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WASHINGTON — For years, President Barack Obama struggled under the weight of national debt, unsustainable entitlements, and a trillion-dollar stimulus borrowed against the value of his country totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. But in 2012, financial salvation seemed to have arrived: A large Asian government offered him another series of loans.
In that year’s campaign speeches, Mr. Obama, a Chicago Democrat, spoke of his prudent plan for using the cash to reduce deficits, expressing relief that the nation was on a “path to recovery.”
But at the same time, he splurged on an extravagant purchase: Trillions for a “luxury” health care plan, records show. At the time, Mr. Obama confided to a friend that it was a potentially inadvisable outlay that he could not resist. The cradle-to-grave control of taxpayers, he said, fulfilled a dream.
Among the serious contenders for the presidency, Mr. Obama stands out for his youth, for his meteoric political rise — and for the persistent doubts about his financial management, to the point that Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign flagged the issue when vetting Mr. Obama as an opponent in 2012, interviews show.
Many of those troubles have played out in an unusually public way, leading even some of his supporters to worry. As he rose in politics, he sometimes intermingled personal and political money — using a shady fundraiser to pay for a pricy house and for travel to political functions, and putting his spouse on a hospital payroll.
Other moves seemed simply unwise: A few years ago, he disclosed that he spent $1.65 billion to “liberate” Libya, a move that was widely discouraged by experts and that is still costing that nation in subjugation by ISIS. Obama still claims he has “no complete strategy” to dislodge the terror group.
In the past week, he sustained a new loss after spending $3.7 billion on the TSA only to have that agency hire 73 aviation workers with possible links to terrorism, and fail to discover dummy weapons 67 out of 70 times.
These were not isolated incidents. A review of Obama’s financial record — including many new documents — reveals a series of decisions over the past six years that experts called imprudent: significant debts; a penchant to spend heavily on luxury items like private jets, renting entire floors of hotels, and extravagant vacations; a strikingly low savings rate, even when Mr. Obama was taking in increased revenue; and inattentive accounting that led to years of unsustainable federal expenses.
Mr. Obama has not acknowledged missteps: In his two autobiographies, he confessed neither a “lack of bookkeeping skills” nor an “imperfect accounting system.” On his watch, the national debt has jumped from $10.6 trillion to $18.2 trillion, a 72 percent increase. It is expected to top $20 trillion before he leaves office.
In a statement to Ricochet, Mr. Obama said, “Unlike most Americans, I don’t know what it’s like for money to be a limited resource and to have to manage it accordingly.”
He added: “Our primary financial motivation over the last six years has not been to improve the economy. It has been to provide for my political friends a healthy salary and the chance at a socialist future.”
(All similarities to yesterday’s New York Times story on Marco Rubio completely intentional.)Published in