Joe Biden fell asleep during the President’s “big” address on deficit reduction and entitlement reform at The George Washington University.
Who can blame him?
Everything about Obama’s speech was wrong-headed: It was full of demagoguery, lots of class warfare rhetoric, no specifics on cutting any domestic programs (discretionary or mandatory), and a renewed promise of tax cuts on the “rich,” which means, of course, we may be forced to rehearse the argument we beat Obama on in the special session last December.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan was obviously madder than hell. And for good reason. He believed the President’s tone was going to be one of conciliation and urgency. After all, it was Obama himself who preemptively blasted hysterical reactions directed at any serious proposals to undertake spending reform.
Said the President at the time:
“We’re not going to be able to do anything about any of these entitlements if what we do is characterize whatever proposals are put out there as ‘Well, you know, that’s the other party being irresponsible … the other party is trying to hurt our senior citizens.’ … At what point can we have a serious conversation about Medicare and its long-term liability, or a serious conversation about Social Security, or serious conversation about budget and debt where we aren’t simply trying to position ourselves politically? That’s what I’m committed to doing.”
Fast forward, er, one year later, and Obama suggests that Ryan’s budget proposal targets “middle-class families who have children with autism or Down syndrome,” which, if you can believe it, came after he claimed Republicans were geared to throw seniors out of their nursing homes.
“What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief,” Ryan responded. “What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner-in chief.”
He added: “This is very sad and very unfortunate. Rather than building bridges, [Obama’s] poisoning wells. By failing seriously to confront the most predictable economic crisis in our nation’s history, the President’s policies are committing us and our children to a diminished future.”
What little details Obama did provide at his campus visit were even worse than his overheated response to the GOP budget.
While acknowledging that entitlement spending is set to gobble up all of America’s tax revenue if no reforms are enacted, Obama’s “big” idea on Medicare is to empower Washington insiders to lower costs. At The George Washington University, Obama boasted that he’s assembled an “independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts, and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce” health care spending. This entity is called the Independent Payment Advisory Board and will make decisions unilaterally about what will and will not be reimbursed, and by how much.
In other words, more Washington control over our medical care, which is exactly why Medicare is broke in the first place: incompetent government officials who believe they can more wisely plan for our needs than we can.
It didn’t get much better when it came to Medicaid. Obama gave us bonbons of happy talk on how he is going to ensure the program’s accessibility while simultaneously cutting spending from it, although he was light on the details of how he’d accomplish all this. (Shocker.)
On taxes, Obama toted the Democrat line that “millionaires and billionaires” don’t need rate-reductions cuts. This is a damned lie and should be exposed as such. Obama intends to raise taxes on anyone making more than $200,000 yearly, including small businesspeople. This talking point from the Democrats is the purest form of demagoguery because Obama and his party know that they’re purposely distorting the impact of the tax policy they’re pushing. The Obama-Reid-Pelosi tax plan would hit more than two-thirds of all small-business profits, as Americans for Tax Reform has pointed out. These profits, the group notes, are the “seed capital for job creation,” and under Democratic proposals, they will be ransacked with confiscatory taxation.
Unfortunately, the President doesn’t give a lick about job growth. In fact, was there anything in his speech—anything at all—that encourages job growth?
That’s no trick question.
When you think about it, Obama seems to be calling for two hits on small business: eliminate the Bush tax cuts and hit the small-business owners again by limiting their itemized deductions, which he also outlined.
Bottom line: The President’s almost 6,000-word address could’ve been boiled down to one sentence: “I’m going to stick it to the rich, comrades!”
That’ll help Obama with his evaporating MoveOn.org base, but that is exactly the opposite tone this country needs right now, as Paul Ryan underscores.
“We’re looking for bipartisan solutions not partisan rhetoric,” he exclaimed. “When the President is ready to get serious about it, we’re going to be here working.”