LOS ANGELES, November 29, 2012 ― Where are the cuts?
That question needs to be asked over and over until President Obama is forced to answer it. He has spent six years campaigning to get and keep his job without ever being forced to tell the American people what he would actually do to fix the nation’s fiscal problems.
America is headed over a fiscal cliff. The deficit and debt are spiraling out of control. America’s credit rating has been downgraded for the first time. Obama passionately discusses the problem, but has never once offered a detailed solution.
In 2008, he was asked which programs he would cut. He kept repeating that he would “go through the budget line by line.” What would he cut? “The programs that don’t work.” What specifically? “The programs that don’t make sense.” Which programs? “The dumb ones.” An exasperated Hillary Clinton said that getting a straight answer out of Obama was like “trying to nail jello to the wall.”
In 2012, Obama was asked again what he would cut. He kept saying he wanted “a balanced approach” and “fairness.” He wanted to move “forward.” Those platitudes are every bit as hollow as their predecessors - “hope,” “change,” and “Yes, we can.”
The “balanced approach” is a combination of “increased revenues” and spending cuts. Both of these terms are misnomers. In Obamaworld, “increased revenues” means higher taxes, not growth. Spending cuts means cuts in the baseline, which means only reductions in the rate of growth, not actual cuts.
To quote Spinal Tap, when dealing with Obama, “The more it stays the same, the less it changes.” Obama’s comments about the fiscal cliff and the nation’s debt crisis sound deep and meaningful, but he says and does absolutely nothing.
Republicans compromised (caved) by agreeing to increased revenues, but not increases in the marginal tax rates. That was insufficient for Democrats. Then some Republicans showed flexibility (caved again) by joining the left in bashing Grover Norquist and his revolutionary concept of forcing candidates to promise in writing to keep their word. Nobody forced Republicans to sign “the pledge” not to raise taxes. They could have been as honest as Walter Mondale, promised that they would raise taxes, and enjoyed Mondale’s electoral success. They forgot why they were hired to begin with.
Yet surely the Republicans folding means a balanced deal can get done.
Wrong again. Democrats never accept any domestic cuts. Their entire coalition is a collection of interest groups who will reject any cuts under any circumstances. Try fixing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and feel the wrath of the AARP. Don’t dare cut funding for social programs. Outside of the military, there is not one program that President Obama will ever willingly cut. “Streamlining,” “eliminating redundancies,” and “reducing waste, fraud and abuse” are great slogans that lead to zero action.
Ask President Obama what he would cut. He will not answer.
Raising taxes on producers won’t work. They’ll tighten their belts, fire workers, and raise prices. Obama has no answer for this. He says we need to “grow the economy,” but will not say how. He insists that businesses should “hire more workers,” yet refuses to create conditions that allow for growth, hiring and innovation.
America owes $16 trillion, which will climb to over $20 trillion in 2016. Raising taxes on the rich will raise what Dr. Charles Krauthammer accurately calls a “rounding error.”
Now Obama wants two separate deals. First, Republicans agree to tax hikes. Then after January 1 the two sides can sit down and talk about spending cuts. If he really thinks Republicans are that stupid, it is because they may be. As in 1990, tax hikes take effect immediately while spending cuts never materialize.
Obama won’t cut anything because spending cuts and economic growth are not his priorities. Spending on healthcare, education, and the environment are his three main issues, which he has stated repeatedly since first entering national politics. Nothing in his political history shows that he has the ideology or political fortitude to make hard choices that deviate from the leftist orthodoxy of his base. He is a doctrinaire ideologue with deeply held liberal political beliefs involving more social spending, not less.
The problem with his approach (in addition to being completely wrong) is that there is a leadership vacuum in the most important nation in the world at the most critical, inopportune time. Obama actually believes that getting Millennials to go on Twitter and pressure Republicans is the same as doing real work.
The nuts and bolts of governing is not as glamorous as partying with celebrities, but it matters. This means long nights on the telephone and in person with members of congress. It means meetings that are not photo ops, but serious exchanges of ideas leading to actual results. Instead, we get Obama henchman Harry Reid trying to abolish the filibuster, as if allowing Democrats to unilaterally ram more spending down our throats will reduce our debt burden.
America is drowning in red ink. Our government is paralyzed because the head of that government will not sit down, offer reasonable deals, treat his political opponents with dignity, and most importantly, keep his word.
For six years he has been allowed to criticize opposing ideas and plans as unworkable.
Enough already. Mr. President, you need to lead. What would you do? What is your plan? What are you willing to give? Why should Americans believe you are serious when you have never offered a serious proposal?
We know this man can campaign. Now he has to prove he can actually govern. He owns this budget. It is his. He added $7 trillion in new spending in only four years. The economy he now inherits is his own. There is nobody else to blame.
So once again, Mr. President, about your balanced approach: Stop dodging, show respect for the American people, and just answer the question.
What will you cut?
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS. Read more from Eric at TYGRRRR EXPRESS
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