When listening to the debt ceiling debate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep bipolar disorder from setting in. Case in point: President Obama and Speaker Boehner gave head-to-head speeches about the debt ceiling talks, and it seems that the only thing the two are in agreement on is that the situation is dire – they don’t seem any closer to reaching a solution than they were a week ago.
But as time goes on, it is becoming increasingly clear that President Obama is losing the battle. The talks used to be between Obama, Boehner, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but now Congressional leaders from both parties are meeting without the President, and it seems that progress is finally being made.
Despite the president’s protestations to the contrary, at this point it is abundantly clear that President Obama is the one holding up the process.
After all, one only has to look at the president’s record thus far on the issue of government spending, deficits, and debt to see that he is not the adult in the room, and is instead playing the part of the stubborn idealogue – even the left-wing media is beginning to notice that the president’s own party isn’t even following his lead anymore.
What solutions has President Obama proposed? The last actual proposal made by the president was the budget he put forward back in February, which would have raised spending, raised deficits, and raised the debt – all of the things we are now trying to solve. The president’s budget was so bad, it went down in flames in the Senate, in a whopping 97-0 vote – not even a single member of his own party voted for his budget proposal.
So by the time we even got into the current debt ceiling debate, President Obama’s ideas had already met unanimous bipartisan rejection. The humiliation that a 97-0 defeat represents for any president cannot be understated – to the point that it is quite ridiculous for President Obama to be sticking his nose into the current discussions at all.
The President has tried to craft an image of the fatherly adult – after all, “father knows best.” But when he doesn’t get his way, President Obama ends up projecting more of the image of a spoiled teenager. Note to Obama’s speechwriters: when one of the most common criticisms of the President is that he is acting like a child, including the line “That’s not right. It’s not fair” in a speech is not a good idea. The President of the United States should never come across sounding like a teenager who was just grounded, but that is the image President Obama was projecting during his speech.
The main problem I have with President Obama’s role in the debt ceiling talks is that he keeps on talking about “making the tough decisions,” and how both sides will have to sacrifice, when the only real sacrifices he talks about are political. For Republicans, the only “sacrifice” that comes with accepting higher taxes is the political consequence of alienating the conservative base. For Democrats, it’s the same with entitlement cuts. The people making the real sacrifices are the American people who have to deal with rising inflation – including higher prices for food, fuel and other consumer goods, and the continued economic uncertainty brought on by the prospect of higher taxes.
Even the press has gotten on board – just yesterday, The Huffington Post tweeted “Tea Party scores a win, gets pet issues worked into Boehner’s debt proposal.” Read the linked article, and it turns out that to HuffPo, spending caps and a balanced budget amendment aren’t measures to bring responsible government and reduce our debt, they’re just “Tea Party pet issues.” It is deplorable that the reason our government cannot solve our debt issues is because of an idiotic us vs. them mentality.
Thus far, the only good news coming out of this debt ceiling debate is that with each passing day, President Obama is killing his chances for re-election. He is proving himself to be an ineffective leader, more concerned with wealth redistribution than with the long-term health of the nation.
But that is the only good news.
As more news comes out about the direction the negotiations are headed, it is looking more and more as though any deal that makes it past both parties will be so watered down as to be ineffective at truly addressing the government’s spending problems. After all, it doesn’t matter whether we raise the debt ceiling or pass “revenue increases.” If Congress and the president fail to take measures such as spending caps or a balanced budget amendment to address the government’s out-of-control spending, then America’s financial demise is a given. As I have stated time after time after time, spending cuts spread out over the course of a decade are spending cuts in name only: today’s Congress cannot dictate the actions of future Congresses. All it would take to knock over that house of cards is another Act of Congress.
We don’t need empty spending cuts. We don’t need class-warfare driven redistributionist schemes to punish the rich. We need firm, difficult-to-change measures to keep Washington in check and reform the entitlement programs. We need to reform our tax system so that the politicians can’t keep jerking the tax code around to pander to this group or that group. We need a government that lives within its means, not just in words, but in actions and policies.
Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen while Barack H. Obama is president.
In the latest news, just one day after standing there on prime time television urging compromise, President Obama is now threatening to veto the latest proposal coming out of the House. The president bashes the Republicans for not being willing to raise taxes, but it is President Obama who is blocking compromise, not the GOP.