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The new president's first duty: Tell Americans the 'whole truth'

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

What a relief that would be after the lies and deceptions of the Bush years. ...Read the full article

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  1. Ed Long from Canada writes: The whole truth is the United States of America, like high risk consumers, operates on cash flow.

    The truth Mr. Simpson asks for is that American stand still for a moment and do an accounting of their financial position.

    I don't know what will do more damage, the trauma of reality or the continued stimulus to keep the cash flowing.
  2. Steve I'm Not an Alberta Redneck from Calgary, Canada writes: Americans cannot handle the truth. Billions spent on Republican advertising and focus groups has created an electorate that is conditioned to think the way the handlers of the far right want them to. Its never the fault of 'real Americans' that they've elected these criminal, scumbag imbeciles for so much of the last 40 years. Its foreigners, minorities and intellectuals.

    All these criminal, scumbag imbeciles have to do is utter the code words that their advisers from Madison Avenue tell them will work and the conditioned will react as if they are puppets.
  3. Ed Long from Canada writes: Steve ... And 'change' is not marketing code that elicits favorable responses?
  4. Mike Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

    The truth about the US?

    They gave us rock 'n' roll and the big block V8.
    I, for one, will be eternally grateful.

    As will we all.
  5. Food for thought from the West Coast from Canada writes: Barack Obama could be the second coming, however, he cannot succeed alone. Americans (and all other people who are in debt up to their eyeballs) must look in the mirror, be able to identify with the gluttonous individual staring back at them, and TELL THEMSELVES THE TRUTH. They need to take personal responsibility for their excesses and 'irrational exuberance'. Given the track record, I don't have a lot of confidence of this turning around too quickly. There are too many people who lack a good understanding of finance and economics to understand the precarious position the USA is in. Few will be willing to lower their standard of living, and also pay more taxes in order to get out of this mess. I wonder why Mr. Obama, or anyone else, would even want to take the job on. Must be a heck of a rush at the top.
  6. Let me tell You How It Is from United States writes: It never ceases to amaze me the condescending attitude of so many Canadians who think because they watch their US Cable TV news channels 99% of the day( their Canadian TV is too boring) they presume that they know everything about Americans and the United States. Only a Canadian would assume they know everything about the US. No other people from any other countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan, India.... would be so presumptious and pompous to give unwanted advice to others.
    Thankfully we have strong border regulations now to keep the envious Obsessed-with-America experts on their side of the border. Hopefully Jeff Simpson is on the no-fly list. You should focus your hot air on the rocky Canadian economy, imploding Canadian health care system and archaic 19th Century Canadian Parliament structure. The other good thing is other than a couple of weirdos who read the GM in the US nobody outside Canada cares for your advice.
  7. Let me tell You How It Is from United States writes: We all know what most Canadians will be doing tomorrow: the craving for American attention Canadians will be glued to their TV sets looking at Obama being sworn is as President.
    Then they will be scanning their TV screens for hours waiting for the 1 second glimpse of the Canadian Embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue with a 1/2 second shot of the Canadian Flag flapping around. They will then see images of President B.O. (Him) waving and smiling at the crowd and wrongfully assume that he was smiling and waving at the Canadian Flag. Canadians will read too much into this and start frothing at the mouth that they have indeed been blessed by Him (B.O) looking gazefully at them. Then Canadians will sit through hours of the Presidential TV entertainment and wait for the likes of Mike Myers or Jim Carrey and keep on repeating to themselves: 'he's Canadian'..'uh....uh.. she's Canadian'...'He's Canadian'...'did you know he's Canadian'. You can always tell when a Canadian is watching TV in the US when these words are spoken and gives a sense of desperate pride.
  8. WB 100 from Canada writes: To Let me tell You...,

    You don't sound american so much as you do a self-loathing canadian. Sorry buddy, but I'm not convinced.

    Cheer up, your native country is a pretty good place to live, notwithstanding all that condescension. By the way, your telling us all 'How It Is' only makes things worse.
  9. Ryan Lemay from Canada writes: Let me tell You How It Is from United States writes: We all know what most Canadians will be doing tomorrow: the craving for American attention Canadians will be glued to their TV sets looking at Obama being sworn is as President. Then they will be scanning their TV screens for hours waiting for the 1 second glimpse of the Canadian Embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue with a 1/2 second shot of the Canadian Flag flapping around. They will then see images of President B.O. (Him) waving and smiling at the crowd and wrongfully assume that he was smiling and waving at the Canadian Flag. Canadians will read too much into this and start frothing at the mouth that they have indeed been blessed by Him (B.O) looking gazefully at them. Then Canadians will sit through hours of the Presidential TV entertainment and wait for the likes of Mike Myers or Jim Carrey and keep on repeating to themselves: 'he's Canadian'..'uh....uh.. she's Canadian'...'He's Canadian'...'did you know he's Canadian'. You can always tell when a Canadian is watching TV in the US when these words are spoken and gives a sense of ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- LMTYHIIFUS: Been a while since you have been with a women eh??? Sorry, but it is really starting to show.
  10. John Buchanan from Cambridge, MA, United States writes: Free the Palestinians from 40 years of Occupation, Blockade, Deimation, and Massacres in Gaza.
  11. Ed Tracey from New Hampshire, United States writes: 'Let Me Tell You' sounds exactly like - as Mr. Simpson put it so aptly - one of those 'banished to the think tanks, Weekly Standard', etc.

    Send us a postcard.
  12. Albin Forone from Canada writes: The thing about bubbles is they have to deflate. Spending trillions to pump air back into a bubble economy would be an hilarious spectacle if its social consequences weren't frightening. Neoconservatives can be excused for rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of 'stimulus' amounting to an historically unprecedented and uncontrollable refund of decades of corporate and personal taxes, creating a deficit that Reagan (the inventor of 'conservative' profligacy) could only dream of, crippling government at every level for at least a decade, all to be carried out by ... a Democrat administration. Obama's job is to tear up this script.
  13. Russell Barth from Nepean, Canada writes: by whole truth do you mean who is REALLY behind the 9/11 attacks?

    No, of course not. The 'official story' is the truth, and anyone who even questions how a building can be 'dropped' (WTC 7) after it has been damaged....... well, they aren't patriotic.
  14. C L from T O, Canada writes: So a catharsis is in order, and Americans need to be told the truth, eh?

    Well the first order of business is to get to the truth about the war in Iraq. The real questions of why Iraq was targeted despite the lack of evidence it was involved in 9/11 or WMDs, who profited and continues to profit from the resultant war, why thousands of executive orders and executive privileges were required to hide many of the details, how and why millions of e-mails -- ones that could have shone a light on these matters -- were lost, etc. etc. etc.

    If the war was just, then so be it. If not, a national reckoning is required to address the death of thousands of American soldiers, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and the maiming of scores of thousands more.

    Unless the Obama and the Democrats deal with these ghosts in the American closet, I, for one, would have considered his administration an abject failure.
  15. Dave Moores from Oakville, Canada writes: To any of our neighbours from south of the border reading the self-satisfied guff above, know this: the vast majority of Canadians wish you well today. In electing Barak Hussein Obama as your president you have once again demonstrated your country's amazing capacity for self-renewal and your ability to confound the naysayers.

    I guess it's really disappointing for the America-bashers out there that you now have an articulate, decent and very capable individual as your president.

    I for one am very glad to to living next door to your country and not Mr. Putin's Russia.

    Enjoy the day.
  16. John Doucette from Manotick, Canada writes: and perhaps Canadian leadership should come clean about our colonial status and the meaninglessness of voting in a Canadian election? God bless our colony.
  17. P Logan from Calgary, Canada writes: Good column.
  18. gordon davies from Victoria, Canada writes: With the war by unsound lies thus committing a counties youth to harm or worse death & for unleashing the mad dog moguls & bankers to the pockets of the whole populace , needs some answers. Its as if the G.W. administration had the ear of bungling thieves & incompetence thus committing a nation to near ruin .
  19. EJ Ravensbud from Canada writes: It is amazing how much advice Jeff can give from the cheap seats. He has done that for years in Canadian politics and is now jumping into the American political arena. What background does Jeff have that we should consider his advice to be sound? An academic with an endless string of editorials? Did Jeff ever have to make a decision that had consequences for anyone other than himself? When Jeff has walked the walk, talked the talk, by at least attempting to run for political office then perhaps he will garner some credibility.
  20. Sue W from Canada writes: 2007
    .....The Comptroller General of the United States proclaims that our current standard of living is unsustainable unless drastic action is taken.....This unrealistic 'promise' is fiscally irresponsible and is mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren.

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=OS2fI2p9iVs

    October 6, 2008
    Anti-deficit crusaders Peter G. Peterson and David Walker bought an ad in The New York Times this week, trying to alert U.S. voters to the desperate need for entitlement reform....

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-econ_07edi.State.Edition1.13c05fa.html
  21. Jim Q from Halifax, Canada writes: Let Me Tell You How It Is,

    Guilty as charged. We don't know or understand everything about the USA.

    Take baseball, for example. What the heck is up with that?

    Still, one thing we are quite good at is math. And, taking a quick look at your fiscal books over the past 30 years, I'd have to say we're somewhat better in this area than you are. At least on average.

    So here's the skinny: you're headed for ruin. For some reason that, yes, we do not understand at all, you insist on spending way, way more money than you have, or ever could have on a combination of SUVs, suburban monser homes and invading Iraq.

    We may not know why you do this, but we do know you've gotta stop. We're telling you this as your friends.

    If you need a tutorial on the tougher bits of math, like counting, do let us know. Seeing as we're neighbours, there's be no charge.

    Show us that this whole 'change' dealeo is more than just more mediocre drivel from your political class.

    Set your house in order.
  22. Ed Long from Canada writes: Mr. Simpson is displaying all the narcissistic prurience that has become the hallmark of Canadian liberals so vainly trying to cover their irrelevance.

    Contemporary financial systems are no more built upon hard assets than buildings are built upon stone. Information is not in books and music is not on a disc.

    Everything is transient.

    Global geo-politics are based upon 1st tier nations indebting and/or exploiting 2nd tier nations.

    There are not vaults of cash or gold anywhere.

    The currency of the future will be innovation and intellectual property .... not social engineering and archaic liberal theory including punitive taxation.

    Mr. Simpson is just miffed that California is going into the flusher and Arnie cannot afford all those green initiatives, and Premier Campbell has pushed his environment secretariat down the ladder.

  23. Joe Dick from Kingston, Canada writes: From the Article: 'Mr. Obama has slowly been turning his rhetoric from the 'all is possible' of the campaign to the need for hard decisions, a blend that will surely define today's address'.

    It's like listening to a movie star give an interview about their next movie. Vapid, empty and painful to listen to.

    You voted based on emotion and skin colour, I sincerely hope the movie is better then the interview.
  24. Steve French from Windsor, Canada writes: I for one do not wish the U.S. well and hope they don't let Obumstead through the border.
    The sooner the Empire dies, the better for all the oppressed people of the world.
    Bye, bye, American pie.
  25. bill williams from Guelph from Canada writes: -

    Boy, lot's of wingnuts on here today.

    Simpson's column is right on ... as far as fact goes. But he misses the target on timing: Today is not the day to be offering the US and Obama advice on how to handle their economy. We've had months of that, and as soon as the maintenance people clean up after the inauguration we will have more months of it: following up on good ideas, criticizing bad, doing the accounting, reviewing errors.

    TODAY ... today is the day to convey our heartfelt congratulations and gratitude for the fact that they have managed to unburden themselves of an administration and an ideological bent that has strangled their country and the rest of the world (including us) for too many years. We have all fallen down a hill. The good news is that today we can begin the process of standing up, dusting ourselves off and starting over to make that climb back up to the higher ground.

    We have, for a long time, depended upon the US for leadership. Recently, they have failed us. Today, they recognise failure and head off on a new path in a new way. TODAY ... today, we offer congratulations and best wishes.

    -
  26. john may from writes: The Dems could care less what Simpson thinks. They have waited a long time to have control of the public purse and by God are they going to spend regardless of what Obama says. The president proposes and the Senate disposes.
    Restraint is a virtue, doesn't get many votes though.
    I look forward to the next Simpson column regarding the collapse of the UK financial system, and a subsequent column on how to fix the problems facing Europe. Then I await his take on the imploding Chinese economy and the ever increasing suppression of dissent as millions of Chinese migrant workers return to their huts in the contryside.
    Come February he'll be back to the machinations in Ottawa or if we are luck he'll be off to warmer climes to clear his head.
    Personally I have turned off my radio & TV to get away from the 24/7 Obamania, must have been like this when Christ was wandering Judea.
  27. jack tom from Vancouver, Canada writes: Mr Simpson is right that our political class is corrupt and have not been straight with the people. What is even worse is that, the media class exhibit worse behavior for not speaking the truth to its readers. The media has been too partisan in reporting and telling half truths to its readers. Their analysis lacks depth, insight and balance; often blind sighted by their own political agenda. This article lacks conviction and moral authority. A bankrupt journalist can not tell a bankrupt politician what is good.
  28. gary wilson from Calgary, writes: And if the 'whole truth' could jsut spread north of the border then we could enjoy a responsible government, too. The lies and deceptions of the Harperites have been equally infuriating, albeit less damaging than those of their neo-con cousins down south.

    The ideologues of the northern right now need to also be banished to retirement, the Fraser Institute, the Western Standard (thankfully has), SUN Media, AM radio, and CTV News - where their anger and denial can be maintained.
  29. Mervin Hollingsworth from Saskatoon, Sk, Canada writes: Simpson is being somewhat disingenuous when he suggests that all the things he outlined in his column as being the fault of George Bush. Would the financial collapse not have happened in whatever administration was there.? Did George Bush encourage greed and venality on the part of executives and their companies? All of the systems were in place for many years and to suggest that it is all Bush's fault is unfair. There should have been more balance in this column. It is always easy to sh.t on elected politicians particularly when they are not of your political persuasion. Shame on Mr. Simpson.
  30. Mervin Hollingsworth from Saskatoon, Sk, Canada writes: Mr. Simpson wants the public to have the truth. The fact is the public can't take the truth. That is because of our adversial political system where opposition parties will pounce all over whatever the statement is and offering simplistic solutions which they know are not true but will scream bloody murder in order to convince the public that the government is panicing, lying or misleading them. So any politician, particularly the government, who decides to be completely frank would be in a mess of trouble.
  31. The Work Farce from Canada writes: Wake up and smell the blow back. Bring the troops home from 750 military bases around the world. Make peace. Take the trillion dollar peace dividend. Build an America of truth, compassion and equality, genuine democracy the way it was always meant to be.
  32. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: Okay conservatards, thanks for stopping in. You managed to get in all your Rush Limburger/Sarah Palin talking points, you can go now.
    Adults are talking.
    Isn't it time for the Mike Savage radio show?
  33. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: @ Mervin Hollingsworth: Actually, no, the collapse wouldn't have been possible without the regulatory 'reforms' the GOP and GWB brought in. Nothing Clinton did comes even close to what Bush achieved.

    Your support of GWB proves that you a a RRW Fascist.

    One would think that even you and your ilk would have learned something from the Enron, et. al., debacles during Bush Senior's watch.

    It is very clear that you have failed to do so.

    Looks like John Stuart Mill had you and your ilk dead to rights when he made the following observation:

    'While it is true that not all conservatives are stupid, it is also true that most stupid people are conservative.'

    Way back in 1848.

    Funny how nothing has changed since then - some 161 years on.
  34. Mike Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

    If all Obama has is that he is not Bush then the US will be worse off under Obama than Bush.

    And one thing we are certain of.

    Bush was not the Anti-Christ.
    The prophecy says the Anti-Christ will be filled with hope and promise, yet be evil incarnate.
    Loved by the world over.

    I, for one, should like to see some Obama faults sooner rather than later.
  35. S H from Texas, United States writes: His bosses will never want him to do that, and he won't.
  36. richard ruzicka from hillsboro,OR., United States writes: Perhaps someday the media will remove their blinders and ear plugs and tell the 'whole truth'. I don't think F.D.R. was as pure as the driven snow. For an eye opener I challenge all my neighbors north of the border to view the BBC video 'Sacrifice at Pearl Harbor' (remastered 2001)
  37. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: NO U.S. President has the power to fundamentally change things. The last one who tried to challenge the true avenues of power got a bullet in the head for his trouble (JFK).
    Just watch Obumstead ratchet up the military spending, as EVERY U.S. President has done since Kennedy.
    I fear for Obumstead if he ever starts to believe his own hype.
    It might be nice symbolically, I suppose, for black children to have a role who isn't a rapping criminal for a change.
    Think small 'c' change. Very small.
  38. Gary Dare from Portland, Oregon, Canada, writes: Mr. Simpson writes, 'A national sales tax, perhaps tied to future health-care payments, should be examined,' Right now, a payroll tax of 1.45% on all income (and matching amount by your employer; self employed pay the full 2.9%) is levied to fund the US federal Medicare for Seniors (you just have to make it to age 65), and that plan has just gone into the red again (saved by accounting tricks for a couple of years). Replacing that with a GST would help but not mitigate long term liabilities. (Liabilities which are a time bomb for every western country, and even China and Japan due to demographics.)

    'plus a trimming of the mortgage and property tax deductibility' In a low interest rate environment, paid mortgage interest is low enough that the benefits are now minimal. Also, too many people don't understand that this is an alternative deduction that you can claim if it's larger than the standard deduction, which you get even if sleeping under a bridge. It's not a line item deduction, as many people especially in Canada assume (or some expats like to leave the mistaken impression).

    Unfortunately, taxation, spending and deficits are too often treated as separate items in the US political discussion rather than as related items. That's why you hear contradictory statements from the same people on lower taxes and increased spending, never mind debt and deficits.

    Best of luck to the new president.
  39. Ed Long from Canada writes: After today, only action counts.

    Rhetoric is for campaigns and church pulpits.

    And George W. Bush will be remembered for dealing with the largest crises to face America since WWII while governing a generation that only knows 'now' and 'I want'.
  40. sky goldsmith from Vancouver, Canada writes: Instead of being so excited and concerned about this mockery of democracy called the USA, Simpson calling the Robama team 'appointments to his administration that can best be characterized by exceptional accomplishment, abiding pragmatism and considerable experience. He promised in the campaign to bring 'qualified people to government,' and he has fulfilled that promise.' Obama has surrounded himself with all the usual and most high level suspects--banksters warmongers-- world manipulators- -Brzezinsky- --Soros-- --Clintons, man doesn't get better than that...
    Change maybe---but in which direction?
    As a black woman, I see great celebrations going on in the black community--- but on what? Just for skin colour and a couple of promises which have by actions shown to be undermined already? I could see Cynthia McKinney being a far better candidate than Obama...
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=20RGookyRrM&feature=related

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=MouUJNG8f2k&feature=related

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=e-KJCMWcoms&feature=related

    We are getting a lier and manipulator. Instead of getting so excited by the new POTUS we in Canada should be concerned about all our own mess here due to the fact that Harper is a Bushite and there is a need to have a leader that will stop giving money to the banksters here in Canada. Where has our press written about the real economic situation facing Canada? Where can we find a cogente story line about what our government is doing with the banks? Why there is money for the banksters and not jail for the culprits? Where are the regulators fixing the laws to stop the banksters from continuing ripping Canadians off? Credit cards interests are usury. Consumers and workers are paying for the banksters greed and no one is looking to give the taxpayers any support. Obama is just another puppet.
  41. Andy Leskur from Toronto, Canada writes: One cannot deny the historical significance of today's inaguration. However, race was very much a key factor in the election, one that President Obama played strategically to his advantage - how else to explain the historic turnout of black voters. As mentioned in other posts, Obama ought to be judged by his actions and his record - sadly these matters were dismissed or ignored all to easily by the media, his supporters, and an electorate that allowed personality to hijack substance during the election. His lack of meaningful political decision making (ie. mayor or governor), lack of political experience (time wise), and a rather lacklustre record of voting (late term abortions, taxes, labour) was carefully swept under the rug with gross hyperbole and histrionics on President Obama's part. He has carefully and successfully created a cult of personality around his campaign/presidency. This cult of personality can be a powerful thing in that he can channel that into motivating people to do great things. Conversly, it also creates a messiah complex in the eyes of many. The expectations placed on him are far too great and that responsibility falls squarely on the President's shoulders. His pragmatic political philosophy of HOPE and CHANGE does not address the real problems of a country that has created a huge economic, social, and political deficit which started under Clinton and grew exponentially under ruinous presidency of Bush. His hope and change may dangerously turn into hubris if and when things do not go his way. What will we all believe in then?
  42. Gary Dare from Portland, Oregon, Canada, writes: Mervin Hollingsworth writes, 'Simpson is being somewhat disingenuous when he suggests that all the things he outlined in his column as being the fault of George Bush.' While current problems stem from behaviors and actions going back 20-30 years, everything hit the fan on the watch of the younger President Bush. Even before the recent bailouts, the US national (federal) debt mushroomed (now approaching $10.7 Trillion) and debt-to-GDP ratio has risen to approach those of France and Germany, and a trajectory to continue rising towards those of Italy and Japan.

    http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/
  43. Sam Yerramilli from Montreal, Canada, writes: You know Jeffrey, the first thing that came to mind when I saw your heading on the front page of the g&M sight was,

    he should take a valium.

    The big job he has ahead of him is not to be scoffed at and will be hurdled with plenty of naysaying busybodies like the mediatic industry. I hope we don't take away his means to provide those who look to him for whatever they think they might need. Not to be scoffed at atoll.
  44. sky goldsmith from Vancouver, Canada writes: I forgot:
    Look at this:http://www.propublica.org/article/obamas-sba-pick-helped-run-private-equity-fund-with-some-less-than-stellar-
    or
    http://www.propublica.org/article/how-citigroup-unraveled-under-geithners-watch

    What is the greatest travesty and end of life on earth as it was meant to be---the appointment of Monsanto pal Vilsack as head of agriculture
    http://www.organicc onsumers. org/articles/ article_15573. cfm

    For those who don't know--Monsanto- -Part 1 of 11
    http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=y-tQPEViXgI&feature=related
    Millions against Monsanto Campaign
    http://www.organicc onsumers. org/monlink. cfm

    and perhaps the most concise and best explanation I have seen yet
    Institute of Science in Society--GM is Dangerous and Futile
    We Need Organic Sustainable Food and Energy Systems Now
    http://www.i- sis.org.uk/ GMDangerousFutil e.php

    We need a POTUS that is concerned about the earth, our planet and home, not as an after thought, but as a priority. The planet is dying a speed death. Our oceans are dying, rain forests, temperate forests of BC and other places in Canada, our bees are dying world over and the only thing Simpson is concerned is about 'how wonderful his team of pragmatic warmongers/fraudsters (they all supported the bailouts which went to pay bonuses and other things unrelated to have the economy going) that could care less about the effect of the Ponzy scheme in the lives of the people?
    Simpson your propaganda attempt is commendable. Some of us have long memories and are really well informed.
  45. joe commonsense from Canada writes: A crisis created by Clinton's push to lend to those who could not afford a loan and now this left wing ideologue of Obama will burden every american with multy trillions spending and taxe hike. Surely heading in the wrong direction but that is the dealings of such ideologue. Hey he has carisma so he must be right! The truth , the whole truth is you don't get out the hole by digging an even bigger one. Acknoledge you spent more than you earned and take a life style correction, live within your means for awhile and watch the hole dissapear. Unconfortable for a little while but the only solution. Ralf Klein did it in Alberta and it worked, a little set back in income for a time and sooner than latter we were out of debt and proporous. Too hard to grasp you say. Not surprised.
  46. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: Good riddance to Bush and his cronies. Georgie is lucky there is no god, for he would surely rot in hell alongside History's greatest monsters.
  47. Ed Long from Canada writes: The criticism of George W. Bush is a condemnation of ourselves.

    I am tired of saying, as an old socialist politician said to me, people get the government they deserve.

    We have just completed an era of unprecedented prosperity, self-indulgence and greed. It was not mandated by any government. It has produced a generation that has never known real hardship and wants things to be better, now.

    President Obama has been selected by this social moment. His color, in 2009, should not be an issue but America needs a 'moment of positive history'. His administrative experience and drafting of policy is very limited. He has never sat in the chair behind the 'Buck Stops Here' plaque.

    I hope he does well.

    But, remember, he was selected by a society that could not accept the obvious crisis we are facing nor can we accept the baroque prosperity of the last two decades will not return.

    President Obama can only lead government. The new economy that eventually arises will determine its own priorities and opportunities, aside from government policy, and that is why American innovation, marketing and energy is so important.

    Jeffrey Simpson, is speaking as a citizen of a country that retains a colonial mentality and the assumption 'somebody', ie. government, will direct history.

    This column is Canadian nanny state expectations projected upon a nation that rebelled against the colonial power ..... and moved on.
  48. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: Obumstead is nothing more than a warmongering clone of Condomsleeza and Colon Powell.
    Of course, as a jaded cynic I wish I was wrong, and will be shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, if things turn out otherwise.
    Don't hold yer breath...
  49. Ed Long from Canada writes: Mike S.

    Actually, I don't want to see Obama's faults because they could be trouble.

    Clinton was Governor of Arkansas, Raegan was Governor of California, the Bushes grew up surrounded by power.

    President Obama is a neophyte and I really hope I am not seeing a deer in the headlights about to be run over by Washington veterans.
  50. Rick from Sidney BC from United States writes: Geez I can't believe the nerve of this man Simpson.

    The 'whole truth,' spoken 'frankly and boldly.'

    Where are you when our own PM, Mr. Harper lies, distorts and generally screws us around.

    Where were you when the G & M endorsed him in the last election only to retract , sort of, the endorsement after the disasterous financial update presented after the election. I really don't need to list all the other stuff do I.

    This is just marvelous.
  51. Elmo Harris from Niagara, Canada writes: Let me tell You How It Is from United States writes: blah, blah, blah ...The other good thing is other than a couple of weirdos who read the GM in the US...
    ---
    By your own definition your confession to being a 'weirdo' is noted.
  52. Rick from Sidney BC from United States writes: In a way I do agree with Let me tell You How It Is from United States

    without the snarly bits. Our media is a bit preoccupied with the USA.

    A bit of advice for them would be to wake up to what has happened here.
  53. Tom Friell from Calgary, Canada writes: This is probably the first Simpson column in a while that shows a nodding acquaintence with reality.

    The US government would need to cut overall spending to zero immediately to cover the unfunded, over the horizon costs of both Medicare and Social Security.

    Instead what we're more likely going to see under Obama and a Democratic Congress is a long term increase in spending on both of those without a comparable increase in funding.

    The second other countries stop buying US debt issues your going to see another crisis of proportions that will make the current one look small.
  54. Gary Dare from Portland, Oregon, Canada, writes: Ed Long writes, 'Jeffrey Simpson, is speaking as a citizen of a country ...' He's a dual US-Canadian citizen, born in New York City in 1949. He came to Canada as a child. He's not a pro-monarchist, either.
  55. Gary Dare from Portland, Oregon, Canada, writes: Ed Long writes, 'We have just completed an era of unprecedented prosperity, self-indulgence and greed.' Unfortunately, a lot of that prosperity was a facade propped up by borrowed money ... which lead to today's situation. During my Chicago years, I figured that I was among the higher earners amongst my fellow condo owners but borrowing no money other than the mortgage for my unit, I lived a comfortable but modest life not as large as most of my neighbours. A recent visit found nearly a fifth of the units in foreclosure or at least a month or more behind on mortgage, according to friends on the board who have been pursuing some owners backed up on monthly assessments or chasing down banks who now hold the empty units.
  56. Against the crowd from Burlington, Canada writes: Lies and deceptions. You know nothing Mr. Simpson. A hournalist answerable to know and has the beebfit of hindsight. You've no idea what decisions have to be made in a political arena.
  57. 7370 Km to the East Please from kelowna to heathrow, Canada writes: What is up with the people posting on the message boards on the inauguration here at the Globe and Mail? They sound like a bunch of neo-con, Bush-Cheney-ites. Let's celebrate the fact that America is about to become a much better country, and that we should be proud that our neighbour has done something that we cannot: elect an intellectual who was most suited for office and who breaks the mold of the old white man.
  58. Against the crowd from Burlington, Canada writes: 'mold of the old white man'! Hm, glad we're not basing elections on the colour of a person's skin.
  59. Against the crowd from Burlington, Canada writes: Simpson is a self-righteous left-wing no-nothing. No wonder he's a journalist.
  60. D Mac from Canada writes: Nobody wants to hear the truth- You can't borrow your way out of debt- People have to start saving not spending. Interest rates must go up because mose can't afford to borrow any more and creating more debtors won't solve anything.

    That will mean short term pain- That means 3-5 years not 9 to 12 months. The other route- borrowing coupled with more spending will cause a decade of pain and unknown social strife- This is the most dangerous period in our collective history.

    Don't panic though be happy spend merily
  61. Steve I'm Not an Alberta Redneck from Calgary, Canada writes: Mike Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

    'If all Obama has is that he is not Bush then the US will be worse off under Obama than Bush.'

    Mike, get a rain hat. Rain water is soft and when it leaks into your brain it softens that too. Too much rain in Vicoria. Its obviously not a safe place for you to be.
  62. thomson gary from Canada writes: I love Canada but its pathetic 'me too' predilection regarding the States, and in full swing over Obama, is embarassing. CBC was interviewing Canadians who were going to Washington just to stand on the street and watch Qbama go by.
  63. Gary Dare from Portland, Oregon, Canada, writes: thomson gary writes, 'I love Canada but its pathetic 'me too' predilection regarding the States, and in full swing over Obama, is embarassing.' Apparently, media from around the world is indulging in this. Go online to British, Irish, French, etc. sites ... Canada is hardly unique. Kenya declared a national holiday.

    But I would agree that this is a bit over the top, despite the historical significance on a global level.
  64. Systemic Risk from Canada writes: Simpson reveals his true colours when he states his belief that only Republicans can be ideologues. I guess these 'ideologues' are so radical in their belief that deficits are okay as long as they are smaller, as a % of GDP that the rate of (nominal) growth; in fact by that measure, the Bush tax cuts were affordable (and he tried unsuccessfully to address entitlements, and reform Social Security). However, if he wants Obama's approval rating to drop to Bush levels, see what happens when he proposes a national sales tax for the US (where most states and many cities already levy a sales tax - I believe in Chicago, it is up to 12%).
  65. Systemic Risk from Canada writes: If higher taxes were the road to prosperity, and the left seems to have falsely, yet joyfully, concluded in the last few months, why are things just as bad in France and Germany? In these countries, where the government takes 50% of GDP, the unemployment rate rarely drops below 10%, and 2% growth is a 'good year'. This is the model for America?
  66. Donalda Williams Clogg from Hudson, Canada writes: It seems to me Mr.Simpson's article could be a good blue-print for possible success.
    To Let me tell you, surprisingly Canada could learn a great deal from the United States with this new Administration.
  67. joe commonsense from Canada writes: You are bang on D Mac from Canada. I'm glad there are still people with a brain out there.

    I'm not surprised to see the left wing worship at the altar of Obama and hope Harper will worship as well. How stupid would it be for Harper to not recognize a god in the making? Pathatic. America is entering a time of great turmoil under the guidance of Obama .Keep singing Obama while you take the beds of N. American from under them. Anyway, doesn't the singing sound good for now?
  68. Bill Hopkins from London, Canada writes: Steve I'm Not an Alberta Redneck from Calgary, Canada writes: Americans cannot handle the truth. Billions spent on Republican advertising and focus groups has created an electorate that is conditioned to think the way the handlers of the far right want them to. Its never the fault of 'real Americans' that they've elected these criminal, scumbag imbeciles for so much of the last 40 years. Its foreigners, minorities and intellectuals.

    Gosh, substutite left for right and that sound an awfull lot like the Liberals in Canada.
  69. Mike Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes: Donalda Williams Clogg from Hudson, Canada writes: It seems to me Mr.Simpson's article could be a good blue-print for possible success.
    To Let me tell you, surprisingly Canada could learn a great deal from the United States with this new Administration.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Seems a bit premature, Donalda.
    He was just inaugurated today.

    He hasn't dome anything yet.

    It would appear the Liberals have already learned this lesson.
    That is, the doing nothing part.
    Except they do it for 13 years running.

    Obama's administration has nothing to teach the Liberals.
  70. Gary Dare from Portland, Oregon, Canada, writes: Systemic Risk writes, 'where most states and many cities already levy a sales tax - I believe in Chicago, it is up to 12%' That's the worst case maximum for restaurant bills, with city downtown surtaxes. The base rate within Chicago city limits is 10.25%, within Cook County outside Chicago (e.g., Evanston, Oak Park, Skokie) is 9.25%. Sales tax in the US is state, county and local (city, town, village, municipality) and the single number is actually an aggregate. Some targeted sales taxes (e.g., Chicago bottled water tax, 5 cents per 500 ml) are included in the price (base sales tax calculated on price minus surtax).

    'If higher taxes were the road to prosperity, ...' No, they're the road to solvency when you spend too much ... France, Germany and the US spend more than they take in. Last Friday, a couple of Libertarian Party economists spoke at the Portland City Club and pointed out that Hong Kong has a 10% flat income tax. Later, someone asked what was Hong Kong's defence outlay, how many aircraft carriers they possessed, etc. (:

    [Yes, Hong Kong maintains a separate budget and economy from Mainland China.]
  71. The Bull from Canada writes: 'What a relief that would be after the lies and deceptions of the Bush years.'

    um, i kinda remember Bush screaming from the hilltop that Social Security needs a fixin'.

    was i dreaming that?
  72. william carpenter from JUNEAU, Uruguay writes: I stumbled on 'ol Jeff & see he is still bashing everything U.S.
    Know this, I have nothing but admiration for G.W.Bush & wish him well in his retirement.
    Pay Jeff no mind, he just aint been right since he took a miniball at First Manassis.
  73. Ed Long from Canada writes: Gary Dare .... Jeffrey Simpson is a dual????? Hush my mouth!!!

    Your observations about the Chicago condo. market also occurred in South Florida. It will, and is, hitting Vancouver.

    Borrowed money? Of course, how do normal working people become self-indulgent but by believing borrowed money, with no qualification, is logical and will last forever.

    No equity, no down payment, interest only mortgages were financial crack.
  74. Fake Name from Canada writes: 'Steve French from Windsor, Canada writes: I for one do not wish the U.S. well and hope they don't let Obumstead through the border.
    The sooner the Empire dies, the better for all the oppressed people of the world. Bye, bye, American pie.'

    Then get used to soup kitchens, because without American trade, we're up the proverbial creek of feces and lacking a paddle.

    Still, it's amusing to read the howls of indignation from the ideological right when someone tells them that spending vastly more money than you have coming in isn't something that can continue forever. To think, this is what 'conservatism' has become ... it certainly bears no relation to fiscal conservatism.
  75. Zarny YYC from Canada writes: Americans don't want to know the truth about how boned they really are.
  76. Fake Name from Canada writes: ' Mervin Hollingsworth from Saskatoon, Sk, Canada writes: Mr. Simpson wants the public to have the truth. The fact is the public can't take the truth. That is because of our adversial political system where opposition parties will pounce all over whatever the statement is and offering simplistic solutions which they know are not true but will scream bloody murder in order to convince the public that the government is panicing, lying or misleading them. So any politician, particularly the government, who decides to be completely frank would be in a mess of trouble.'

    This is the truest comment on the page. Unfortunately, the current system is basically set up to punish leaders who say what we need to hear, rather than what we want to hear.

    You get ahead by blowing sunshine and lollipops out your @$$ (and Obama has certainly engaged in an awful lot of this so far), not by presenting hard financial truths.
  77. Smoking Man from Canada writes: Mabey they can start with truth about 911
  78. NikolaTesla -the genius who lit the world from Calgary, Canada writes: Oh, the irony!
  79. The Work Farce from Canada writes: Speaking of truth, where are the media hiding Ralph Nader and Denis Kucinich? True, they would have pooped the party a bit. But surely in a democracy truth should have a place.
  80. B H from Toronto, Canada writes: "No other people from any other countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan, India.... would bNo other people from any other countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan, India.... would be so presumptious as to give advice to others". Um, yeah.... I take it you don't know a whole lot of Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese, or Indians. If any.
  81. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: Americans can't handle the truth!
    Neither can we, of course.
    Truth? What's that? Our "leaders" only know about lies. They tell us what they think we want to hear.
  82. Fake Name from Canada writes: re: "No other people from any other countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan, India.... would bNo other people from any other countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan, India.... would be so presumptious as to give advice to others".

    No other people have as much to lose, economically, if the USA's current slide into debt-induced bankruptcy continues unchecked. If America goes under, we go under ... that's the rationale for a bit of self-interested advice.
  83. Jim Q from Halifax, Canada writes: I believe in Harvey Dent.
  84. Phineas freekinstone from who knows ,who cares, Canada writes: I watched a program on American debt vs gdp. they were in a serious situation at the start up of the country,during the civil war,ww1,ww2,and vietnam,what do we have now? war on 2 fronts with the possibilty of 2 more fronts opening up,combined with a world economic meltdown! This might just be the straw that will break its back.
  85. Alastair james Berry from NANAIMO BC, Canada writes:

    The TRUTH? Bin Laden took on the mightiest country the world has ever seen, and, with 20 dedicated followers, a plan, a dozen 'box cutters' and $20,000 knocked it off it's pedestal.

    The RESULT? China is taking over as the mightiest nation the world has ever seen.

    The depression we are in is just now is part of the re-alignment process............. I hope our P.M. Stephen Harper comes to this realization soon. Trade and non agression treaties should be lined up and signed as soon as reasonably possible. China is as much a next door neighbour as the USA is............. but many in Eastern Canada have not wakened up to this fact yet.
  86. Gary Dare from Portland, Oregon, Canada, writes: Phineas freekinstone writes, "I watched a program on American debt vs gdp." Sounds like IOUSA, a documentary that CNN presented a couple of weeks ago on the weekend, with guest panelists that were all Republican save for Senator Bill Bradley.

    http://www.IOUSAthemovie.com/
  87. Gary Dare from Portland, Oregon, Canada, writes: B H from Toronto, Canada writes: "'No other people from any other countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan, India.... would bNo other people from any other countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan, India.... would be so presumptious as to give advice to others.' Um, yeah.... I take it you don't know a whole lot of Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese, or Indians. If any." Yep! A quick survey of streaming TV from Ireland, the UK, Australia, TV5 (francophone countries) and France came up with plenty of panels discussing what Obama's government should do. I don't know German so I can vouch for what I saw on Tageshau, the nightly news from a private network, but it looked like the usual punditry.
  88. bruce greenwood from Canada writes: Simpson made the point that republican's have held the presidency for 20 of the past 28 years. The other
    8 years were Clinton's administration; the only time any genuine dicsipline to deficits produced results. The surpluses at the end of the Clinton years (as happened in Canada) could have continued.
    Republican rule returned and incredibly ignored an opportunity keep prudent fiscal policy, opting for more debt.

    The surest way to repair the massive damage left by the right wing ideologues is to put a democratic president in charge for the next 20 years. 2028 will be the year the idiocy resumes.

  89. Tom Friell from Calgary, Canada writes: @bruce greenwood: The other 8 years were Clinton's administration; the only time any genuine dicsipline to deficits produced results. The surpluses at the end of the Clinton years (as happened in Canada) could have continued.

    Hardly... the Congressional Budget Office changed the criteria for assessing deficits/surpluses right at the start of Bush's presidency.

    The reality is that Clinton had just as many budget issues as previous/following Presidents they we're just masked by financial reporting smoke and mirrors. In particular with regards to the funding of Medicare and Social Security liabilities.

    He also benefited from what's likely to be an unrepeatable period of growth that he had nothing to do with.
  90. Ian McLean from Anaheim, United States writes: Mike Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

    'If all Obama has is that he is not Bush then the US will be worse off under Obama than Bush.'

    Don't worry Mike. Maybe Obama can falsify some intelligence and invade another country based on lies. LOOK OUT ARMENIA!!!!!!
  91. little Bear from Canada writes: The American voters like the Canadian voters don't want the truth but rather hope that the reality they face each day is a short term passing problem.

    We have seen over the past many years that the truth is not universally seen, and my truth is your fiction or worse still my attempt to coerse or manipulate you.

    In our two countries the truth is whatever the press and media determine it to be at the moment. An example is the media in the States telling us for several years that the Yank economy and banking system is the strongest in the world and the backbone of the worlds economy.

    We now know that that supposed truth 3 years ago is and was totally untrue.

    Nobody knows what the truth really is.
  92. little Bear from Canada writes:
    Tom Friel I can change 180 degrees any surplus or deficit simply by changing the accounting rules like the Congressional Budget office did just after Clinton left office.

    I worked for years on budgets and stats worth billions and our actuaries would often semi kid, " here are some of the numbers, what would you like them to say or mean?"

    Creative accounting is a fact of life either way and all you have to do is change a couple of factors or the actuarial projection dates by a few years or even months and the picture is completely altered. Been there done that.
  93. Tom Friell from Calgary, Canada writes: @ :Tom Friel I can change 180 degrees any surplus or deficit simply by changing the accounting rules like the Congressional Budget office did just after Clinton left office.

    Exactly... figures can lie and liars can figure as my father used to say.

    Saying with a straight face that Clinton ran a "budget surplus" though when the unfunded social program liabilities in the US run to almost a hundred trillion is ultimately just plain daft or utterly clueless.

    And that is not something anyone can blame on Bush and Bush alone.

    It's a systemic structural issue with the US budget that transcends partisan lines.
  94. Anti Fascist from Canada writes: That they have been living a lie all their lives? That the reason government exists is to preserve the wealth of the rich? That the biggest military on the planet is used to enforce corporate looting of other countries resources? That the "American Way" is "Pay to Play"?
  95. little Bear from Canada writes: Tom If you look at the unfunded liabilities that Mr. Clinton ran up while in office they are staggering.

    My concern now is that many of the same bright sparks that developed this huge liability are now back in play in the White House.

    I see no signs that their thinking has changed much.

    The only bright spot in the whole equation is that the Americans are now starting to save and eventually these monies will help. I now hear that their savings are now in the 2% range which is very significant.

  96. A J from Canada writes: Let me tell You How It Is from United States writes: It never ceases to amaze me the condescending attitude of so many Canadians ...ey presume that they know everything about Americans and the United States. Only a Canadian would assume they know everything about the US. No other people from any other countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan, India.... would be so presumptious and pompous to give unwanted advice to others.
    ________________

    Dear Let Me Tell You,
    I'm an American who lives in Canada. I've lived in other parts of the world, as well.

    I can assure you that almost everybody, everywhere, is happy to offer unsolicited--and, usually, unwanted--advice to political leaders of many countries other than their own. Just as you have offered your unsolicited advice to Canadians today. Just as fellow Americans had much to say about the French government, for example.

    As long as the United States is a superpower, its political leaders will attract the attention of the people throughout the rest of the world. It goes with the territory.
  97. Do The Math from Canada writes: Good column. A basic rule in businesss and in life is: 'you can't change a lie'.

    There is both a great need and a unique opportunity for Mr Simpson's advice to be taken by both US and Canadian leaders. Frankly, I have more hope for Mr Obama on this one than for Mr Harper.

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