Real Questions for Obama

A couple of days ago, CNBC put on a town hall meeting with Obama, ostensibly to give him some tough questions from business people, but which was really a puff piece with not one serious question. It was apparently aired just to try to revive the flagging view people have of the “President”. Consensus review is that nothing new was said. Obama is still the uber-statist he has always been. Here are some questions I would like to have seen asked:

  • Mr. Obama, with official unemployment stuck near 10%, much has been made about how the government has to do something about jobs. Is it the governments function to provide jobs for Americans? Or is it the governments function to create as free an environment as possible so that the people themselves can create jobs as a natural result of their commercial activity?
  • Is there an upper limit on what it is reasonable to take from someone in combined effective taxes and if so where would you put that limit? 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, more?
  • Mr. Obama, one could argue that much of the increase in global wealth creation in the last 20 years was coincident with, if not caused by, the completion of the Uruguay Round of global trade talks under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, now known as the WTO. Do you intend to aggressively pursue the resurrection and completion of the Doha round of trade talks to lower barriers to trade?
  • Mr. Obama, whether you believe you inherited it or not, we have a massive debt problem, with over a trillion dollars of debt to be created by the United States every year as far as the eye can see to be added to the 13 or 14 trillion that already exist. If rates rise even a little bit, the debt service will soon rise to over 10% of federal revenues and under some scenarios could eclipse 20% in the next few years. One of the ways a country has historically dealt with such a painful situation is to devalue their currency so that they are paying the debt back in nominal terms but with devalued currency. Would you endorse such a strategy if you were running for president today? Do you believe the United States can pay off the debt without devaluing the currency?
  • As a follow-up, the only conceivable way the debt can be paid is if we have years of outstanding economic growth. Growth on that scale will require nearly unfettered economic activity. The Federal Register is running nearly 100,000 pages. The tax code is byzantine. You signed at least 2 pieces of legislation in the past year which were each more than 2000 pages long. Would you grant that there is an argument that our economy suffers from too much law and regulation rather than too little?
  • Finally Mr. “President”, much has been made recently of the fact that government workers today actually are paid 130% of private sector workers while simultaneously getting higher pension and medical benefits and more secure employment. This flies in the face of history. What can be done to reverse this trend? Do you think we should reverse this trend?
  • Oh as a postscript Mr. “President”, I have a cousin who is one of those strange birther types. Could you explain why, instead of just producing your actual birth certificate (rather than that short form thing anyone can get), you have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on attorneys to fight efforts to have you produce it? Wouldn’t the whole controversy just go away if you produced your actual birth certificate, as I am sure you could?

Thank you Mr. Obama, have a pleasant day.

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