Zuckerman Loses It, Releases Most Scathing Criticism Of Obama Yet: "The Most Fiscally Irresponsible Government in U.S. History"

Tyler Durden's picture

Two days ago, in Mort Zuckerman Laments "The End Of American Optimism", Takes His Criticism Of Obama To A Whole New Level, we assumed out that Mort's critique of Obama, his policies, and his economic team had reached a level that would likely not be surprassed for a long time. Boy were we wrong - one short day later Mort comes out with The Most Fiscally Irresponsible Government in U.S. History: Current federal budget trends are capable of destroying this country. "The United States simply seems to lack a system that can fund the government that the people say they want. We are good at crises, but we do not seem to be good at tackling chronic problems. Obama must know that if he doesn't address this, he will be the president who drove us toward a debt crisis. And so too must Congress, for both have now participated in the most fiscally irresponsible government in American history." Scathing does not do it justice...

As posted in US News

The Most Fiscally Irresponsible Government in U.S. History
Current federal budget trends are capable of destroying this country

There is an instinctive conclusion among the American public that
President Obama's stimulus package has failed to create a sustained
recovery. Unemployment has increased, not declined; consumers have
retrenched; housing starts have crashed along with mortgage
applications; and there is a fear that a double-dip recession may very
well be in the pipeline. The public perception, reflected in Pew
Research/National Journal polls, is that the measures to combat
the Great Recession have mostly helped large banks and financial
institutions, and that's a view common to Republicans (75 percent) and
Democrats (73 percent). Only one third of either political leaning
thinks government policies have done a great deal or a fair amount for
the poor.

Click here to find out more!

There is another instinctive conclusion among the American people. It
is that the national deficit, and the debts we have accumulated, are of
critical political importance. On the national debt, the money the
government has spent without the tax revenues to pay for it has produced
mind-numbing numbers so large as to be disconnected from reality. Zeros
from here to infinity. The sums are hard to describe; it is hard to
describe an elephant, but you know one when you see one. The public
knows that, shuffle the numbers as you may, the level of debt is

Who could be surprised since millions of voters have discovered that
for themselves? As one realizes the morning after the night before,
there is an unavoidable penalty for excess. It is unnerving to wake up
and learn that you have a mortgage on your home that exceeds the value
of the property. Or, and too often both, you have a credit card line
that you cannot repay and the issuer has you on the rack for ever bigger
compound interest on the debt. The lesson has been well and truly
learned that debt catches up with you. Millions understand that they are
just going to have to find a way to live within their means—and then
still eke out some savings to pay down debt. And there are well over 14
million Americans without a paying job, so the level of discontent is
very high. Just how are they going to regain control of their lives?

In a usnews.com post
on July 26, Jodie Allen of the Pew Research Center reported that in
recent weeks more academic and market economists have been urging the
government to defer budget cuts and tax increases and instead provide
additional stimulus to a still-fragile economy, some by continuing the
Bush tax cuts. But among the public there has been a suggestive shift of
opinion the other way, reflecting worries about debt. "Deficit and
government spending" has jumped from 10th or 11th place as a priority
for the federal government to one that is second only to job creation
and economic growth. The drift of opinion is manifest in other recent
polls. For instance, a CBS poll conducted July 9-12 assessed the most
important problem facing the country as the economy and jobs (38
percent), with concern about the budget deficit and national debt way
down at 5 percent. Yet CNN (July 16-21) has 47 percent preoccupied first
with the economy, and 13 percent with the federal deficit. In a recent Time
magazine poll, two thirds of the respondents say they oppose a second
government stimulus program and more than half say the country would
have been better off without the first one.

People see the stimulus, fashioned and passed by Congress
in such a hurry, as a metaphor for wasted money. They are highly
critical about the lack of discipline among our political leaders. The
question that naturally arises is how to forestall a long-term economic

The Fed has lowered rates dramatically to keep the economy ticking
and maybe continue the painfully slow recovery, but at the receiving end
there is no feeling of relief at all. People know that the stimulus is
about to stop stimulating. They know that money is petering out. They
know that states are preparing to cut $200 billion to balance their
budgets. They realize that the Great Recession has wiped out huge
amounts of wealth and that, unlike other recessions, this will not be
followed by the kind of economic boom when people who had sat on their
money during the lean years unleash pent-up demand for all sorts of
goods and services.

There is no sign of that happening this time around. Households and
businesses have kept their hands in their pockets. And so while many
think that the only way to revive the economy and to inject more money
into it is through governmental spending, the general feeling is that we
can't afford that right now. The government will be writing more IOUs
on top of those we already can't afford. Why plan a second stimulus if
the first stimulus couldn't prevent high unemployment?

Of course, the question remains whether public sentiment coincides
with sound economics. The challenge we face as a country is how to get
growing vigorously again while achieving fiscal sustainability. We are
learning from the Europeans what happens when the risks that came with
excessive debt become realities. There seems to be an emerging consensus
that if there is to be any additional stimulus, it must be explicitly
linked to credible fiscal restraint down the road. This would include a
commitment to binding legislation that would change the algebra so that
both programs and budget procedures get us on a benign trajectory.

There are two warning signs of a budget crisis: rising debt and the
loss of confidence that the government will deal with it. This
administration is on the verge of fulfilling both conditions. In
fairness, there is no majority coalition in Congress for deficit
reduction today. It is also true that the growth of public debt has been
driven by a dramatic diminution of tax receipts due to the recession,
the extra spending to avoid sinking into a self-perpetuating depression,
and all those billions we invested to save the financial sectors from
their sins. Voters see the politicians most vociferous about reining in
the federal budget as those who are out of power and want to use it
against the majority party. Too many politicians claim they are all for
balanced budgets—but only by reducing the other party's priorities.
Republicans want to reduce social spending. Democrats want to reduce
military spending. It is Washington as usual.

Amid the clamor and counterpromises, the historic record is worth
keeping in mind. We paid for World War II through growth. The national
debt, as a percentage of gross domestic product, fell sharply through
the postwar presidencies of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson
(despite the Vietnam War) and continued edging down through most of
Nixon's, rising a little with Ford's. We marked time in the stagflation
of the Carter years, and then the debt percentage increased dramatically
during the Reagan-Bush presidencies. It shot up again to the present
dangerous levels under George W. Bush and Obama. The only good years
were Clinton's.

An old saying that can apply to the deficit is called the "rule of
holes" and goes as follows: "When you're in one, stop digging." But
Washington politics remains the barrier. Government programs seem to
live on forever. The budget becomes a perpetual-motion machine for
higher spending. New programs for new needs get piled on top of old
programs for old needs.

Then there are the retirees. Their numbers and their health costs
will keep on rising. There were 35 million Americans over 65 in 2000 and
the number of retirees is expected to double by 2030. The impending
retirement of millions of baby boomers, with their claims on federal
retirement programs, comes at a time when both parties seem to be
willing to worsen tomorrow's problems to win more of today's votes. The
result is that the federal budget is drifting into a future of huge
deficits or unprecedented tax increases, or both.

Federal spending is moving toward a higher plateau—from roughly 18
percent of the GDP to almost 25 percent by 2030. We don't know how we
are going to pay for this. We don't know how the economy would fare with
much higher taxes. We have seen the clouds gathering for years but
haven't invested in an umbrella by adjusting federal retirement programs
or taking other steps to reduce entitlements. One response would have
been to begin gradually phasing in eligibility ages and tying benefits
more to income. No doubt we have to think about raising the eligibility
age for Social Security and Medicare, perhaps by one month for each
two-month increase in average life expectancy. We will have to think of
ways to reduce the cost-of-living increases on Social Security benefits
for wealthy seniors by slowly increasing their Medicare premiums and
leaving everybody else's untouched. We may have to allow the Bush tax
cuts to expire, certainly for households earning more than $250,000 (and
more for the super-rich) given the concentration of wealth in the top 1
percent of the population. It is entirely appropriate that they begin
to make a greater contribution to our longer-term fiscal health.

The United States simply seems to lack a system that can fund the
government that the people say they want. We are good at crises, but we
do not seem to be good at tackling chronic problems. If we wait until a
crisis happens, it will be too late. It is simply not possible to close
the gap entirely with the tax increases on the rich that Democratic
liberals so desperately believe in. Nor can we close the gap with
spending cuts, as the Republicans would like. The liberals will have to
concede that benefits and spending ought to be reduced. Conservatives
will have to concede the need for higher taxes.

Hope may lie in a new bipartisan panel headed by Erskine Bowles and
Alan Simpson, two unique, wise, and centrist political leaders whose
characters raise some degree of confidence that they might be able to
come forth with productive programs. As former President Clinton said of
them, they "are free enough to disregard the polls but smart enough to
take them into account."

But let's not forget, current budgetary trends are capable of destroying the country. As Bowles pointed out, according to a Washington Post
report, we can't just grow our way out of this. We can't just tax our
way out of this. We have to do what governors do—cut spending or
increase revenues in some combination that will begin to pull us back
from the cliff.

Obama must know that if he doesn't address this, he will be the
president who drove us toward a debt crisis. And so too must Congress,
for both have now participated in the most fiscally irresponsible
government in American history.

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sunny's picture

No Grasshopper, there is still hope.  There is an alternative....



Clayton Bigsby's picture

Dude, that's my second favorite name, right behind Phil Uranus!  Nicely done!

bugs_'s picture

Welcome to the party rip van winkle!

"...hope may lie..."

halvord's picture

Oh, I know! When Obamalama gets us into our 3rd simultaneous foreign war, we'll know truly what is fiscal irresponsibility.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The public perception, reflected in Pew Research/National Journal polls, is that the measures to combat the Great Recession have mostly helped large banks and financial institutions, and that's a view common to Republicans (75 percent) and Democrats (73 percent). Only one third of either political leaning thinks government policies have done a great deal or a fair amount for the poor.

I'd say it's a high probability that we just found the one third who has benefited from, or at least not been hurt by, this cluster fuck. Or those who took a nap in 2005 and haven't woken up yet. And of course the brain dead iTunes zombies.

grunion's picture

We know who the 1/3 is, why are politicians so afraid to gore that cow? (no puns intended)

mnevins2's picture

And what do you think the mood of the country will be once GS, etc. begins announcing their bonuses? Any recommendation of pitchfork manufacturers?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

While thinking of pitchforks might make us feel better, no pitchforks will come out if the powers-that-be succeed in keeping the slippy slope from accelerating. Notice I didn't say they must stop the decline, only prevent it from accelerating.

It's all about managing expectations. People will not revolt as long as the road to hell is a gradual slope. Too steep and people get upset quickly. A slow slope is the equivalent to the slowly rising temperature in the pot. The public doesn't panic until it's too late.

Village Idiot's picture

" A slow slope is the equivalent to the slowly rising temperature in the pot. The public doesn't panic until it's too late."


Don't want to see your lobster flail and scream when you drop it into a pot of boiling water?  lay it gently into a pot of cool water and raise the temprature slowly. 

mnevins2's picture

I am skeptical that PTB can successfully manipulate public opinion regarding another Wall ST bonus pig-fest. Do you think that the new Republican majority in the House will ignore this?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It's all about managing expectations.

There is a world of difference between manipulating public opinion and managing it. In fact, standards of what is a success and failure is much lower when managing opinion.

Haywood Jablowme's picture

Cascade waterfall takedown.....

Can't wait till this b.s is over.  Default or devalue already. 

In the meantime, more time for me to prep and tend to crops on some newly inherited land off the white sandy beaches of the Philippine islands.  Actually looking forward to getting back to some real sweat-breaking work and producing real goods after being in the glorified paper shuffling finance industry for the last 6 years. 

We're a long way from ever bringing back a strong manufacturing base here to the US especially with all the damn yuppies concerned more about the number of iPad apps they have versus taking the time to understand what a CDO or a CDS are and paying attention to the legislation that affects small business.

Soon, this nation will be one consisting of an over-saturated market of nurses, road-pavers, and keyboard punchers for National ID cards. 

Having been born and raised here, I'm feeling myself drift away from the likes of this country as the end game that most of us here can see slowly unfolds with each passing day of crap data fed by the propaganda machine and shooting out of these sock puppet mouthes.

Time to pack the bags.  Heading for a more simpler world with a nicer view to wake up to and the mestiza women ain't too bad either :)



Ripped Chunk's picture

Pitchforks ????  Army surplus flame thrower  !! YEA!!!!

tomdub_1024's picture

With my new/old welding gear, I can offer the best price for the highest quality pitchfork (and flame thrower, though at a premium price due to the risk of residual flammables) repair.

30 bankster/politician guarantee per repair!


Fred123's picture

Gee, Obama is destroying our country? Wasn't that his plan from day one?

Ricky Bobby's picture

Totally agree. Duh - Mort what the fuck did you expect.

LeBalance's picture

Its the ex-Terminator!

For Mort to be railing against what he knows to be approved policy is extreme hypocrisy on his part.

Shadow caster!

Smoke Blower!

sgt_doom's picture

But Morty, he (President Obama) appointed all your buddies from the Trilateral Commission, I don't understand Morty's distress?

Johnny Bravo's picture

"Gee, Obama is destroying our country?"

So, when the camels back breaks, you'd rather blame the man that put on the final straw, instead of the people (Reagan, Bush) who were loading up the camel with gigantic hay bales for the last 30 years.

I see... 

docj's picture

Heh - funny how Mr. Billy "Dot Com Bubble" Jeff Clinton doesn't get a mention here - eh Bravo?

RichardP's picture

Clinton left the U.S. with a budget surplus.  How is that part of the problem?

docj's picture

1) No, he didn't.  Total US debt grew every year under Clinton.  He, like everybody prior and since, raided the "lockbox" SS fund to paper over the deficit.

EDIT: Self correction - debt dropped about $60B in 2000.  Grew every other yearly period before and since.

2) That the phantom "surplus" was built on a massive equities bubble - aka bubble economics - aka "the problem".

EDIT: Add - and let's never forget, he (with the help of Rubin, Summers, etc.) pushed for and actaully signed Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

StychoKiller's picture

Clinton used accrual accounting which amounted to wishful thinking on huge
tax receipts to *show* a balanced budget ON THE BOOKS, but in the future, not
in real life.  We did not have *cash* on hand or even equity on hand that would
have been tangible assets to "balance" our budget. However, starting with Reagan
(mid 80's)and continuing with Clinton (even with the then largest tax increase
in history) we were on a better path towards balanced budgets.  The disclaimer
there though.... we borrowed money to pay for pet projects, just as Bush II
became addicted to doing, because we knew SS and both Mediscare programs were
insolvent, so the budget was balanced "on the books" while the National Debt
(what we owe everyone else) went through the roof!

ElvisDog's picture

Johnny, good to see you back in the batter's box. The thing I find most curious about Obama is the complete unwillingness to not only admit that his stimulus and spending plans have not acheived the desired result, but also to make any changes to his game plan. The only thing he seems willing or capable of doing is to try to use his "oratory power" to convince people that his plan is working, that the economy is growing, when common folk can see with their own eyes that it is not true. It's fascinating because it's the worst thing he could do. A much better plan would have been to get in front of the problem, admit that it was bigger than he thought (i.e. blame Bush more). Lying to people just makes them angrier because it is an implicit admission that Obama thinks we are morons.

ConfederateH's picture

Well, well, well.  Now I understand Johnny Bravo.  He is studying to become a member of the professional left.


Whats your degree in, Johnny?  Earth studies?  Transsexual self-awareness?

And once you are permanently ensonced in your lefty position of power, would your first move perhaps be to sieze the gold from everyone who had the good sense not to listen to your drivel?

I can see that you will go far in the Democrat party.

ConfederateH's picture

Zuckermann was 110% behind Obama. Now that Obama has turned on the jews (what a racist),  Zuckermann no longer likes Obama.    The first thing Zuckermann should be doing is appologizing for allowing his billions to be used to get Obama elected.  The next thing he should do is applogize for thinking like a one-track-minded New York jew.  And then he should be offering to double his personal tax rate to mitigate the misery of all those unemployed who lost their jobs because Zuckermann was so sure that Obama was the messiah.

Cathartes Aura's picture

people, do a little research if you don't already know who Mort Zuckermann is. . .

He posts his rants in the US News because he bought it (along with the New York Daily News), and is the editor-in-chief - it's his personal mouthpiece! He's a billionare with degrees from Wharton Business School and Yale - hello?

if that information isn't a red flag, then take note:

He is a member of the JPMorgan's National Advisory Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.


In their 2006 paper The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, John Mearsheimer, political science professor at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, academic dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, named Zuckerman a member of the media wing of the "Israeli lobby" in the United States.[16] Zuckerman replied: "I would just say this: The allegations of this disproportionate influence of the Jewish community reminds me of the 92-year-old man sued in a paternity suit. He said he was so proud; he pleaded guilty."[16]

President George W. Bush appointed Zuckerman to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.

Mortimer is playing his well compensated role in shaping "public" opinion on behalf of his Zionist cohorts - whatever shit he's selling is on behalf of those who have been feeding off the work and savings of taxpayers since before you were born. . .if he's "fed up" with Obama, then those who own this nation state are sending you signals about their next moves!

Know Your Sources.


sgt_doom's picture

And the Bretton Woods Committee (brettonwoods.org) and Davy Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission.

Yup, ole Morty really gets around.

Mortimer to the subpeasants:  "Screw you." 

LoneStarHog's picture

/Sarcasm On RACIST! /Sarcasm Off

Translational Lift's picture

WHY did it take these AZZZ-holes almost two years to figure this out???

Bearster's picture

Good article.  But let me add a few observations:

 - Congress is elected by the people.  We don't have an occupation army forcing us to obey a hated dictator

 - Nearly everyone agrees that the government is wasting money, and if not for this it could balance its budget.  But the working definition of "waste" seems to be "everyone's else program" because most people have a favorite program (even most Tea Partiers support Social Security and that is one of the biggest liabilities)

 - People fret that "something" should be done, but I don't get the sense that they would approve of the short-term consequences if something meaningful were done.  I don't think people realize how deep and nasty the depression would be if the government truly withdrew from every aspect of its wealth-destruction program, again at least in the short term.


So we have the spectacle that nearly everyone is complaining, most are demanding that something be done to "fix" the economy, griping about "waste", and depending on the status quo for their particular favorite handout, regulation that squashes their competitor, etc.

LoneStarHog's picture

The American people proved to me what whores they are back in the Clinton perjury and Monica episodes.

The rule-of-law and integrity of The Office of the President, let alone the sanctity of the physical Oval Office, meant nothing IF it benefited their portfolios.

Simply, whores get screwed!



Mad Mad Woman's picture

You are so right in your observations.

aerojet's picture

- Congress is elected by the people.


You went off the rails right there and never made it back.  Elections in the US are a complete sham, have been for decades.  There is no meaningful reason to vote, it changes nothing at all.


As far government doing something, my fervent wish is that government would just do a whole lot less! 

Johnny Bravo's picture

I completely agree.

We have the choice to vote for one of two people.  WOW... that's one hell of a choice... especially when both choices are essentially the same anyway... 

Want to vote for the left hand of the beast or the right hand?
Does it matter?  The beast gets elected regardless.

akak's picture

I am (disturbingly) forced to agree with JB.

I've always said that there is something radically wrong with a system in which we have 100 choices in breakfast cereals, but are forced into only two (virtually identical) choices in politics.

Everyone who still buys into the false left-right political paradigm still remains the willing slave and useful idiot of The System.

grunion's picture

I have a natural aversion for people who point fingers, accuse everyone else of selfish whining and offer not a whit of constructive insight . We know what the problems are, contribute something that might be useful for a change.

Johnny Bravo's picture

You mean you can't just fix the problems by voting no on everything?

Well... what about saying Obama is a muslim terrorist?
Will that fix the country?

I hope so.  TEE PARTY 12 YO!!!1!!111

knukles's picture

There's somethin' about "elected" and "representative(s)" that you're missing.

No Mas's picture

"Obama must know that if he doesn't address this, he will be the president who drove us toward a debt crisis."

He cares?  Lobster for everyone (in his family that is).

Chemba's picture

I thought it was "shrimp", no?

Translational Lift's picture

LET THEM EAT LOBSTER...................

rapier's picture

Well there is only one possible answer. Bomb Iran. 


Zukerman has no more credibility than Cramer.  What about the trillion we blew in Iraq and Afghanistan so he could jerk off to dreams of dead Muslims?  Was that responsible. The current deficits were inevitable when the economy lost its bubbles. During which time in the 00's the debt doubled to 10t  from 5t and he probably made hundreds of millions on the RE boom.  Did you see Mort bitch about that?  Hell no. 

I know ZH will print up most anything written by someone who sounds like their hair is on fire but isn't it about time to get a bit responsible. 


BobWatNorCal's picture

Scroll down to see a chart that shows the deficit and what part of the deficit is due to the Iraq War. Sorry, no offense, you've been had.

You're right about Mort, though, of course.

knukles's picture

Suggest you check out today's Telegraph.  Yemen's next

sgt_doom's picture

Haven't the Russians taken over the planet with all those killer satellites of theirs?

Oopsy, I guess all those planted stories in US News & World Report were wrrrooooonnnggg!

Morty, shame...shame...shame on you!


HungrySeagull's picture

Well, don't worry bout the spending too much money part, worry about too much debt.

For those who are not in debt, they are free.

Reminds me of stories of German workers carting wheel barrows of payroll each day before ww2.


Yes the USA has spent this kind of money before, it's not being able to afford the hangover cures tomorrow that is worrying alot of people right now.