The man is an amazing orator. His victory speech was a masterpiece of ups and downs, of gestures and slogans, until his fans couldn't control their joy.
But what if the words are as plentiful as sand and there's nothing to eat? The real issues are the deeds and their results, and here much is unclear.
Four years ago, newly elected Barack Obama promised to extricate the U.S. economy from the doldrums, but he failed. The crisis is still troubling every household in the United States, and the U.S. economy is on the brink of an abyss.
In diplomacy, Obama didn't stop Iran's nuclear ambitions despite the threat to American interests. In social affairs, the gaps haven't narrowed. Regarding the environment, he promised to solve global warming, but that hasn't happened either. And on our patch, Obama promised to advance the peace process with the Palestinians, spoke about the 1967 borders and even called for a construction freeze in the settlements - but it's one thing to speak and another thing to do.
I wasn't surprised. Four years ago, on inauguration day, I wrote a piece here called "The alchemist." Anyone who declares that he will get America out of its economic crisis by expanding budgets and greatly increasing spending, I wrote, is an alchemist in the best case and lacks economic understanding in the worst.
It's allowed, even right, to take a key issue such as health insurance and carry out a significant reform. But you can't in the same breath pump hundreds of billions of dollars into recovery programs, decrease mortgage burdens, raise salaries, increase tax benefits, expand the public sector, increase grants to the states, and so on.
Only someone who wants to be Santa Claus can act so irresponsibly. He has brought the U.S. economy to the brink of a monstrous deficit of 8 to 9 percent of gross domestic product in each of the past three years. The giant public debt there has reached 105 percent of GDP.
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz pushed us into these kinds of deficits and debts, we'd have been declared bankrupt a long time ago, and the kinds of demonstrations we see in Athens would be taking place here. But the world cuts the big U.S.A. some slack - for the time being. This will end one day in a huge global crisis that will make the crises in Greece and Spain look like holidays at Club Med.
Obama didn't just increase spending without reason. He's an ideologist who believes that the government knows better than the people what do with the money. He favors a budget that is larger, intervenes more and supervises more; this suppresses business activity.
The United States' financial health didn't improve over the past four years. Growth is low and unemployment is high. Millions have lost their jobs, homes, savings and pensions. Obama didn't put the color back into America's cheeks, which have become paler and more emaciated.
Some people say Obama will now have to change direction, to stop being Santa Claus and raise taxes. If he does this immediately, we may be saved from another huge global crisis. But since he's an ideologue who wants a strong government that leads the way with enormous budgets, and since he sees himself as a savior who must dish out money and benefits, it will be very hard for him to change direction.
In his victory speech, Obama said "the best is yet to come." That's Obama. He's addicted to the sound of the masses cheering. He loves the thunder of applause and the love that is poured on him from the rafters. So he won't do what's necessary. He won't take the necessary measures and he won't raise taxes enough. He only knows how to be Santa Claus.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now