The PJ Tatler

On Obama's Debt Op-Ed

The president has had his staff pen an op-ed for USA Today, regarding the debt debate. In the op-ed he talks a good game, as usual, and just as usual, the talk doesn’t match his actions. Since the op-ed is about as close as we’re likely to get to leadership or a plan from an administration that thinks leadership is not offering a plan, it’s worth a look.

For years now, America has been spending more money than we take in.

True, and truer of the the years since January 2009, in which our spending has accelerated to the point of unsustainability. Any plans to take direct responsibility for that?

Neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this debt,

So…no, no plans to take direct responsibility. Good to know.

but both parties have a responsibility to come together and solve the problem. That’s what the American people expect of us. Every day, families are figuring out how to stretch their paychecks a little further, sacrifice what they can’t afford, and budget only for what’s truly important. It’s time for Washington to do the same.

Both parties do have a responsibility to come together. So why did the president refuse at first to meet with Republicans at all? And how seriously should Americans take the “stretching the paychecks” line when the Democrats have only proposed $2 billion in actual cuts and keep signalling to their base that any real spending cuts in the near term are off the table?

In the short term, my No. 1 focus is getting our economy back to a place where businesses can grow and hire.

If that’s true, his No. 1 focus should be repealing ObamaCare, since its passage appears to have killed the recovery. Just ask business leaders.

That’s why I want to take a number of steps right away, like extending tax relief for middle-class families and putting construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads and highways.

Please. Obama and the Democrats tried the “shovel ready” line when they pushed a trillion dollars in “stimulus” that turned out to be payoffs to Democrat constituencies, and “shovel ready turned out not to be so shovel ready.” That line is a tip that the president wants even more spending. Not cuts.

But over the last few months, I’ve also said that I’m willing to cut historic amounts of spending in order to reduce our long-term deficits. I’m willing to cut spending on domestic programs to the lowest level in half a century. I’m willing to cut defense spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. I’m willing to take on the rising costs of health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, so we can meet our obligations to an aging population.

True, he has said all that. But he hasn’t put any of it in writing that’s worth taking seriously. He has no actual plan. It’s just talk. And op-eds.

Skip a few lines, and we get to this, in which the president laments actual spending cuts if we don’t raise taxes:

At a time of high gas prices, we’ll have to stop much of the clean energy research that will help free us from our dependence on oil.

The “green energy” spending is a boondoggle. Gas prices are so high in part because of this administration’s permitorium, and because it is regulating the life out of the economy. Drill here, drill now, would help. But that’s off the table.

Skip a few more lines, and we come to this:

Before we stop funding clean energy research, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up the tax breaks that other companies don’t get.

Surely he knows that this is a lie. Oil companies aren’t getting special tax breaks. And what’s with continuing the talking point on corporate jet owners? Raise their taxes to 100%, it won’t do a thing about the runaway spending since this president took office.

Skip a few lines, and we come to this howler.

A balanced deficit deal that includes some new revenues isn’t just a Democratic position. It’s a position that has been taken by everyone from Warren Buffett to Bill O’Reilly.

O’Reilly was on Fox this morning, refuting this line.

The entire op-ed is like this, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing in the way of an actual plan from the president. Though it does reveal that he still wants more stimulus spending, and as we’ve already blogged today, is still pushing the same cut priorities that he came into office with.

That said, Republicans should take the opportunity of the op-ed to call his bluff and demand a concrete plan from the president that prioritizes the cuts he would agree to. Not another op-ed or interview, but an actual plan. Then, we might start getting somewhere.

Update: Obama’s Gulf oil slowdown costing 230,000 jobs.