Analysis: The wealth of plain, hard facts belies lofty promises made by President Obama’s first address to Congress.
"We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before," said President Obama.
Not anytime soon. The government has yet to fix the levees in New Orleans. There is still a hole in the ground where the World Trade Center once stood. Washington has started two wars it can’t win and doesn’t know how to finish. The massive bank, brokerage, auto and insurance company bailouts have done nothing to resuscitate the sinking economy. The Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) that candidate Obama championed has not "relieved." President Obama’s $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will not lead to recovery and the nation will not ’emerge stronger than before.
Distinguished Men and Women
With only a succession of past Executive and Congressional failures to point to, and with the same people responsible for those failures still holding high office, the belief that this time around it will be miraculously different is nothing less than willful delusion.
Tuesday’s episode of The Presidential Reality Show was a prime time exercise in human debasement and self-humiliation. Some low lights: Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) arrived at 8:30 a.m. to secure a prized spot on the House floor for a chance to shake the President’s hand on his way to the stage. "It’s a special treat for me to do it this year," Engel said, adding, "It’s the office, it’s the aura … but it’s also the man."
Shiny Cabinet members and august Supreme Court justices were announced in stentorian tones by a pair of Sergeants-at-Arms with all the exaggerated pomp of a Groucho Marx send-up of British royalty.
And, to punctuate the performance, there was the geriatric pom-pom girl, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, repeatedly jumping from her seat, leading her pack of Democratic trained seals in whoops of applause at every repetition of the magic juju words: "Jobs!" "Prosperity!" "Confidence!"
Across the aisle, Republicans smirked, mugged and scowled darkly, in their new roles as minority villains. Few GOP hands clapped.
That the public as well as the press should take this three-ring spectacle seriously is as depressing an indication of the state of the nation as the empty rhetoric of the speech itself.
Meanwhile, back on the planet, in the midst of a global economic crisis, the public continues to pin its hopes on a President, Senators and Congressmen willingly participating in such obviously orchestrated buffoonery. How is this even possible? How is such behavior tolerated? Why would anyone look up to these people?
In one sense it is understandable: President Obama’s big show was just another typical political performance. From the excesses of Democratic and Republican nominating conventions, to photo ops of candidates sitting on bales of hay pretending they’re just plain folks, to staging whistle stops from vintage trains dragged out of storage especially for the occasion, to contrived Town Hall meetings, to the slick and vicious marketing campaigns … the public has come to accept such antics as "normal."
These political rituals, carefully staged, time-tested and proven, create an illusion of superiority. President Obama made the distinction clear in Tuesday’s speech: "I have come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women of this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here."
"Distinguished?" Distinguished for what? Having the skills to do whatever they have to do – no matter how ruthless or degrading – to win elections? Yet, the honorific is accepted without question while the implicit patronization of the citizenry slips by unperceived. They are "distinguished" and the rest are merely the "men and women who sent them there."
This is a confidence game. The elaborate staging is designed to inspire the nation’s people with "confidence" that their distinguished leaders have the skills to save them from an economic disaster that both political parties were instrumental in creating.
Days earlier, former President Bill Clinton urged the new President to play the confidence game. "I just want the American people to know that he’s confident that we are gonna get out of this and he feels good about the long run," and that President Obama "… is hopeful and completely convinced we’re gonna come through this," Clinton said on national TV.
"Completely convinced" or not, in his speech, the newly elected President pitched "confidence," repeating the word seven times. It worked. Post speech polls, the pundits and the press gave the President high marks for his performance. And President Obama, the most distinguished among all those "distinguished men and women of this great chamber," established his credentials as America’s Confidence-Man-in-Chief.
Trendpost: What is a Confidence Man and what makes us say President Obama is conning the public? A con man succeeds by gaining the confidence of the victim. In this case the victim is the taxpayer who is being shaken down for trillions to bail out "too big to fail" businesses. The con lies in Obama’s assurance "… while the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater."
The trillions already spent on bailouts and buyouts make it clear "the cost of action will be great." It is already great, and it has failed miserably. Why should anyone believe that pouring still more trillions into the same bottomless pit will now, somehow, prove effective?
And why should anyone believe Obama’s assurance that the "cost of inaction will be far greater"? He doesn’t know that. Why believe the assurance of the man who failed to recognize the country was in recession until eight months after the recession began?
We forecast the recession well before it happened. We are forecasting "The Greatest Depression." And having analyzed Mr. Obama’s speech, promises and plans, we can forecast, with assurance of our own, that the cost of action will prove far greater than the cost of inaction.
While the public, both at home and abroad, express high hopes and great optimism, the global financial markets remain un-assured by assurances and continue to reach new lows.
Trendpost: President Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget and the additional trillions earmarked for stimulus packages and further bailouts may provide temporary relief, but will ultimately destroy the value of the US dollar. The global financial system is in collapse. And neither stimulus nor spending packages will reverse it. We remain bullish on gold and stand by our prediction of gold at $2000 per ounce.
About the author:
Gerald Celente, a Close Combat practitioner and black belt trainer, well understands the importance of proacting rather than reacting: "The first rule of Close Combat is to attack the attacker. Action is faster than reaction. The same holds true for the future. You know the future is coming … attack it before it attacks you."
Founder of The Trends Research Institute in 1980, Gerald Celente is a pioneer trend strategist. He is author of the national bestseller Trends 2000 and Trend Tracking (Warner Books) – "Far better than Megatrends," and publisher of the internationally circulated Trends Journal newsletter.
Celente is a political atheist. Unencumbered by political dogma, rigid ideology or conventional wisdom, his motto is "think for yourself," observes and analyzes the current events forming future trends for what they are – not for the way he wants them to be.
Like a doctor giving a diagnosis after gathering the facts, whether or not you like the prognosis doesn’t alter the outcome, make him an optimist or pessimist – it’s simply what is. And while Celente holds a US passport, he considers himself a citizen of the world. Celente has earned his reputation as "The most trusted name in trends" by accurately forecasting hundreds of social, business, consumer, environmental, economic, political, entertainment, technology trends, etc. Among them:
* Celente coined the term "clean foods," in 1993 and predicted sustained growth in organic products in 1988.
* When gold was at $275 per ounce in 2002, Celente said the price had bottomed and in 2004 forecast the beginning of the "Gold Bull Run." Since that time, with pinpoint accuracy, he said when, why – and how high – gold would go.
Years before Starbucks was a household name, Celente forecast the popularity of gourmet coffee and decades before Pepsi and Coke got into the water business he predicted the "Big Boom in Bottled Water."
* On the geopolitical and economic fronts, Celente and The Trends Research Institute are credited with forecasting many major trends, including the collapse of the Soviet Union, the last two recessions, the dot-com meltdown, the 1997 Asian currency crisis, the 1987 world stock market crash, increased terrorism against America, "Crusades 2000," and Iraq … before war began.