There has been a bunch of discussion on President Barack Obama’s speech on fiscal policy and his plan on tackling the national debt. Some called it toxic, a disgrace, and a waste of breath. Others thought it was next best thing to sliced bread and the religious left thought he provided moral vision, but that religious leaders need to press for more.
I didn’t watch the speech, but I have read his remarks. Some thoughts.
What makes this country great is not our welfare system, but our exceptionalism.
President Obama said yesterday, “And so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, those with disabilities. We’re a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further. We would not be a great country without those commitments.”
When I think about what makes America great, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and unemployment insurance isn’t what comes to mind. It is the stories of those who despite the odds rise above their circumstances in pursuit of the American dream. I think of those who came to this country and found the better life they were seeking through hard work and opportunity.
Higher taxes are not a form of charity and a progressive tax system isn’t what I would call fair.
President Obama remarked, “As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. Everybody pays, but the wealthier have borne a little more. This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well -– we rightly celebrate their success. Instead, it’s a basic reflection of our belief that those who’ve benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more.”
I’d prefer to see the wealthy give back a little more to charity if they so desire or by creating more jobs, but it isn’t fair to take more of their money to give to other people by compulsion. That isn’t charity, that is theft.
He blames everybody else for the mess we find ourselves in, but doesn’t take responsibility himself.
Which is typical Obama.
He first blames the tax cuts which you know only when to rich people. He then blamed the prescription drug plan (I’m with him on that one). He then paints himself as the knight in shining armor come to save the day. President Obama praising his administration said, “In this case, we took a series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs, kept credit flowing, and provided working families extra money in their pocket. It was absolutely the right thing to do, but these steps were expensive, and added to our deficits in the short term.”
Added to our deficits in the short term? Set aside the budget deficit, but looking at the overall debt picture – President Obama added more to our debt in his first 19 months than all Presidents – Washington through Reagan combined. He took what was a bad situation (I won’t be one to defend Bush spending) and grew the debt with supersonic speed. He brings up his stimulus package which at least I have to give him credit in that he is no longer saying it added jobs to the economy. No mention of Obamacare… hmmmm…. yes that won’t add to our debt in the slightest, *I’m sure.*
President Obama cites a need to make tough choices, but seems to be unwilling to make them himself.
Attacking Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget plan, President Obama said:
But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime. In fact, I think it would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history.
A 70 percent cut in clean energy. A 25 percent cut in education. A 30 percent cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That’s the proposal. These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kinds of cuts that the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in and I think you believe in.
I believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them.
President Obama goes on to attack Congressman Ryan’s plan for Medicare reform. He himself said that this entitlement program makes up a lion’s share of the budget and yet he shoots down a real solution.
He suggests keeping domestic spending low “by building on the savings that both parties agreed to last week.” What savings? He said we’ll make “deep cuts” in programs he cares about, but then he complains about the cuts Congressman Ryan suggests. We are supposed to believe this? He suggests finding waste in our defense spending – ok, fine. One suggestion to help keep defense spending low is not to send our military to places you don’t even consult Congress on… just saying.
He keeps talking as though Obamacare will help reduce the debt. It won’t, it’ll just increase it. He brings forth no serious plan to reform Medicare and Medicaid which are the biggest drains (not defense) on our budget. He wants to strengthen Social Security, and rejects Republican plans to reform it.
He has no desire to really reform any of the entitlement spending therefore he is not really serious about reducing our debt. Period.
You can’t have a serious discussion about debt reduction without making hard choices with these programs. They are going bankrupt.
And to top it off he’s going to raise taxes…
In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.
Beyond that, the tax code is also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. And while I agree with the goals of many of these deductions, from homeownership to charitable giving, we can’t ignore the fact that they provide millionaires an average tax break of $75,000 but do nothing for the typical middle-class family that doesn’t itemize. So my budget calls for limiting itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans — a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320 billion over 10 years.
Yes because hosing productivity in our nation will help get us out of debt. Ramping up productivity through tax cuts (not just for the rich, that is a misnomer) will help to generate more revenue.
I have a descriptor for his debt reduction plan – a joke because he can’t possibly be serious.