Bill O'Reilly: Saving the Folks From Economic Hardship

By Bill O'Reilly

By now most Americans understand there is a crisis of leadership in Washington. The S & P downgrade on Friday basically says there is no confidence in the federal government's management of the economy. The president and both parties are to blame, but it is we the people, as usual, who are going to suffer the most. The Dow was down another 634 points on Monday.

The chaos in the financial markets will set back the American economy a good six months at least. Consumers will spend less as they watch their individual portfolios, pension and education funds rapidly diminish. Economic pessimism is everywhere.

Unless there is a dramatic turn of events, Barack Obama's presidential career is in peril. All the polls show that. It is becoming hard to see how Mr. Obama could win re-election with economic circumstances so dire. I mean, it's like a football coach. You get a certain amount of time to turn a bad team around and then you're fired if you don't. Blaming President Bush for the current chaos will not work any longer. But the Democratic Party simply will not stop doing that and will not admit that its big spending agenda has driven the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Instead, they continue the blame game:


SEN. JOHN KERRY, D-MASS.: I believe this is, without question, the Tea Party downgrade. This is the Tea Party downgrade because a minority of people in the House of Representatives countered even the will of many Republicans in the United States Senate who were prepared to do a bigger deal.

DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA CAMPAIGN ADVISER: The fact of the matter is that this is essentially a Tea Party downgrade. The Tea Party brought us to the brink of -- of a default. And by the way, you said before, the president said this -- if we had defaulted on our debt, the consequences would have been dramatic and lasting.


The Tea Party downgrade? Come on. Half the Tea Party congresspeople voted to compromise on the debt deal. The party basically wants smaller government, certainly a legitimate point of view.

Only far-left zealots are going to buy that the Tea Party is the cause of the economic chaos because, as mentioned, those zealots will never admit their economic policies are a disaster:


CYNTHIA TUCKER, ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION COLUMNIST: What we need to do at the moment is invest more. Give people bigger unemployment benefits so they have money to spend and that creates demand.


That's right, Ms. Tucker. Let's spend even more money we don't have. Yeah, that's the ticket. Paging Jon Lovitz.

Now for President Obama. His No. 1 mistake was not putting forth a budget vision. He simply sat it out allowing Congress to muck things up as the world began to take notice of the dysfunction. A case could be made that the president fell back on his old senatorial habits, voting present instead of taking a stand. That will haunt him going forward.

The president also is failing to understand that his massive spending policies are not working. Instead, he wants to continue the madness:


PRESIDENT OBAMA: We ought to give more opportunities to all those construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing boom went bust. We could put them to work right now by giving loans to companies that want to repair our roads and bridges and airports, helping to rebuild America.


The problem is we don't have any money to give loans. And the world will not stand by anymore watching America slouch towards insolvency; now they are punishing us. Foreign investors are bailing out. Raising income taxes is not the way out of this.

In 2001 and again in 2003, President Bush cut individual tax rates. And what happened? Well, from 2004 until 2008, tax revenue increased from about $800 billion to almost $1.2 trillion. That blows away the liberal argument that tax cuts starve the government of revenue. They don't. When the economy prospers because of increased investment and consumer spending, tax revenues rise.

Right now the entire world is watching how the United States is handling the severe economic crisis. We are not Italy, Greece or Spain. We are the world's economic driver. If we go down, the world goes down. Americans themselves are largely furious because we have no control over our own economic futures. We are dependent on the government in Washington and it is failing us.

In the 2008 election, Barack Obama carried 52 percent of the independent vote. Right now according to a new Gallup poll, just 37 percent of independents approve of Mr. Obama's job performance. That's a loss of 15 percentage points, and if that holds there's no way on earth the president can be re-elected.

About 10 million more Americans voted for Mr. Obama than for John McCain, but Monday's Rasmussen poll among likely voters shows 52 percent of Americans disapproving of the president's job performance.

Even liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd took a shot, saying Barack Obama's slogan used to be "Yes, we can," now it's "Hey, we might."

But it's now looking like "Hey, we might" is too optimistic, as the worldwide marketplace has made its judgment. The USA is in dire economic trouble, and perception is reality.

"Talking Points" did not think the U.S. credit would be downgraded, and indeed two big institutions have held the AAA rating. Only Standard and Poor's downgraded, and they shouldn't have.

But it really doesn't matter. Every fair-minded person knows the country is a mess financially. At times like these the president must take charge, must address the problem directly.

We need to immediately return to the spending rate of 2008. That would save as much as $920 billion right now. We do need more revenue, which can be achieved by a flat tax, plugging loopholes like allowing American corporations to stash trillions overseas, and we need to institute a small national sales tax to cover Medicare and to tap into the $1 trillion a year underground economy. Why should people making money off the books get a free ride?

Also, we need Medicare and other programs to be somewhat revised. We need medical tort reform so sleazy lawyers can't fabricate lawsuits, jacking up medical costs for everybody. We need to repeal Obamacare, which is far too expensive for business, and instead allow free market competition among health insurance companies to bring costs down.

These are all solutions to the economic mess we find ourselves in, but Mr. Obama has not embraced any of them. Instead, he wants to pay people to rebuild America. That's his way out. Not even close.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

The actor Ashton Kutcher won a Teen Choice Award for the movie "No Strings Attached" and said this:


ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR: The whole United States of America needs to hear this. Here's my -- the best piece of advice I got when I was a teenager. Don't ever charge anything on a credit card if you don't already have the money in the bank to pay for it.


Very good, Ashton. Nicely said. You're a patriot.