President Obama used his weekly radio address to lecture Congress about the long-term debt.
This is eminently appropriate given the fact that the president is the foremost expert in the country on our long-term debt, having added $6 trillion — and counting — to the total since he took office.
Nevertheless, the president accuses Congress of engaging in “a cycle of manufactured crisis” that undermine our economy. He should know all about manufacturing crisis, given the fact that he’s the #1 manufacturer of such in government. It is his refusal to deal with the massive debt he has created that has forced the GOP to try and bring his spending spree to an end — with mixed results so far.
“It begins by ending what has done more than anything else to undermine our economy over the past few years – and that’s the constant cycle of manufactured crisis and self-inflicted wounds,” Obama said.
Obama expressed hope in addressing the country’s long-term debt problems, but warned that Congress does not have to do it by scaling back entitlement programs. He noted that the budget deficits have been falling at the fasted pace in the last 60 years.
“So that gives us room to fix our long-term debt problems without sticking it to young people, or undermining our bedrock retirement and health security programs, or ending basic research that helps the economy grow,” he said.
Obama commended Republican leaders in the Senate for vowing not to push another government shutdown as Congress attempts to avoid another budget standoff on the debt ceiling and government funding early next year.
“I know that what you often hear out of Washington can sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher – a jumble of unfocused noise that’s out of touch with the things you care about,” he said.
“So today, I want to cut through that noise and talk plainly about what we should do right now to keep growing this economy and creating new jobs,” he added.
Obama warned against cutting government spending for the sake of cutting. He said the country needs to protect against cuts to things like renewable energy programs and education.
He avoided talk about the rollout of the healthcare law, which has dominated headlines since the government reopened earlier this month.
Republicans made it the cornerstone of their weekly address, arguing the problems with the healthcare law run much deeper than the glitchy website.
Congress has set a Dec. 13 deadline for the budget conference to sort out spending levels for the end of the fiscal year. Government funding runs out on Jan.15, and the borrowing limit with expire in mid-February.
“Here’s the bottom line,” Obama said. “Congress should pass a budget that cuts things we don’t need, and closes wasteful tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, so that we can free up resources for the things that actually do create jobs and growth.”
So, to be clear: The president wants Congress to cut the budget — but not for the sake of cutting the budget, whatever that means. And he wants us to “cut things we don’t need” but not cut renewable energy boondoggles. And despite their unsustainable path, no cuts to Social Security or Medicare.
The president has staked out the Democrats’ position on budget issues and one wonders why Republicans should even show up. There is no negotiating room here. It’s a recipe for more gridlock and increases the probability that we’ll be treated once again to a shut-down circus.
If the president doesn’t want a “cycle of manufactured crisis,” he should stop creating the conditions for its existence.