Obama was over 45 minutes late for his statement about America’s credit rating downgrade, after hiding from the media for an entire weekend. Considering that the speech contained, very literally, nothing he hasn’t said before, the delay is both puzzling and insulting. It’s odd he was willing to suffer the hit for making everyone wait to hear what amounted to a “greatest hits” tape from his debt ceiling performance.
You don’t really need to hear much more than the President’s opening line: “On Friday, we learned that the United States received a downgrade by one of the credit rating agencies, not so much because they doubt our ability to pay our debt if we make good decisions, but because after witnessing a month of wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, they doubted our political system’s ability to act.”
On the contrary, you won’t see any complaints about “a month of wrangling” in statements from S&P. Their downgrade action is entirely based on their doubt that the American government can achieve fiscal solvency. It’s certainly true that they don’t “doubt our ability to pay our debt if we make good decisions,” because if they doubted that, we’d be a lot lower than AA+, wouldn’t we?
“The markets, on the other hand, continue to believe our credit status is AAA,” said Obama… even as the markets dropped an incredible thirty points over the course of his ten-minute statement. To support Obama in the past, you had to abandon memory and common sense. To support him now, you have to ignore what’s happening right before your eyes.
From there, the President lurched into all the tired demands and assertions – you can’t really call them “arguments” – he’s been making for the past month. His focus-group-tested code phrase for tax increases, “balanced approach,” made an appearance. There were various references to problems that existed “when I took office” and the hard time America has been having for “the last two and a half years,” part of the continuing attempt to paint Obama as a helpless bystander who just arrived in the Oval Office yesterday, and can’t believe what George Bush left in the fridge.
He complained about “a debate where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip.” The one and only politician who did that, repeatedly, was Barack Hussein Obama. He threatened default, and the collapse of supposedly rock-solid entitlements like Social Security, on a regular basis. He didn’t admit he’d been lying about the threat of default until his last press conference before Congress made a debt-ceiling deal without him.
Let’s revisit those remarks, shall we? President Barack Obama, speaking on July 29, 2011: “If we don’t come to an agreement, we could lose our country’s AAA credit rating… not because we didn’t have the capacity to pay our bills – we do – but because we didn’t have a AAA political system to match.” But now he’s back to whining about “default” being used as a bargaining chip by people other than himself.
The President tried to breathe more life into the moribund talking point that his economic failures are the result of global events beyond his control, such as turmoil in the Middle East and the tsunami in Japan.
“Our challenge is the need to tackle our deficits in the long term,” said the man who began the debt-ceiling debate by demanding trillions in new debt immediately, with absolutely no conditions. You’d almost think his Party wasn’t the gang that tabled the only realistic deficit-destroying proposal, the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, without a proper vote.
“Last week, we reached an agreement that will make historic cuts to defense and domestic spending, but there’s not much further we can cut in either of those categories,” claimed Barack the Mad. You read that right. The man who blew government spending into the stratosphere thinks “there’s not much further we can cut” after a deal that merely slows the rate of spending increase by $2.4 trillion over a decade. We haven’t actually “cut” anything yet.
Besides this puny reduction in the rate of debt increase, Obama thinks the only two things we need to do are raise taxes on the rich, to “ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share,” and complete some “modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare.” This is nothing he hasn’t been saying for weeks, just as the “hard pivot to job creation” he went on to extol involves things he’s been doing all along, like paying huge amounts of unemployment insurance and snipping a little off the Social Security taxes paid by workers.
Amusingly, Obama paused to compliment “Republicans and Democrats on the bipartisan fiscal commission that I set up” for their “good proposals,” all of which he completely ignored. He also expressed his hopes for the great deficit-fighting work of the “bipartisan Super Committee,” which he just sabotaged by making it politically impossible for committee Democrats to avoid demanding the kind of tax hikes they’ll never get. There was also a funny promise to “stay on it and get the job done” from a man whose days are entirely consumed with recreation and re-election fundraisers, to the point where he vanishes from public for days at a stretch.
From there on in, the statement was a lot of the usual boilerplate about how everyone else has to give up their politics, self-interest, sacred cows, and so forth. There was not a word of contrition, not a hint of responsibility personally accepted by the President, whose attitude can best be summarized as the frustration of a benevolent dictator forced to work in the messy kitchens of democracy.
After a while, Obama couldn’t help himself any more, and blasted out a geyser of new spending proposals, including his beloved “infrastructure” slush funds. It is truly a mystery why credit analysts think America will have trouble controlling those deficits!
The President also threw in some bromides about how he “still has faith in the American people.” That’s why he doesn’t think you can be trusted to manage your own health care! It’s also logically inconsistent with the rest of his argument. If our problem is not government spending – which he just said cannot be “cut” any further – but rather the greedy unwillingness of rich people to pay more in taxes, the only possible conclusion is that middle-class Americans are helpless babes who can’t survive without the titanic government programs Obama, and his predecessors, have put in place. The only reason we can’t cut spending is that America will starve without all that lovely government cheese. Our credit is in the tank because heartless millionaires won’t pay for it.
How can anyone possibly square that dismal, dead-end socialist mindset with “faith in the American people?”
Obama literally fled from the podium without taking any questions, or even looking back over his shoulder. Clearly he senses that what remains of the American people’s faith in him has eroded beyond recovery.