President Obama could learn a lesson from this fable about a great ship.
Having received ample warning of icebergs ahead, some of the crew of the HMS Titanic proposed changing course to avoid them.
But the captain objected.
“Making that maneuver would end this cruise as we know it. It would disrupt the passengers’ peace of mind, discomfiting them as we turn and swerve, especially those below decks in steerage,” the captain told them. “There is no immediate jeopardy and I am appointing a commission to consider other options.”
The captain then activated the ship-wide public address system and announced, “This is the captain speaking. We are happy to have you aboard the greatest and most unsinkable ship ever built.
“I am told there are icebergs ahead, but as you can tell we have not hit any and we are still afloat. To avoid them will require sacrifice, but not at the expense of our passengers in steerage, who include seniors, poor children, and the disabled.
“This really has to do with two different visions of our ship’s future. Are we going to continue to invest in going full steam ahead to win that future — with an on-time arrival in a land where children are well-educated, the streets are clean, and everyone loves their neighbor?
“Are we going to live within our means as a ship, but in a way that ensures that no one is jostled about by sudden ship movements?
“However, should anything go wrong, we will jettison all passengers in first-class, who don’t need our limited supply of lifeboats or life preservers and who already have enjoyed the trip enough. And to make our next trip better, I have asked for funds to bridge the Atlantic with high-speed rail.”
In similar fashion, President Obama is sailing full steam ahead with his plans, publicly ridiculing those who say we cannot afford them. In the meantime, the actuaries for Medicare report that its condition continues to worsen and its bankruptcy is getting closer. The federal government has topped out its $14.3 trillion credit line and President Obama wants to borrow more without linking it to spending cuts or reforms. While he travels in Air Force One and motorcades, his energy policies drive gasoline prices up and up. Our dependence on foreign oil increases while drilling and hiring in America suffers.
He accuses his critics of lacking vision. Obama says he prefers to be “big and bold and passionate . . . about what America can be.”
Big and bold and passionate. That description also matched the HMS Titanic.
Former Congressman Ernest Istook is a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation.