No sooner had the Super Committee formally announced that it couldn’t reach a deal on deficit reduction than the howling leadership void in the Oval Office dispersed and President Obama appeared, dressed in his ridiculous “deficit hawk” costume and issuing dire warnings to those who would try to escape the doom of sequestration. As reported by Fox News:
President Obama said he would veto any effort by lawmakers to repeal a requirement for $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts to be triggered after the Super Committee failed to agree on terms to save the country $1.2 trillion over a 10-year span.
“There will be no easy off ramps on this one,” Obama said at an afternoon press conference where he laid blame squarely on Republicans who refused to bend in their defense of tax cuts for the wealthy during debt talks. “We need to keep the pressure up to compromise, not turn off the pressure.”
Seriously, where has this guy been during the final days of the Super Committee? Golfing? Fundraising? At least his imperial spouse swanked by a NASCAR race to get booed by the audience. Why wasn’t Obama “pressuring” tax-mad Democrats to accept the very ill-advised offer of $300 billion in tax hikes placed on the table by Super Committee Republicans? Aren’t the Democrats bleating for over a trillion dollars in economy-killing tax hikes, which they know they’ll never get, looking for “an easy off ramp?”
As it happens, Andrew Malcolm at Investors.com was keeping track of the AWOL President’s movements, and it turns out my first two guesses were pretty much on the mark:
He hasn’t been on the sidelines again. He’s been completely out of the country. He absolutely had to be in Cannes for the Group of 29.5 or whatever it’s called this month because, you know, the Euro crisis. And, then he was hosting another group of leaders in Hawaii with Michelle. And then, of course, there was the Australia trip, which he’d already postponed twice.
And, hey, as long as he’s down there, why not drop into Indonesia for old times sake and the Asian leaders meeting, score a new tropical shirt, talk some more? Not much going on back home anyway.
And today, having waved his veto wand at everybody on Monday, Obama’s gone again, flying his large plane up to New Hampshire for more useless campaign talk about construction workers fixing bridges and looking like he’s trying real hard.
Isn’t it strange that Obama keeps pretending it’s 1950, and he’s completely out of the loop when he’s not at the White House, even though he sticks taxpayers with the bill for flying the world’s most advanced mobile communications hub on even the shortest interstate trips? Being in France, Hawaii, or Australia is absolutely no obstacle to keeping on top of events in America, communicating with congressional leadership, or issuing public pronouncements. For some reason, the media lets Obama pretend that an hour on Air Force One puts him completely out of the picture, as if he had flown over the edge of the map into “here there be dragons” territory, instead of popping over to New Hampshire for another taxpayer-funded campaign junket.
Anyway, President Milk Carton shook the wings of his deficit hawk costume (made from Solyndra solar panels with a couple of tattered feathers and freshly printed inflationary currency glued on) and squawked about fiscal sanity, confident that reporters wouldn’t burst out laughing and remind him about the $4 trillion he’s already piled onto the national debt:
He went on to promise that the deficit will be reduced by at least $2.2 trillion in the next decade “one way or another.” He included the roughly $1 trillion in cuts approved in August.
“The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion,” he said. “They’ve still got a year to figure it out.”
This highlights one of the many flaws inherent in the whole Super Committee jape. The projected 10-year deficit is currently $13 trillion, and that’s working on the highly unlikely assumptions that we don’t have another recession, Washington doesn’t decide to spend more money, we don’t get sucked into a European bailout, and the cost of financing the national debt doesn’t go up after America’s bond ratings are downgraded again.
Obama’s mighty roar for deficit reduction means he wants the deficit to be $10 trillion over the next decade, instead of $13 trillion. That will leave us with a $25 trillion national debt. Using Census Bureau population projections, that will work out to $76,343 of debt for every man, woman, and child in the country. The current per capita debt of Greece, the insolvent basket case that might just bring the entire European Union tumbling down, is about $54,000.
The President and his party would recoil in horror at the notion of the $13 trillion in 10-year cuts required to actually balance the budget, never mind the even greater reduction needed to start bringing the debt mountain down. It would take $17 trillion just to get the national debt back to where it was when Obama came on the scene. Obama is reckless enough to demand $1 trillion in tax hikes on a private sector his policies have already crippled, but are even the most brain-dead Democrats willing to demand half of $13 trillion or $17 trillion in debt reduction come in the form of tax increases?
Of course not. That’s why all this blather about “compromise” is so ridiculous that Obama and the Democrats should be laughed off the stage when they try it. We have a spending problem, not a tax problem. It is impossible to look at those ten-year figures and conclude otherwise.
Unfortunately, the Super Committee debacle will allow Washington (including quite a few Republicans) to collapse in an exhausted heap and pretend they’ve made a superhuman effort at fiscal responsibility. “Good lord, after all that, you want us to talk about the deficit again? We’re still exhausted from coping with the horrors of sequestration!”
Obama gets to run against “intransigent Republicans” as he’s planned all along – he’ll even tell the GOP base how those dangerous automatic defense cuts are the result of Republicans’ canine devotion to protecting “tax cuts for the rich,” while his auxiliaries are working with the Occupy crowd to gin up some street theater over the automatic domestic spending cuts. The media, which would be running “President Lies About Opponents’ Refusal to Compromise” headlines if a Republican tried this stunt, will instead allow Obama to appear responsible while people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham scribble legislation to disable the automatic military cuts.
And somehow the Republican dupes who signed onto the Budget Control Act of 2011 didn’t see any of this coming… or they understood this eminently predictable outcome, but didn’t care. Maybe the Wall Street Journal can run another editorial insulting the Tea Party as “hobbits” for accurately predicting today’s news three months ago. That might cheer McCain up a little.