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Comprehending Obama’s initiatives

There are many reasons to be worried right now about our future as a nation. The most important one is our financial future. With our beloved vice president calculating that "we will go bankrupt unless we spend more," certainly one of the most incomprehensible "Biden-isms" we have heard so far, this administration is potentially bankrupting us by doing just what the Veep says.

Massive spending — stimulus spending, bailout spending, healthcare spending, and new taxes of all different sorts — are not saving us from national bankruptcy but driving us to the brink of economic abyss. And there is still more bad stuff coming down the pike to worry about including so-called "comprehensive immigration reform."

By addressing the president’s agenda on so many issues at near the speed of light, Congress is bound to make some huge errors that may compound our current economic crisis without understanding why. How much are all these initiatives going to cost? In truth, no one knows because, although the president may see the "Big Picture," and can articulate the Big Picture, Congress isn’t organized to legislate that way.

We need to slow down and comprehensively examine the combined total effects all these worrisome spending initiatives will have collectively on us, including illegal immigration costs, before they become law.

When a legislative body fails to address the impacts of an entire stream of proposals in summary, we citizens will surely pay for this huge, strategic mistake. That strategic mistake not only includes figuring the total costs of the entire stream of initiatives, but also includes the failure to see and understand the second and third order effects such failure would create.

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A simple example of not viewing the whole, including unintended consequences, before approval of each part recently happened in my hometown, a small city of 26,000 mostly homeowners.

The city council heard four different developer proposals for 200, 350, 589, and 250 apartment complexes one at a time, separated by a few months each. The city could most likely absorb one new apartment complex, but if all four had been approved one project at a time, each on its own merits, look what the city would have approved: 1,380 new apartments.

If constructed, this many apartments would surely result in high vacancy rates, which would lead to landlords using HUD Section 8 vouchers to fill the high density structures with less than credit-worthy occupants, which would increase the community’s crime rate, lower property values, increase the cost of social services and infrastructure requirements, and even change the small town culture to an urban one. Those impacts could not have been foreseen, viewed one proposal at a time.

Congress and/or the president must slow down and examine all the president’s agenda as a whole, not rush to pass each of its parts. We taxpayers also need to see the Big Picture and understand what the potential second and third order, unintended consequences of the total initiatives are.

Then and only then should we commit resources by law for any single program, based on our ability to pay and institute national priorities if we can’t pay for them all. Using the old Congressional process of debating and passing one bill at a time, may very well put the finishing nails in our economic coffin, one at a time.

Col. David Shaver is a retired U.S. Army colonel who writes primarily about defense issues.

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