What if — instead of blaming Republicans, big oil, the “wealthy” and corporate jets — President Obama had used his recent news conference to say the following?
“Look, I’ve tried my solutions, and they’ve had ample time to work. If they were going to work, they would have done so by now. So I’m going to ask my party to join with Republicans in focusing on the national debt instead of ginning up envy, jealousy and animosity among people who earn different amounts of money. I’m going to prove that I share the American people’s fear about this debt crisis and that I recognize there will have to be structural reform to entitlements. It may involve some cuts in benefits, but if we don’t do this now, eventually everyone will lose his benefits, because Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are headed for insolvency — and much sooner than we thought.
“Endless government spending, I now see, will not stimulate economic growth. I should have accepted that before based on the historical evidence, but my professors kept insisting that Keynesian pump priming would work if we would just spend enough money. But $800 billion wasn’t enough? Come on, fellas, whom do we think we’re fooling here?
“Accordingly, I’m also going to get real about discretionary spending cuts because trillion-dollar deficits are hardly sustainable. Do the math; you people aren’t idiots. In order to close the gap between revenues and expenditures, I also promise to quit demagoguing the tax issue. Though I couldn’t see it before, we have a dynamic economy, and I won’t be able to raise appreciable revenues by raising tax rates, especially on the highest-income producers and small businesses, which, incidentally, provide so many jobs for Americans.
“Continuing to malign the wealthy and big oil — as much fun as it is — will simply not generate any revenue. And about these cuts in discretionary spending, I’m talking about non-defense spending. While my philosophy inclines me to drastically cut defense spending, I must admit that I’m enjoying the luxury of deploying our military assets in various places around the world, even where the United States has no discernible national interest. All this takes money, as did killing bin Laden, which, as you may recall, I did — virtually single-handedly.
“Moreover, though I promised that the Affordable Care Act would bend the health care cost curve down, I can now see, based on recent scorings by the Congressional Budget Office and other things that have occurred since we crammed the bill through Congress against the will of the American people (e.g.,1,400 waivers), that my bill will in fact increase costs. I don’t deny that I’d prefer to keep this flagrantly unconstitutional bill in place because my ideology teaches that government is better-equipped to micromanage health care decisions than are millions of American consumers in a free market who have no earthly idea how to come together on reducing health care costs, let alone choose their medical treatment. But for now, I’ll agree to shelve this boondoggle and forgo other recreational federal spending until we make some progress on reducing the debt.
“Speaking of recreational spending, I’ll also have to temporarily back off my demand for high-speed rail, even though I enjoy dictating to the states as much as I do to the American people.
“Alas, the most difficult lark to abandon will be my various quixotic renewable energy ruses. If I’m going to be serious about changing course, I’m going to have to get my boot off the neck of domestic oil producers. With the other boot on BP, it’s difficult to maintain my balance. This bold action is likely to depress the demand for mo-peds — and perhaps even spoil Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s scheme to get us out of our gas guzzlers and onto bike paths — but shared sacrifice means czars have to take it in the shorts, too.
“I’m sorry for blaming George W. Bush for everything. My goodness, I’ve been in charge of the executive branch for almost three years, so it’s probably high time I acknowledged ownership of this economy. Not only that, but despite what I’ve been saying since I took office, I did help create this mess. My party was instrumental in pushing affordable housing on everyone, which was the biggest culprit in our financial meltdown. I was in the Senate for much of this time, and I went along with Barney Frank and others in obstructing remedial action proposed by President Bush.
“But what’s done is done. There is a way out of this mess. It is to quit expanding the federal government and smothering the private sector and to implement comprehensive reforms substantially equivalent to Rep. Paul Ryan‘s road map to prosperity. I’m asking you to join with me in supporting Ryan’s plan and getting America back on the road to economic recovery and a sound fiscal condition. Thank you.”