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Secrets to Make Your Teeth Rattle

ORMOND BEACH, March 3, 2009 – What rattles your teeth?  Today’s Wall Street Journal in “Deficits Matter But the Result Is What Counts” piece on page C1 reports that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner must testify to Congress on budget deficits today.  It says “Released last week, Mr. Obama’s budget document projects a teeth-rattling deficit of 12.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal 2009, up from 3.2% in 2008 and the highest since 1945.  It sees deficits averaging 4.7% of GDP through 2014, compared with a post-World War II average of 1.7%.” Does that make your teeth rattle?  It should.  Remember that “deficit” is the difference between income and outlays in a fiscal year.  It is NOT the debt.  Our total national debt is the TOTAL of deficits both past and future.  It’s hard to get a handle on the debt because we don’t know how much we are committed to in the coming years.  Do you know that GDP is “the market value of all final goods and services from a nation in a given year “(Source Wikipedia)?  Wikipedia also shows that our 2007 GDP was roughly $13.8 trillion.  Notice that the 2009 deficit is nearly FOUR times the 2008 deficit.  To be fair, W started the 2009 deficit with the first bailout.  But President Obama has zoomed off the charts from there.  So if our money becomes worthless, which is a tax, don’t be surprised.

Something else is rattling my teeth too.  Justice Department has released secret material from the Bush administration on the legal aspects of treatment of terrorists.  At the same time, this administration is maintaining its own secrets.  The latter is to be expected because in the REAL world, secrets are necessary.  Look how often Mark Harmon on NCIS has to keep secrets or get secrets and how hard it is.  What is wrong is releasing the secrets of previous administrations.  Why is that wrong you ask?  It appears to serve no public purpose other than to distort (and it will be distorted) the record for POLITICAL purposes.  Remember that what goes around usually comes around.  I can assure you that President Obama will pay a price down the road for this one way or another.  It will NOT improve relations with our foreign friends.  But then maybe no one really cares?  We are already learning that Iran is NOT going to work with us on nuclear issues according to Hillary.  So W was NOT the problem eh?  Does Obama automatically replace W?  It would seem so following previous logic.  But what most of us really knew all along is that there are bad people leading other countries and that W was in their face – righteously so.

Another teeth-rattler is when a U.S. Senator, like Dianne Feinstein gives away a secret like military operations in Pakistan.  It used to be that Senator Leahy was in charge of leaks.  So why would she do that?  I can’t guess other than to boost her political status somehow.  She instantly put her President in an embarrassing spot of having to explain the secret stuff to people who don’t have a need to know.

Since military operations are now in the public domain and everyone knows what you are going to do before you do it, would you volunteer to serve?  I mean let’s charge into the enemy who is prepared for the assault and get ourselves killed because some politician wants some kind of glory from talking too much.

To be fair, great leaders will make bold moves.  Your teeth will rattle from fear.  But the results of these bold moves have predictably bad outcomes which will likely leave us all with fewer teeth.

-Bill Bramer

Retired Naval Officer

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