President Barack Obama spoke directly to the American people on Monday night about the debt ceiling battle. He painted fiscal conservative Republicans as “rigid,” echoing terms used by fellow Democrats. Nevada senator Harry Reid prefers the term “extremists.”
Obama often invokes President Ronald Reagan, and our president reminded Americans that Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton all agreed to tax hikes.
What Obama left out: what exactly did we accomplish with those hikes but more government spending? If tax hikes are the answer, why has the debt steadily risen?
The answer lies in the habits of Congress. During the Clinton administration, The Heritage Foundation pointed out that when Congress taxes more, Congress spends more.
Heritage Backgrounder No. 928 said, “A Joint Economic Committee report found that every dollar of higher taxes since 1947 has resulted in $1.59 of higher spending. This statistical survey is supported by recent history. Tax increases in 1982, 1984, 1987, and 1990 all were enacted for the alleged purpose of deficit reduction. In every case, however, the deficit rose the following year because lawmakers could not resist the temptation to spend the expected new revenues.”
Our president puts the debt fight forth as a clash between enlightened Democrats and the meme legacy media has adopted—those “intransigent” Republicans led by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Once again Obama mentioned those vulnerable social security checks in a measured tone that was at once both calm and calculating. The networks should’ve played the old Twilight Zone theme in the background as many seniors across the nation were more than likely getting even more anxious than they already were.
Ironically the only two programs the president mentioned as sacred cows had nothing to do with the elderly. Obama cited education and clean energy as untouchables where cuts are concerned. Most conservatives believe neither the Dept. of Education nor the US Dept. of Energy can warrant the hundreds of billions of dollars transferred from taxpayers to the federal bureaucracy.
A critical subtheme in the address rested on class warfare. Those dastardly rich need to pay their fair share—millionaires and billionaires and those corporate jet owner types. Almost as an afterthought, Obama guaranteed no tax hikes for those who make less than $200,000 a year and he also said working families would get to keep their payroll tax breaks.
Most of the speech was a variation on the class warfare theme coupled with the “rigid” conservatives theme. The president also noted the obvious, “New members of Congress and I don’t see eye to eye.”
A moment of truth emerged towards the end of Obama’s address. He talked about different plans for an agreement, and he said he didn’t want a temporary extension because then they’d face this all over again six months from now. Who knows what those fis-cons would do? “The country would be held captive.”
Once again he mentioned “kicking the can down the road.” What is it with progressives and kicking cans?
Isn’t that what Democrats did when they had absolute control of the White House and the Congress—kicked the can? Why didn’t they pass a budget? Why didn’t they establish the long term debt ceiling Obama is seeking from Republicans in the House?
Obama’s speech and the crisis are purely political. The US House of Representatives passed a viable bill. Rather than talk about it or permit proposed amendments, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to even permit discussion and took a vote whereby the bill was tabled.
The debt fight boils down to Campaign, 2012 and select sacred cows. The president’s address was aimed at the same.