Author Topic: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"  (Read 8754 times)

Honest Abe

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"It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« on: January 12, 2014, 04:27:08 AM »
I really don't intend for this to get political, but rather the above (actual)  quote is a symptom of government-induced complainypants syndrome.

Both sides experience this syndrome, left and right. The above quote was taken from a person who comes from a household of two government employees (which makes it kind lol-worthy) who make in excess of $200k/year as a household (which makes it cringe-worthy.)

There are alot of people out there who don't save or control their spending, and somehow find a way to blame government officials for their lack of financial security. This is in spite of the fact that they usually have between $5500-35,000 in tax shelters that they somehow choose not to take advantage of.

Anyhoo, thought I'd share. Kind of makes me wonder where all their money actually went!

Gray Matter

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 05:55:19 AM »
I read an interesting essay a few years back (and sadly, don't remember where or by whom, so I can't credit them or link to it.)  It was on the cycle of democracies, and how they all (throughout history) fail eventually.  It went something like this.

  • People live in a dictatorship or monarchy.
  • They are unhappy with distribution of wealth or other conditions and rise up and form a democracy.
  • The democracy works quite well for 200 years or so as people and their descendants remember what it was like under a dictatorship and also remember the basic tenants of a democracy ("we the people").
  • Over time, those memories fade and it starts to occur to people that they can become wealthier by voting to put dollars from the government's coffers into their own pockets.
  • The people begin seeing the government as "them," forgetting that in a democracy, we are the government.  People no longer take responsibility for or feel part of the government and make short-term, greedy decisions via vote.

Now, I have no idea if this is a bunch of hooey or not, but it does seem like we are in the final stages of this cycle.  Everybody wants theirs, and don't realize that getting theirs means taking away from someone else, often their own children or grandchildren.  I think we view entitlements as coming from the government, and not from the taxpayers.  We forget that the more we spend on things like Medicare for the elderly, the less we have to spend on things like education for our children, and vice versa.

I can accept that people will have differing opinions on how the money should be spent (and that's a good thing), but I don't believe the decisions are being made thoughtfully, with an awareness of where the money comes from and what the trade-offs are, and mostly, that the government is not "them," it is "us" (or should be...it often feels like politician don't represent the interests of the people, but we are the ones who vote them in on their platforms and either re-elect or don't).

As I said, not sure if there is any merit to this idea, but it's interesting to noodle.  The example of "It's the (government's) fault I'm broke" seems to align with this thinking of the government as "them" not "us" and a general lessening of taking responsibility.

matchewed

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 06:18:06 AM »
Is there an article or something to go with this?

And in regards to the cyclical nature of democracies, have any modern democracies been around long enough to vet that concept out? Or is it just that number 4 and 5 happens regardless of time throughout the length of the democracy?

Gray Matter

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 06:38:00 AM »
I don't think this was a scholarly article so much as a philosopher's essay and something that can spark interesting conversation.  I did a search on the terms "cycle of democracy" and came up with the following:

http://www.wrisley.com/cycle.htm
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/12053

There are others too--I just posted a couple.


ender

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 08:24:53 AM »
I think we view entitlements as coming from the government, and not from the taxpayers.

Yup.

jnik

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 08:52:47 AM »
I read an interesting essay a few years back (and sadly, don't remember where or by whom, so I can't credit them or link to it.)  It was on the cycle of democracies, and how they all (throughout history) fail eventually.
David Brin has a great essay on this notion.

SwordGuy

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 09:21:49 AM »
For the record, we have a Republic, not a Democracy, as a form of government.

And yes, it's a real problem that people look to the government for damn near everything instead of just fixing the damn problem themselves.

AlanStache

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2014, 10:30:32 AM »
Quote
I think we view entitlements as coming from the government, and not from the taxpayers.

Yes and no.  Some entitlements people pay into with the expectation that they will get something out on the back end; e.g. unemployment insurance and social security.  But yes I still agree with the 'them government' vs 'me' theme here and that my two examples have aspects of a Ponzi scheme.

As far as Obama making them broke, I live in an area with LOTS of govt workers and I can tell you I have heard tons of complaining about the furlough and the few lost days of pay.  Yes most everyone should be able to absorb one or two missing days from a pay check for a few months but that is not reality for non-Mustachians, perhaps they blamed Obama for the furlough and did not have an emergency fund and 'had' to rack up cc debt.  This is still 99% there fault, but I can see how they would see it as Obama making them broke.

Zamboni

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2014, 10:41:03 AM »
^It was congress who didn't get the budget passed.  Blaming the president is especially misguided.

I like that cycle of democracy, and think you've hit the nail right on the head about where we are now as a society.  I would say we are edging very close to being back to #1, especially if you view corporate leaders as royalty. 

AlanStache

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2014, 10:51:53 AM »
Quote
^It was congress who didn't get the budget passed.  Blaming the president is especially misguided.

Did not intend to implicitly support the idea that it was the Presidents fault, yes the president 'only' signs the budget.  Obama has been very successfully made out to the a generic boggy man that can be blamed for anything anytime, I think this too is what makes the original quote work for so many Americans.

Jamesqf

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2014, 12:01:43 PM »
I have to think that "Cycle of Democracy" thing is hooey, if for no other reason than that there haven't been all that many examples, historically.  And of those few, the ones that didn't fall to external invasion have a fairly mixed record.  Iceland's still doing fairly well after a thousand years, Switzerland has been off and on since the 13th century...

It's also good to remember that the US wasn't all that democratic until the last century or so.

mpbaker22

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2014, 12:42:55 PM »
Quote
^It was congress who didn't get the budget passed.  Blaming the president is especially misguided.

Did not intend to implicitly support the idea that it was the Presidents fault, yes the president 'only' signs the budget.  Obama has been very successfully made out to the a generic boggy man that can be blamed for anything anytime, I think this too is what makes the original quote work for so many Americans.

That totally explains why his approval rating is so low while Congress' is so high ... I think people are just fed up with everything.  It is easier to blame on person than 535 people.  But it's also easier to blame a faceless thing than a person.  I guess it goes both ways.

Jamesqf

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2014, 03:48:35 PM »
Quote
^It was congress who didn't get the budget passed.  Blaming the president is especially misguided.

Did not intend to implicitly support the idea that it was the Presidents fault, yes the president 'only' signs the budget.  Obama has been very successfully made out to the a generic boggy man that can be blamed for anything anytime...

Except that in the real world of partisan politics, a President (of either party) has a lot of influence with the members of his party in Congress.  So whether he says "Hey, the opposition are offering a reasonable compromise, vote for it." or "Fight those guys to the last ditch.", most of them are going to follow his lead.

So that explains why the deadlock is just as much Obama's fault as the Republicans.  Now as for why the whiner is broke, it's because he's too dumb/lazy/self-indulgent to live within his means and save for a rainy day.

grantmeaname

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2014, 08:51:53 PM »
So that explains why the deadlock is just as much Obama's fault as the Republicans.
No it doesn't, it just explains that he could potentially do as much as Boehner and senior Republican leadership to pass a budget. That doesn't mean that the lack of a budget is his fault.

ncornilsen

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 07:50:47 AM »
Well, take solace in the fact that in two years when a Republican is in the oval office, it'll all be his fault...

TrulyStashin

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2014, 07:58:29 AM »
One issue we're facing is that for the first 150 years or so of our republic, we were a land of plenty with a relatively small population.  There were many avenues to social mobility -- including going west were land was cheap and plentiful.  It is easier to govern people when the main job is dividing up a big-enough pie.

In many ways, the issues we struggle with now are complicated by the simple fact that our population has grown significantly.  in 1950, we had 150 M people in the U.S.  We now have over 320 M.

I recently heard an economist opine that many of our current problems stem from the fact that the natural resource pie is both shrinking and degrading in quality while population is exploding.  Dividing up a shrinking pie is much harder.

k9

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2014, 08:08:47 AM »
The consequence of that problem is that growth rate is not anymore what it used to be, hence debt problems and budget cuts at the worse time (leverages cut both ways).

HoneyBadger

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2014, 08:36:50 AM »
I've heard the OP's original quote in many forms - "It's ________'s fault that I'm broke."  Blank can be Obama, Bush, Wall Street, the banks, the kids, my wife (or husband), Sallie Mae, and on and on.  In other words, it's ANYONE's fault but the person in the mirror! 

mpbaker22

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2014, 09:57:04 AM »
I heard a similar complaint from an at-the-time new friend in early 2010: "I've been unemployed for the last year and a half thanks to the 'Obama economy'"...
I stay out of political arguments for the most part but in this case it was really hard to not ask what his excuse was for the first 6 months of that when Bush was still president.
Luckily as long as I block him from my newsfeed on FB I hear very little out of him on politics

Whether it's the dumbass and his war or the asshole and his crap healthcare, someone's causing me to go broke!

Jamesqf

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2014, 12:13:58 PM »
Whether it's the dumbass and his war or the asshole and his crap healthcare, someone's causing me to go broke!

Well, all I can say is that I lived through the same years, most of them in the same country, and I'm considerably richer than when I started :-)

simonsez

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2014, 12:24:17 PM »
We now have over 320 M.
Sorry I have to do this but we just broke the 317 million mark a few months ago.  I wouldn't have said anything if I didn't work there.  Carry on!

Eric

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2014, 02:36:30 PM »
The richest part of these complaints was that right after Obama took office, taxes were lower than they were under Bush because of the temporary reduction in the SS tax.  (A bad idea IMO, but nevertheless, what happened)  Yet you'd still hear the same complaints of "high taxes" and claims of "Obama raising my taxes".  Why?  Probably because some talking head told them so and who can be bothered to actually research anything on their own?  That doesn't fan the flames of outrage very well.

matchewed

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2014, 03:37:49 PM »
The richest part of these complaints was that right after Obama took office, taxes were lower than they were under Bush because of the temporary reduction in the SS tax.  (A bad idea IMO, but nevertheless, what happened)  Yet you'd still hear the same complaints of "high taxes" and claims of "Obama raising my taxes".  Why?  Probably because some talking head told them so and who can be bothered to actually research anything on their own?  That doesn't fan the flames of outrage very well.

It has been proven in peer reviewed double blind studies that outrage machines cannot run on facts and reality. :)

RootofGood

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2014, 09:38:08 AM »
I have heard this comment multiple times.  A few people were lamenting the fact that they didn't benefit at all from the huge bull market that started in March 2009.  They were scared that Obama would ruin the country and they sold everything and went to cash/bonds or some bear fund or inverse fund hedging crap. 

In hindsight, those types of investments were quite sub-optimal choices.  I'm not sure why they would blame Obama for their own lack of investing acumen and their poor choice to sell due to emotional concerns at the bottom of a steep correction.  I think they are still waiting for the other shoe to drop in spite of four decent years of economic recovery. 

I didn't vote for Obama and I don't particularly support his party's general fiscal policies.  But it's hard to argue with the general direction of the economic recovery and the huge net worth gains our household has enjoyed during his presidency.  The people blaming Obama for being broke suck at life and have a bad case of teh complainypants going on. 

the fixer

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2014, 09:51:00 AM »
One issue we're facing is that for the first 150 years or so of our republic, we were a land of plenty with a relatively small population.  There were many avenues to social mobility -- including going west were land was cheap and plentiful.  It is easier to govern people when the main job is dividing up a big-enough pie.
I was telling my wife about this thread and she pointed out a more appropriate fact about US history: when this country was founded voting was a right only given to white, male landowners. We've been gradually opening up voting to more and more of the population, which you'd expect would create more special interests and make it more difficult to agree on things.

More people voting by itself is definitely not a bad thing, but it's worrisome that our government was not crafted with this level of participation in mind. I suspect there are better ways to structure things.

mpbaker22

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Re: "It's Obama's fault I'm broke"
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2014, 11:24:50 AM »
The richest part of these complaints was that right after Obama took office, taxes were lower than they were under Bush because of the temporary reduction in the SS tax.  (A bad idea IMO, but nevertheless, what happened)  Yet you'd still hear the same complaints of "high taxes" and claims of "Obama raising my taxes".  Why?  Probably because some talking head told them so and who can be bothered to actually research anything on their own?  That doesn't fan the flames of outrage very well.

But that was a temporary cut that has been restored.  And taxes are higher than they were in January, 2009.  So, particularly for the wealthy, it would be factual to say, "Obama raised my taxes."  For the rest of us, Obamacare has raised taxes as well, but they aren't all tied to income.