A Time for Choosing
A Romney victory would be a step in the right direction.


Conrad Black

It is desperately difficult to think of anything new to write about the election, but equally difficult to write about anything else in this space this week. A recitation of what most readers will consider the obvious will be the mouse that emerges from this slightly mountainous writer, trying to shed the weight gained in ten liver-busting days in London, launching a book there and rekindling a few ventures, after an absence from that city of seven years. The British, like most foreigners, tend to like American presidents who don’t play too strong a hand in foreign affairs (other than when saving the same foreigners from aggressive neighbors), who practice collegiality (because it maximizes the generally unearned influence of America’s allies), who praise Eurosocialism, and who apologize for the failings of former presidents. So they rather like Obama, but there is some recognition that he has been no pillar of fiscal responsibility and has been somewhat erratic in foreign affairs. Mitt Romney made a poor impression in Britain, and foreigners generally have their doubts about Mormons and asset-strippers.

Of course, it doesn’t much matter what foreigners think about American elections, but the British are more discerning than most, and at some point, some president of the U.S., fairly soon, will want to try to breathe life back into the alliance system that twelve consecutive presidents starting with FDR — six of each party — led and utilized to the general good of the West, despite the tragedies of Vietnam and some of the more recent activities in the Middle East. Almost nothing coherent has been uttered by anyone of any political standing about serious foreign-policy issues in this campaign, and, as some have remarked, Governor Romney, in the foreign-policy debate, appeared to be auditioning for the post of Mr. Obama’s national-security adviser.

I submit that the principal fact for consideration in the election is that the current regime has taken a cumulative national debt of $10 trillion run up over 232 years of American history and increased it in less than four years to $16 trillion, adding $17,000 of new debt for every man, woman, and child — even newborns — in the country. A large part of the new debt is not covered by the ordinary sale of bonds at arm’s length to public and international buyers, but by the Treasury’s 100 percent subsidiary, the Federal Reserve, and paid for by the cyber-creation of e-mailed Federal Reserve notes. The interest, minimal as it is, paid on these notes, is paid by the Treasury, through the banking system or directly, to the Federal Reserve, which dividends it back to the Treasury. This is an inflationary shell game disguised by tanked-out industries in the inflation calculation — like housing — and if it goes on for four more years the consequences will be disastrous.

George Washington charged the Continental Congress, when he retired as commander of the Continental Army in 1783, to create an indissoluble union, defend the new country militarily, and endow it with a sound currency and treasury. It failed to do any of those. As president of the Constitutional Convention, he outlined the same goals, and carried them out as the nation’s first president, and urged retention of those national attributes on his retirement as president in 1797. The country has been successfully defended, and President Lincoln and his generals established the indissolubility of the Union, but the integrity of the currency and the Treasury are now in peril. President Obama has not given a hint of how he would address the deficit, or even that he recognizes it to be a very serious problem. In his convention acceptance speech, the president said: “Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion.” But what his program promises is an annual reduction of $400 million in a $1.5 trillion annual deficit. Even four years of such a program will cause grievous damage.