There was so much hope in January 2009 when Barack Obama took office. Here was the first black president of the United States, promising to be a leader for all Americans, to halt the rise of the oceans and to be the most transparent administration ever. Even black Americans were saying the Civil War was finally over.
Unfortunately for America, it didn’t turn out that way. As more and more evidence is revealed daily on the evening news, it is now very clear the Obama administration was the most corrupt presidency in the history of the republic.
As Mr. Obama’s favorite, President Abraham Lincoln, warned us, the most dangerous threats can come from domestic enemies.
First of all, that bit about being a leader for all Americans, color-blind if you will, was a tall tale. Mr. Obama never missed an opportunity to sow racial divide. During his term in the Oval Office, racial relations literally went off the cliff. Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle promoted the false narrative that white America was literally guilty of hunting down blacks with glee. They whipped up resentment in minority communities against the police, even though a Harvard study found that blacks are no more likely to be killed by police than whites. But the racial divisions, as painful and heartbreaking as they are, were not the worst of it.
The abuse of power started to become clear when it was revealed the Internal Revenue Service was biased against conservatives. I still don’t understand why that woman is not in jail. She sat there and lied to the American people and to Congress with no accountability.
Mr. Obama used the agencies, and the awesome power of the federal government, against his political enemies. He used the power of the state against those he didn’t like. This was full-on banana republic dictator kind of stuff.
The negligence at Veterans’ Affairs, the “stimulus bill” that was simply a redistribution to unions (those “shovel ready projects” weren’t so shovel ready after all), the sale of uranium to the Russians, the lies about Benghazi, the Clinton email scandal that was not prosecuted, the appeasement of the Iranians — even sending billions in cash in the middle of the night and bragging about how they lied to the American press and public, the use of financial penalties to fund leftist causes, the use of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to take property from Americans, on, and on, and on. I literally could go on forever.
However, the coup-de-grace is what we are now learning about the 2016 election and the criminal spying on the Trump campaign.
The president of the United States was set up. Mr. Trump is exactly right. The weaponization of our intelligence and security services has damaged their reputation for generations, and the rule of law, to which this great nation is so committed, has been irreparably damaged as well.
I’ve said it before, the Obama administration was nothing more than highly organized crime.
Justice will be served. It may take a while, but the truth will continue to come out.
It’s a shame the administration of the first black president was also the most corrupt. Such a lost opportunity to better this great country.
It’s not that hard to understand. Still, it’s difficult to accept.
It shouldn’t happen here.
Obama was elected for two reasons. First was the color of his skin, the first black U.S. President, and history was made. The second was that the America haters inside and outside of this country recognized that the timing was right for them to destroy America and he was the perfect “tool” for them to use to do it.
Last week I wrote about Hillary’s life of corruption and that she had never been charged with a crime. Obama also has a history of corruption, has never been charged with a crime, will never be charged with a crime, and was elected to be President twice. Obama has one other thing that Hillary does not have. Hillary does not care about anything but money and power. Obama, in addition to an obsession with money and power, absolutely hates America and everything about it. This last thing is what makes him the perfect “tool” for the people who are intent on destroying America, and as noted above the timing was right.
Under Obama we have become so politically correct (PC) we cannot function, our economy is destroyed, our allies do not trust us, our enemies laugh at us and taunt us, our government functions at a minimal level at best, lawlessness is rampant, especially in many of our major cities and even in most federal government agencies, and our state of readiness militarily is at an all-time low.
The America haters have actually been steadily chipping away at the very fabric of American life for about 50 years. All their efforts have been carefully orchestrated with time on their side. They were perfectly willing to experience a minor setback from time to time as long as they got what they wanted in the end. And then along came Obama, an America hating man totally without a conscience. Everything he has done as an adult confirms that.
Let’s begin with Obama’s college years. Where are his college records? Why are they sealed? What are they hiding? Who spends a fortune (of other people’s money) having their college records sealed and keeping them sealed?
After college Obama claims that he was a Constitutional law professor. In fact, he was only a part-time lecturer who spent most of his time writing a book about himself.
Obama was a Saul Alinsky disciple and close friends with Bill Ayers. Some sources say that it was Bill Ayers who actually made Obama’s book readable and ready to be published while Obama became a community organizer. Saul Alinsky was the person responsible for creating the destructive community organizer movement in America. Bill Ayers was a member of the radical ”Weather Underground” group in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He went underground to escape prosecution for his part in several terrorist bombings the group did, re-emerged and became a tenured college professor!
During all his time in Chicago after college, Obama sat in Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s extremely radical, “God Damn America” church almost every Sunday.
Obama’s first step into politics was when he “finagled” an Illinois Senate seat where he did very little except plan his next move to the U.S. Senate.
After Obama made it to the U.S. Senate, he again did very little except plan his Presidential run. When he did make a speech or vote it was always an anti-Bush media show.
During Obama’s first Presidential run every America hater pilled on and threw truckloads of money at him. And the main stream media enthusiastically signed on. “Fundamentally Change America” became their Holy Grail. Ethics, rules, facts or laws were not to be an impediment in any way.
As soon as he was elected Obama openly displayed a level of arrogance that is not fitting to the office of the President of the United States of America. During his first term, in one of his extremely rare bi-partisan white house meetings Obama said to John McCain, “elections have consequences, I won”. Immediately after his second election he moved from “fundamentally changing America” to “we are going to punish our enemies and reward our friends”.
After Obama was sworn into his promised “most transparent administration in history”, the administration became the most secretive and blatantly corrupt administration in history.
Obama appointed total sycophants to every presidentially appointed position in the Federal Government, preferably as America hating and lacking in ethics as he was. He even created some new positions like a lot of new Whitehouse Czars. Some of the Obama administration’s appointments have actually been members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Many state and local governments and Democratic Party organizations immediately followed Obama’s lead (Baltimore).
Throughout his two terms Obama continued to appoint people who he could depend on to blindly carry out his agenda, including illegal recess appointments. Additionally there is no end to the budgets, maximum allowable salaries and even bonuses for everyone who successfully plays Obama’s game (VA and IRS are examples). If anyone fails to publicly and blindly do what Obama wants they are “out” instantly. If anyone displeases Obama he does not hesitate to throw them “under the buss”. And God help a “whistle blower” no matter what the situation, in spite of specific Federal laws protecting them.
As President nothing is beneath Obama or his supporters in their efforts to destroy America. The list of “scandals” during Obama’s two terms is actually many pages long. Below is a brief explanation of some of the most corrupt Obama Administration actions.
A totally agenda driven and corrupt DOJ was created shortly after Obama began his first term. This was critical for the Obama Administration to do as it pleased with no fear of being questioned, let along anyone being charged with wrong doing. This began with the blatant voter intimidation convictions against the Philadelphia Black Panthers being thrown out by Eric Holder.
Obamacare was illegally implemented and changed with multiple illegal executive orders.
”Fast and Furious” was an illegal, poorly conceived, poorly managed, extremely costly, secret operation run by the DOJ and BATF. It was designed to discredit Federally Licensed Firearms dealers in order to set up an opportunity to take the first steps to destroy the 2nd Amendment.
The IRS illegally targeting conservative groups was a deliberate attack on the 1st Amendment. This massive and lengthy operation was a calculated and successful attempt to dramatically influence Obama’s re-election.
“Fast and Furious” and the IRS targeting operation were both orchestrated and covered up at the highest levels of the Obama Administration, especially at the DOJ. Eric Holder repeatedly lied to Congress about both, changed his “story” on multiple occasions and refused to turn over relevant documents. In fact he was so arrogant and dishonest in his interactions with Congress that he was charged with contempt (which had no effect on him since he is the chief law enforcement officer in America). Obama attempted to protect Holder and various records about these illegal activities with “executive orders” (which have been ruled illegal).
Operation “Choke Point” was another DOJ operation that was launched secretly using bank regulators to try and force banks to refuse to do business with industries the Obama Administration did not like. Firearm, coal and precious metals businesses were their specific targets. The effort was intended to shut down these industries by denying them banking services. Another agenda driven attack on the 1st and 2nd Amendments!
During his 1st term Obama began to establish a Federal police force (armed police that report to the Federal Government). They are armed and their uniforms and vehicles have “Federal Police” identification. Government agencies like the IRS are spending millions of dollars on guns and ammunition and designating employees who can become part of a Federal police force. The Federal Reserve refers to its security staff as Federal Reserve Bank Police. Their uniform I.D. is “FRB Police”.
During Obama’s 1st term in office his administration spent untold millions of dollars buying up and stock piling ammunition. This was a twofold operation. One objective was to have an unlimited supply of ammunition for the “Federal Police”. The second was to prevent U.S. Citizens from stock piling ammunition. For many months ammunition dealers were limiting the amount of ammunition a customer could buy (if they had any stock at all of some calibers). The Obama Administration also stopped selling surplus military ammunition to dealers and even stopped selling used bullet brass to bullet manufacturers to prevent them from producing bullets.
The Obama Administration’s auto industry” take over” was another massive and illegal operation. It openly violated a number of long standing Federal and state trade and DMV laws. They even went so far as deciding which dealers were terminated, without proper notice, and who got to keep dealerships based on their political affiliations and especially who supported and donated to Obama’s campaign. They literally created illegal monopolies for certain brands in some large geographic areas. Terminated dealerships were left with new vehicles on their lots that they could not legally sell to the public. And of course the unions were protected from being negatively financially impacted at the expense of secured lenders.
When the Inspector General for the Department of Agriculture found that hundreds of “Food Stamp” vendors were committing massive fraud the investigation was shut down with no action taken.
After Obama’s re-election the “Free Cell Phone” program was expanded by over a $100,000,000 with distribution contracts going to big Obama donors.
Under the Obama Administration “Legal Immigration” has basically been turned into a massive graft and corruption program to expand the Democratic donor and voter base.
Under Obama Illegal Immigration has been mismanaged and corrupted so it can be used as a political wedge issue by the Democrats to expand their donor and voter base.
Based on immigration alone you need over 100,000 net new jobs each month for the unemployment rate to stay the same. In May we only had 38,000 net new jobs yet the Obama Administration proudly announced that the unemployment rate fell from 5 to 4.7 percent!
Under Obama our economy has been destroyed. The 1st quarter GDP growth rate was only .005 (one half of one percent). We need a minimum of 3 percent to meet America’s expanding needs.
Our national debt is about to reach an inconceivable level of 20 trillion dollars ($20,000,000,000,000)! At some point in time we will not be able to pay the interest on this debt, let alone pay it off!
The “climate change fantasy” is an integral part of Obama’s corrupt administration. Billions of dollars were illegally given to green energy projects that failed immediately but benefited big donors, insider trading on green energy projects was rampant, and the EPA and other Government agencies took illegal steps to hurt the coal, oil and gas industries. And now the DOJ is planning to bring federal charges against “climate change deniers” using the Rico organized crime statues!
Under Obama we now have the worst level of national defense we have had in decades (even worse than it was under Bill Clinton). Every branch of our military is understaffed, underequipped, and run by political ideologies at every level. All the career patriotic warriors have been forced out from the top Generals to the line officers and senior NCOs.
Benghazi. While men were dying there was a meeting/conference call, which Obama did not participate in, with half the meeting time dedicated to developing the video story. NOT a single piece of military equipment moved while the brave men were fighting and dying except for one, hours into the battle, and it went to Tripoli, not Benghazi. The only help they got was a group of CIA folks who took it upon their selves to basically commander a plane in Tripoli to get Benghazi during the fight at the Annex (one of them was killed). BUT IT WAS ONLY 51 DAYS TO Obama’s RE-ELECTION AND HE HAD SINGLEHANDEDLY DEFEATED TERRIOSM….
As noted above this is only a partial list. Do not forget the Iran deal, Gitmo, the Bergdahl trade, and other Obama Administration actions that have damaged America and put us at increased risk of attack here and abroad.
The real shame in all this is that it was all coldly calculated and deliberately executed with a compliant Congress, including rhino Republicans!
President Obama and his mouthpieces have embarked on a bizarre scheme to hypnotize America into forgetting the many scandals of his presidency. They seem to think that intoning “this administration hasn’t had a scandal” over and over again will make history disappear. It’s the lamest Jedi Mind Trick ever, and is being pushed on people who know Star Wars is just a movie.
Here’s a short list of the many scandals Team Obama thinks it can make America forget:
The great “stimulus” heist: Obama seems to think nobody will remember he grabbed almost a trillion dollars for “stimulus” spending, created virtually zero private-sector jobs with it, allowed a great deal of the money to vanish into thin air, and spent the rest of his presidency complaining that he needed hundreds of billions more to repair roads and bridges.
Vast sums of taxpayer money were wasted on foolish projects that came close to the Keynesian economic satire of hiring some people to dig holes, and others to fill them in. Obama added insult to injury by appointing Vice President Joe Biden as the “sheriff” who would supposedly find all that missing stimulus loot.
Americans mostly ended up footing the bill for was an army of government jobs, and a lavish network of slush funds for the Democratic Party and its union allies. We’re supposed to forget about all that because years later, Obama’s weak economy finally dragged itself to something like normal “official” employment levels… with the U.S. national debt doubled, and our workforce rate reduced to Carter-era lows. Sorry, Democrats, but that’s more than just failed policy. It’s one of the worst government-spending scandals in our history. Democrats will howl to the moon over far, far smaller abuses of taxpayer money during the Trump administration, should any occur.
Operation Fast and Furious: Obama partisans seem to think any given example of abuse or ineptitude by their man stopped being a “scandal” the moment it seemed clear he wouldn’t be impeached over it. Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama administration’s insane program to use American gun dealers and straw purchasers to arm Mexican drug lords, is a scandal with a huge body count, prominently including Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jamie Zapata, plus hundreds of Mexican citizens. Agent Terry’s family certainly thinks it qualifies as a scandal.
It is difficult to imagine any Republican administration surviving anything remotely close to Fast and Furious. The media would have dogged a Republican president without respite, especially when it became clear his Attorney General was putting political spin ahead of accountability and the safety of the American people. Remember, AG Eric Holder escaped perjury charges by claiming he didn’t know what his own subordinates were doing – a pioneering, but sadly not unique, example of an Obama official using his or her incompetence as a defense. For years afterward, we would hear some version of “I’m not a crook, I’m just completely inept” everywhere from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
But this was Barack Obama, so the media downplayed Fast and Furious news… to the point where viewers of NBC News learned about the scandal for the first time when Holder was on the verge of being held in contempt by Congress for it.
The relatively benign explanation for the astounding Fast and Furious scandal is that Obama’s Justice Department wanted to release guns into the Mexican wild, like so many radio-tagged antelope on a nature show, and follow them to arrest the big fish of organized crime. (In case you were wondering, no, the guns didn’t actually have radio tags in them – that was tried in the much smaller, and utterly disastrous, Bush-era program Obama’s team used as a model for their vastly larger and more careless program.) This explanation becomes more difficult to believe, the more you know about how careless the program was, and how abruptly it was shut down after Agent Terry’s death.
The more sinister take on Fast and Furious is that the Obama administration wanted to create gun crimes in Mexico so they could complain about lax regulations on American gun sales – “for the purposes of creating a narrative that they could use in America to try and thwart our Second Amendment constitutional rights,” as Andrew Breitbart put it during a 2012 interview.
No matter which interpretation you subscribe to, or how much you think Barack Obama knew about the program when he made scurrilous claims of executive privilege to shut down investigations, it’s an insult to a large number of murder victims to claim it wasn’t a scandal. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives hasn’t learned as much from the OFF debacle as we might have hoped.
Incidentally, the Border Patrol named a station in southern Arizona in Agent Brian Terry’s honor. On New Year’s Eve, persons unknown fired rifle shots at a Border Patrol vehicle near the station.
Eric Holder held in contempt of Congress: This was a result of Operation Fast and Furious, but it merits distinction as a separate scandal in its own right. Holder was the first sitting member of a president’s cabinet in the history of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress.
Of course, Democrats closed ranks behind Holder, the White House protected him, and the media allowed Holder to spin the contempt vote as mere “political theater.” In reality, it was a difficult step that responsible members of Congress didn’t want to take, and it was fully justified by Holder’s disgraceful conduct in the Fast and Furious investigation. No reasonable person could possibly review the way OFF was handled and conclude it was an example of transparency and accountability.
ObamaCare: Everything about ObamaCare is a scandal, from the President’s incessant lies about keeping your old plan if you liked it, to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s “we need to pass it to find out what’s in it” dereliction of Congressional duty.
ObamaCare is a scam, pure and simple – sold on false pretenses by people who knew it wasn’t going to work the way they promised. It doesn’t feel right to dismiss it as a “failed” scheme when so much of the failure was intentional. The bill was so sloppily crafted that Democrats were basically signing blank sheets of paper when they rushed it through Congress in a foul-smelling cloud of back-room deals. ObamaCare’s designers precipitated a constitutional crisis by forgetting they left in a provision to cut subsidies for states that didn’t set up health-care exchanges – a provision that would have killed the entire program stone-dead two years ago, if it had been enforced as written.
The Supreme Court rewrote ObamaCare on the fly twice to keep it alive, which is a scandal in and of itself. President Obama delayed and rewrote the law so often it was impossible to keep track of the changes, cutting Congress out of the loop completely. (Actually, someone did keep careful track of them, and the tally was up to 70 distinct changes by January 2016.)
That made some of Obama’s rewritten mandates and deadlines blatantly illegal – but then, the Affordable Care Act isn’t really a “law” in the sense American government understood the term. In practice it became something entirely new, an enabling act that gave the executive unlimited power to do whatever it thought necessary to keep the system running. If subverting the American system of government isn’t a scandal, what is?
And let’s not forget the scandal of ObamaCare’s disastrous launch, foisted on the American people even though its designers knew it had severe flaws – the billion-dollar website that cost another billion dollars to fix after it crashed, accompanied by a constellation of state exchanges that blew up like Roman candles of bureaucratic incompetence. Let us not forget the absolute zero accountability for this disaster, mismanaged by everyone from President Obama to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who treated the biggest new government program in several generations as though it were a minor side project that could be handled by subordinates with minimal supervision.
Spying on journalists: Establishment media came about as close to falling out of love with Barack Obama as ever when his administration was caught spying on journalists.
Why, if the reporter subjected to the most egregious surveillance, James Rosen, didn’t work for Fox News, the mainstream media might have started treating Obama like a (shudder) Republican. Rosen was treated so badly that even Attorney General Eric Holder eventually admitted feeling a bit of “remorse” about it. Apparently he felt so much anguish that he suffered temporary amnesia and forgot to tell Congress that he signed off on the request to wiretap Rosen while he was testifying under oath.
The IRS scandal: The selective targeting of conservative groups by a politicized Internal Revenue Service was a scandal grenade Democrats and their media pals somehow managed to smother, even though the story began with the IRS admitting wrongdoing.
Democrats suffocated the scandal by acting like circus clowns during congressional hearings, but at no point were the actual facts of the case truly obscured: yes, pro-life and Tea Party groups were deliberately targeted for extra scrutiny, their tax exemption applications outrageously delayed until after the 2012 election without actually being refused. If anything remotely comparable had been done to, say, environmentalist and minority activist groups by the IRS under a Republican administration, the results would have been apocalyptic.
There’s also no question about the facts of the follow-up scandal, in which IRS officials brazenly lied about having backups of relevant computer data. The American people were expected to believe that multiple state-of-the-art hard drives failed, and were instantly shredded instead of being subjected to data recovery procedures.
Luckily for the politicized IRS, the Justice Department was hyper-politicized under Obama too, so no charges were filed, and scandal kingpin Lois Lerner got to enjoy her taxpayer-funded retirement after taking the Fifth to thwart lawful congressional investigation.
Benghazi: This is the clearest example of Obama and his supporters thinking all of his pre-2012 scandals ceased to exist the moment he won re-election. Benghazi has been investigated extensively, and argued about passionately, since the night of September 11, 2012. Nothing can change the absolute fact that the Obama administration’s story for the first few weeks after the attack was false, and they knew it was false. They spun a phony story to buy themselves a little time during a presidential election campaign, and it worked.
Nothing can change the fact that Libya was a disaster after Obama’s unlawful military operation. Nothing can obscure the truth that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was sent into a known terrorist hot zone without a backup plan to ensure his safety. Everything else from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their defenders is pure political spin. They dragged the story out for years, until they thought it couldn’t hurt them any more. That doesn’t erase its status as a scandal. (And they were evidently incorrect in their belief that it couldn’t hurt them any more!)
Hillary Clinton’s secret server: While we’re on the subject of Hillary Clinton, her secret email server is an Obama scandal, too. She perpetrated her email offenses while working as his Secretary of State, and contrary to Obama’s false assertions, he knew about it.
Plenty of Obama officials other than Clinton played email games, most infamously EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who created a false identity for herself named “Richard Windsor” to get around government transparency rules.
The Pigford scandal: Named after a landmark lawsuit from the Bill Clinton era, the abuse of a program meant to compensate minority farmers for racial discrimination exploded under Obama. After years of left-wing attacks on Andrew Breitbart for daring to speak up about the scandal, the mainstream media – no less than the New York Times – finally admitted his critique of the program was accurate in 2013.
Once again: if careless mishandling (or deliberate politicized misuse) of huge sums of taxpayer money isn’t a scandal, what is?
NSA spying scandal: Opinions about the nature and intensity of this scandal vary wildly across the political spectrum, but there’s no doubt that Edward Snowden’s pilfering of sensitive National Security Agency data was a debacle that damaged national security. We had the ghastly spectacle of Attorney General Holder thanking Snowden for performing a public service by exposing surveillance programs Holder’s own administration didn’t want to talk about.
President Obama and his administration made many false statements as they tried to contain the political damage. The fallout included significant losses for U.S. companies, and diplomatic problems for the United States. Just about everything Obama did before, during, and after the Snowden saga damaged the relationship between American citizens and their government.
Bowe Bergdahl: Bergdahl’s ultimate fate rests in the hands of a military court (unless Obama pardons him) but no verdict can erase the scandalous way this administration conducted the prisoner swap that freed him from the Taliban and its allies. Many lies were told, the law was flouted, a deal of questionable wisdom was struck with his captors, and outraged Americans demanded recognition for the soldiers who died searching for Bergdahl after he abandoned his post.
Iran nuclear deal and ransom payment: Everything about Obama’s dealings with Iran has been scandalous, beginning with his silence while the Green Revolution was brutally put down by the mullahs in 2009. The Iran nuclear deal was pushed with lies and media manipulation. The infamous pallet of cash that wasn’t a ransom has become symbolic of Obama’s mendacity and penchant for breaking the rules, when he thinks following them is too much trouble.
Polluting the Colorado river: The Environmental Protection Agency managed to turn the Colorado River orange under this greenest of green Presidents. Of course there was a cover-up. Would you expect anything less from this “transparent” administration?
The GSA scandal: The General Services Administration was caught wasting ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money on lavish parties and silly projects. Heroic efforts to resist accountability were made, leaving puzzled observers to ask what it took to get fired from government employment under Barack Obama. (Alas, it was hardly the last time that question would be asked.) Oh, and of course there was a cover-up from the Most Scandal-Free Administration Ever.
The VA death-list scandal: The Department of Veterans Affairs has long been troubled, but the big scandals broke on Obama’s watch, most infamously the secret death lists veterans were put on while executives handed in phony status reports and signed themselves up for big bonuses. Obama was more interested in spinning the news and minimizing his political exposure than addressing problems; in few areas outside ObamaCare has his rhetoric been more hollow, his promises more meaningless.
Solyndra: The marquee green energy scandal wrote “crony capitalism” into the American political lexicon, as corners were cut and protocols ignored to shovel billions of taxpayer dollars at companies with absurdly unrealistic business models. President Obama’s ability to pick bad investments was remarkable. Luckily for him, American taxpayers covered his losses.
Secret Service gone wild: The Obama years saw one scandal after another hit the Secret Service, from agents going wild with hookers in Columbia, to a fence jumper penetrating the White House, and tipsy Secret Service officials driving their car into a security barrier.
Shutdown theater: Obama hit the American people hard during the great government shutdown crisis of 2013, doing everything he could to make American citizens feel maximum pain – from using “Barry-cades” to keep war veterans away from their memorials, to releasing illegal alien criminals from detention centers. It was an infuriating lesson for voters in how every dollar they get from government is a dollar that can be used against them, when they are impudent enough to demand spending restraint.