliberately weakening the U.S. economy and redistributing America's wealth to other nations as part of a "massive campaign . . . to de-develop the United States."
David Walker warns in "Comeback America," "Many of us think that a superpowerful, prosperous nation like America will be a permanent fixture. . . . We are too big to fail. But you don't have to delve far into the history books to see what has happened to other once-dominant powers. . . . America presents unsettling parallels with the disintegration of Rome" including "the growth of fiscal irresponsibility by the central government." Are we already entering the final stages of decline?
In my book "The New Reagan Revolution," I tell about sharing a stage with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 2005. I told the audience how my father, Ronald Reagan, deliberately collapsed the Soviet economy in the 1980s, resulting in the fall of Soviet communism. I turned to Gorbachev and asked, "Tell us, Mr. Gorbachev—how bad was the economy in those days?"
He replied, "Oh, Michael, it was so bad! Can you imagine Russian women not being able to buy pantyhose? We were so bankrupt, I had to appoint a pantyhose czar to smuggle pantyhose into the Soviet Union!"
The audience erupted in laughter. It was funny in 2005. Today, I'm not laughing.
How did Ronald Reagan consign the Soviet Union to the ash heap of history? He deliberately bankrupted the Soviets—and their society imploded.
Here's what frightens me: Everything Ronald Reagan did to the Soviet Union, Barack Obama is doing to America today.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan and a political consultant. He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com. Portions of this column are adapted from his book "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press).