With everything starting to unravel for Barack Obama, it's somewhat curious that he's chosen to focus his most recent efforts on saving Big Bird.
The "official" account of the events in Libya leading up to the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans continues to unravel. The Obama administration now seems to have rejected or misplaced, to be charitable, requests for additional security. Secret documents appear to have gone missing. And the riot supposedly provoked by an anti-Islamic video on YouTube may never have happened. A congressional hearing Wednesday into the events that some, even now, are starting to call "Benghazi-gate" did not go well.
In response to a question about security arrangements in Libya from Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Eric Nordstrom—who served as the State Department's top security official in Libya—said a conversation before the incident with the regional director for Near Eastern Affairs left him believing "it was abundantly clear, we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. And the question that we would ask is, again, 'How thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?'" This is hardly a ringing endorsement of the administration's efforts to keep people safe.
There is also an unfolding potential campaign finance scandal Obama must now answer for. "The independently owned website Obama.com, which steers users to the president's campaign donation website, gets most of its traffic from foreign countries, raising questions about the legality of tens of millions of small dollar donations to the campaign, according to a new report" issued by the Government Accountability Institute, the Washington Examiner reported Monday.
"The president's outreach and fundraising," the paper reported, "have targeted websites in Chinese, Arabic, Thai, and Korean."
As a general rule, donations from foreign nationals to U.S. political campaigns are illegal. Yet the Obama campaign, as it did in 2008, is generating significant financial support in this arena, often in contributions so small as to not trigger the basic reporting requirements concerning the identity of donors that are standard for contributions over $200.
Instead of addressing either of these things, we have the president's defense of Big Bird, which may be simple enough to explain. The "Muppeteer" who operates the character's costume is, according to some reports, paid around $300,000 per year, which makes Big Bird a "1 percenter" whose tax bill would go up under the Obama plan to let the tax rates in America's highest wage earners rise after the first of the year.
The Simpson-Bowles plan for long-term deficit reduction contemplates an increase in federal government spending from its post-war historical average of just over 18 percent to almost 20 or 21 percent, which translates in a revenue spike of $5 trillion over 10 years. That, coupled with the plan's proposed reduction or elimination of $1 trillion in tax deductions and tax credits means, if enacted, Simpson-Bowles will move $6 trillion out of the private U.S. economy into the government's coffers. To do that, Obama is going to need every high income taxpayer he can find—which means he can't afford to lose Big Bird.
Even with Big Bird's share though, it still won't be enough. There will still have to be massive taxes on whole sectors of the U.S. economy, like a carbon tax or some other form of job-killing, cost-hiking energy tax, and maybe even require the imposition of a European-style Value Added Tax on every transaction made in America.
If Obama wins re-election, higher taxes will be the order of the day—even on Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, and the rest of the gang on Sesame Street.