|Unlike Titanic’s Captain, Obama Sees Iceberg… But Ignores It|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, April 12 2012
“From Mesaba to Titanic: In latitude 42° N to 41° 25’, longitude 49° W to longitude 50° 30’ W, saw much heavy pack ice and great number large icebergs, also field ice, weather good, clear.”
One hundred years ago this week, that heavy ice admonition was one of several transmitted but unheeded by the R.M.S. Titanic following her departure from Southampton, England. She actually received six warnings on April 11, five more on April 12, three on April 13 and seven on April 14 before her fateful collision, which occurred just two hours after the Mesaba’s final alert.
The enormous vessel hubristically labeled “unsinkable” couldn’t even survive her maiden voyage, which helps explain her enduring, ghastly legacy beyond her survivors’ lifetimes. Three years after the Titanic tragedy, nearly as many passengers lost their lives when German U-boats sank the R.M.S. Lusitania, but Titanic’s mythology proved far more poignant.
Perhaps that’s because, just as 9/11 symbolically commenced the 21st century, the Titanic signified the onset of a century of industrialized carnage on a shocking scale. Carnage enabled by the intersection of mechanization, efficiencies of scale, tyrannical grandeur and the arrogant belief that “Modern Man” had transcended the limitations of the laws of old. Soviet leader Leon Trotsky represented that ethos when he proclaimed in 1924, “Man will make it his purpose … to raise himself to a new plane, to create a higher social biologic type, or, if you please, a superman.”
That hubris, unfortunately, remains a fixture in the landscape of human nature. Only the manifestations change.
Today, across the Atlantic Ocean that serves as the Titanic’s watery tomb, we behold the dysfunction of debt-ridden Greece and Europe more broadly. We scoff at their increasingly chaotic state, which its leaders and citizens should have expected after decades of unsustainable welfare statism. This week, however, the Senate Budget Committee noted that the $15.1 trillion U.S. debt actually exceeds the combined $12.7 trillion debt of the Euro Zone and United Kingdom. Because our relative populations are roughly equal, our debt exceeds theirs on a per capita basis as well.
But what do we hear from our supposedly transformative President? Nothing but unhinged allegations that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R – Wisconsin) roadmap, which would not cut spending but gradually reduce the deficit by continuing budget growth at a reduced rate, represents “social Darwinism.”
Congressman Ryan observes that, “This coming debt crisis is the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had in this country.” In other words, we have seen the Greek iceberg. But what does Obama offer? A proposed budget that, if implemented, never balances. Never.
In fact, the Treasury Department announced this month that the federal government spent $369 billion during the month of March, more than any month in American history. It also announced a one-month budget deficit of $198 billion, which is also an all-time record for the month of March.
Unlike Titanic Captain Edward Smith, Captain Obama can see the oncoming catastrophe perfectly well.
But ignore that iceberg. Full speed ahead.
Medicare also proceeds toward insolvency, but Obama merely demonizes anyone who offers constructive proposals to save it.
Ignore that iceberg, too. Full speed ahead.
Or consider ObamaCare. Two years ago, the Obama Administration, Harry Reid’s Senate, Nancy Pelosi’s House and many of the healthcare industry’s most powerful lobbies colluded on that monstrosity. They did so under the assumption that the unconstitutional individual mandate would provide fiscal sustainability by imposing involuntary commercial activity upon every single living American. They didn’t even bother to insert a severance clause, whether intentionally or negligently. Following Supreme Court oral argument on the matter, however, they suddenly recognize the looming catastrophe of costly new entitlements without the offsetting new customer base. That was an entirely foreseeable prospect.
But ignore that iceberg as well. Full speed ahead. Just preemptively and falsely demonize the Supreme Court as a rogue body that would commit the “unprecedented” act of overturning a law imposed by a “strong majority.”
The saddest tragedy of the Titanic is that it was avoidable. Unfortunately, the warnings it received remained unheeded.
One hundred years later, the question is whether we will act to avert the metaphorical icebergs quickly approaching. Obama doesn’t appear interested, but ultimately it’s not his decision whether he’ll remain captain.
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