President Obama gave a speech in praise of the debt ceiling bill passed by the Senate this afternoon. It quickly became clear that this great “compromise” hasn’t put much of a dent in his vision of ever-expanding government. The Era of Big Government famously ended under Bill Clinton in the 90s, to be followed by the Era of Freaking Huge Government. Today, the Era of Black Hole Government began. Our betters in Washington don’t want to hear another peep about deficits until the process of collapse is complete.
In his speech today, Obama repeated his incessant demand for more money to spend on “infrastructure,” without explaining what happened to the last pile of money he grabbed for that purpose. He’s spent more on “infrastructure” than any of his predecessors already. Why do we still have an “America that needs rebuilding,” as he put it today, and why shouldn’t he be held accountable for it?
With his big new spending plans outlined, the President immediately lunged into his usual tired call for tax increases, which he describes with the focus-grouped euphemism “balanced approach.” He also blew the dust off the “wealthiest Americans paying their fair share” bromides he borrowed from Bill Clinton. This is a real jab in the eye to Republican compromise salesmen who assured us that tax increases were off the table. Obama didn’t even bother with that pretense for one single hour.
“Since you can’t cut the deficit with just spending cuts, we’ll need a balanced approach,” the President insisted. Like hell you can’t. Would Mr. Obama be willing to put some skin in the game, and immediately surrender his office to someone who can provide a detailed plan to eliminate the deficit without tax increases? We’d have him out of Washington before dinner tonight.
What he really means, of course, is that he and his constituents don’t want to reduce the deficit without tax increases, which is an entirely different proposition from saying it “can’t be done.” But taxes and spending are never presented to the public as a rational transaction. It’s all about force, command, compulsion, and obligation.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have borne the brunt of this recession,” Obama declared. “Everyone’s going to have to chip in. That’s only fair.”
I gather the President thinks we can balance the budget on the backs of the people who already pay the vast majority of taxes in this country. No chance of asking the 47% of Americans who don’t pay income tax to “chip in,” right? That would be as crazy as expecting public union employees to make sacrifices. The only thing completely off the table, besides Obama’s nightmarish health care plan, is putting an end to anyone’s free ride.
Obama went on to blame his stupendous economic failures on uncertainty over raising the debt ceiling, which apparently reaches all the way back to the beginning of his Presidency. You’ve been more nervous than you realized, but at last, you can relax. Everything will be okay, now that the government can spend another few trillion it doesn’t have.
The President wants to extend his payroll tax cut, which is nice, except I thought everybody was going to “chip in” to reduce the deficit. Obama thinks extending this tax cut means “folks will have more money in their pockets to spend,” which in turn means “small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and large businesses will all have more customers.” That should inspire them to expand and create jobs!
Except… we’ve already got the payroll tax cut Obama is talking about, and a new report released today shows consumer spending is down, while we suffer from 16% real unemployment. Maybe people were just waiting to find out if the government could go deeper in debt before they raced out to patronize those small, medium, and large businesses with the extra $20 per week tucked into their paychecks.
The most remarkable (or, depending on your perspective, disturbing) thing about Obama is how quickly he snaps back to his default tax-and-spend mode, no matter what happens. Nothing he called for today was significantly different than what he’s demanded in the past. He gave no sense of presiding over a newly restrained government that would have to make do with less. Instead, he continued telling us how we have to make do with less, to empower his continued stewardship of the American economy… which he was running so beautifully, before evil Republicans began making everyone nervous by taking the debt ceiling seriously.