Granted, the Post article was originally penned before the presser and then modified afterward, and it blames Congress for doing its share of can-kicking too. “For the third time in just more than one month, Washington is looking to put a Band-Aid over its gaping fiscal wounds,” writes Aaron Blake, who goes on to recall such energetically kicked cans as the Four Years Without A Budget soup can, the Bush Tax Cut soda can, and the Payroll Tax Cut sardine tin, which finally got kicked once too often and vanished into the stratosphere, without a whimper of protest from the President who once described it as the very linchpin of middle-class survival. By the way, have you all come up with your lists of what the missing “#40Dollars” per paycheck means to you, as Obama suggested, back when he gave a damn?
Blake observes that the American people seem pretty cool with all this can-kicking, which is the kind of observation only mean and hateful Republicans make during the pre-election can-kicking Super Bowl. But who can possibly deny that Barack Obama is the grand champion of budgetary procrastination? For that matter, the other items in Blake’s bill of particulars are Democrat ideas, not the work of “Congress.” Senate Democrats are the ones who won’t pass a budget; responsible Republicans have been yelling about it for years. The Bush tax cuts were not made temporary at the insistence of Republicans, either when they were first implemented, or when they were extended in 2010. The 2010 extension was a Republican initiative; they had to give Obama increased estate taxes and extended unemployment benefits as his side of the “deal.” Obama’s big idea for tax relief was a raid on Social Security funding that everyone knew could not be sustained.
It’s Obama’s “leadership” that has given us a titanic government of trillion-dollar deficits (looks like next year will be down to a relatively svelte $845 billion) that doesn’t make a budget, sustained by temporary vote-buying gimmicks as it dishes out unsustainable stimulus goodies. Everything is “temporary” because Obama sees himself gaining strength from the endless political battles. Nothing is set in stone, because Obama thinks submitting a solid, thoughtful budget proposal would merely expose him to criticism. That’s something he thinks only political chumps like Paul Ryan would do.
Likewise, why on Earth would Obama want a robust, low-tax, high-opportunity economy when his New Normal of permanent recessionary crisis is so politically useful to him? Just as “deficit reduction” is a perfect synonym for “tax increases” in his mind, a shaky economy the media refuses to blame him for justifies limitless “stimulus” spending and regulatory control. That’s why he indulged himself in a press conference that simultaneously claimed an economy with double-digit real unemployment – a good 8 million jobs smaller than it was when Obama started – and one percent private-sector GDP growth is a robust recovery we must not jeopardize, and a jittery tightrope act that demands trillion-dollar stimulus safety nets. Heads he spends more, tails he taxes more.
It’s a sweet setup for Obama, sustained by the media’s remarkably consistent willingness to focus only on the details Obama wishes brought to public attention. Why, to listen to this press conference, you’d almost think “sequestration” wasn’t Obama’s idea! He’s actually trying to blame today’s lousy economy – no, wait, sorry, today’s act of Wolverine-style economic regeneration, “poised” forever on the edge of recovery’s adamantium claws – on fear of those savage sequestration spending cuts. The lesson he wants to drive home, with all of these conflicting boasts and dire warnings, is that we’ll all die if the government spends a nickel less. If those huge deficits really bother you, we can talk about some tax increases. But the government must grow inexorably larger, while the private sector relentlessly shrinks, and anyone who objects is an enemy of the people.
“There is no reason that the jobs of thousands of Americans, not to mention the growth of the entire economy, should be put in jeopardy just because folks in Washington couldn’t come together,” the President declared. Say, does anyone else think it’s a bad idea to have a system where thousands of jobs can be wiped out because a handful of politicians are squabbling in Washington? Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to give such an unstable nurse control over our economic life support machinery. Why don’t we try having an economy that can grow just fine on its own, no matter what nasty sound bites Democrat A exchanges with Republican B?
“The clock is ticking. It’s time to get serious,” growled Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Now why on Earth would Obama want to do that? Every crisis caused by the collapse of the last temporary deal is another chance for him to tell Americans how the government needs to tax more, spend more, and control more. Who’s going to blow the whistle when that clock runs down? The American people just passed on their last chance to do that. They’re still sitting quietly while the President natters on about the “smart spending cuts” that he still obstinately refuses to outline, in even the broadest strokes. Absolutely no sector of his government is behaving as though it’s about to weather any “smart spending cuts.” He’s not fortifying any sector of the massive dependency class he built up so carefully over the years to make do with less. The biggest number the White House is tossing around for fiscal restraint is $1 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. That’s 15 percent of our new marvelously reduced annual deficit… and even that depends on eight “out years” of future spending cuts that will never come.
The can will be kicked again, no matter how hollow it rings when it lands. This is not a game Obama thinks he’s losing, and the only people who really want to contest it are the Tea Party types that our GOP establishment can’t wait to destroy. They’re the original, deadly serious critics of Obama’s can kicking. They were not a bit shy about hammering Republicans who wanted to play the game, either. It got them labeled as extremists, presumed on the edge of violence.