How can anyone take President Obama seriously when he tells us our national debt is no big deal? Well, we have to take him seriously, because, unserious thinking or not, he has serious power, including the power to obstruct progress on reducing the debt.
I’m not making this up, of course, which is too bad because it illustrates why it is so hard for Republicans to work with this man. He neither views the fiscal world from the same lens nor shares the goal of significant debt reduction.
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Obama said, “We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s going to be in a sustainable place.”
Not only is that delusional on its face based on what we already know, but there is no telling what kinds of financial strains his favorite monster, Obamacare, is going to have on the debt or what kinds of extraordinary circumstances might necessitate spending surges over the next decade.
But we needn’t speculate about unknowns, because the knowns are horrifying enough. The enormity of our annual interest payments on the debt alone renders Obama’s dismissiveness about the debt surreal.
Obama carried his bizarre insouciance about the debt into his photo-op meetings with congressional Republicans as part of his cynically conceived “charm offensive.” According to Roll Call, Obama indicated to Republicans that “balancing the budget over the next 10 years is not on his priority list.”
Let’s stop right there. Please tell me, you romantic advocates for bipartisan harmony, how the GOP can work with a man to solve an undeniable debt crisis when his blind apathy makes Mad magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman look engaged?
House Speaker John Boehner framed the problem quite accurately when he summarized the parties’ respective positions. “Republicans want to balance the budget. The president doesn’t,” said Boehner. “Republicans want to solve our long-term debt problem. The president doesn’t. We want to unlock our energy resources to put more Americans back to work. The president doesn’t.”
So what does Obama propose to do about this non-problem Republicans are coercing him into dealing with? Simple: He’ll agree to $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in additional tax revenue.
Just swell. Tell me the last time Obama or any other Democrat at the federal level honored his commitment to reduce spending in exchange for tax increases? Republicans have repeatedly fallen for this ploy and given in to immediate tax hikes, only to see Democrats renege on their promises to cut spending.
But it’s actually worse than before because we have abundant evidence that Democrats don’t speak the same language as Webster’s-friendly humans do when it comes to spending cuts. To them, “cuts” doesn’t mean “cuts” any more than “is” meant “is” to Bill Clinton. Obama’s budget gurus are masters of budget gimmicks and double counting to achieve cuts on paper (call them “paper cuts”) that are no more real than my professional basketball career.
In other words, even if Obama honored an agreement to impose “cuts” in exchange for yet more tax increases, he wouldn’t be cutting anything, because his promised cuts are smoke and mirrors. To hear him tell the story, he’s already made trillions of dollars’ worth of cuts.
But you can bank on the fact that his coveted tax increases would be real and that they would further burden those still contributing to the economy, with no guarantee that they would increase revenues at all. They would, however, likely harm the economy and thus further expand the dependency state.
The recently released budget that Senate Democrats finally produced, four years late, underscores the Democrats’ unseriousness about the debt and spending cuts. The proposed budget would extract nearly $1 trillion more in new taxes and supposedly include an equal amount in cuts. But true to Democrats’ form, the proposed “cuts” include $240 billion in war spending that wasn’t projected and $242 billion in saved interest expenses on the debt based on fantasy debt savings from the tax increases.
Republicans need to launch a 24/7 public campaign blitz explaining Paul Ryan’s new budget, which is based on real and specific numbers and proposes to balance the budget in 10 years and make structural changes to our entitlement programs to put them on a sustainable path.
Democrats and liberal journalists are already out in force, savaging Ryan and the other Republicans – again – for their good-faith effort to save the nation from a Grecian-style bankruptcy.
I am convinced that if the Republicans will strike back with as much fervor as Obama constantly hits them and take their winning case to the people, the people will finally learn the truth: that Ryan’s plan would not throw seniors or the poor under the bus and is, in fact, their best chance for the future and certainly the best hope currently on the table to restore America’s solvency.