Obama's Fiscal Bait and Switch

Obama could have moved the country past big government economics, but instead took potshots at Republicans.

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President Obama traveled to Racine, Wisconsin, yesterday to talk about the economy. And while he spoke again about fiscal responsibility, read closely how he couched his remarks:

... Whether you're a Democrat, an independent, or a Republican, all of us should be worried about the fact that we have been running the credit card on--in the name of future generations.  And somebody is going to have to pay that back. And by the way, when we borrow all that money, we have to pay interest on that--to other countries and other investors. So we've got to get our debt and our deficits under control.

... So we've got a tough job, but I think it’s a job that we can accomplish. And that is we stimulated the economy, we got it moving again, it’s growing again; we now have to, in a gradual way, reduce spending, particularly on those big-ticket items, but do so in a way that doesn’t hurt people. And that is a challenge.

... That's why I set up a fiscal commission to take a look and figure out how are we going to reorder our priorities so that we're spending the same--we're not spending any more than we're taking in, but we're doing it in a way that doesn’t hurt the economy and doesn’t hurt ordinary people. And that’s going to be our project for the next couple of years. All right?  But everybody is going to have to be patient because we're not going to be able to change that overnight.

What jumps out at me are the phrases: “somebody’s going to have to pay that back,” “in a gradual way reduce spending,” “our project for the next couple of years,” and “not ... overnight.”  

"Compare the actions of European leaders to those of Obama, who promises to take America's ballooning deficits seriously--at some indefinite point in the future. The Europeans are not waiting for a commission, or the next election, or some kind of alignment of stars. They don't believe they have any time to waste and are pushing forward now,” writes USA Today. The G-20 are moving forward--especially England, Germany and even France--with drastic spending cuts in an effort to get to long-term fiscal stability, something to which Obama seems to be increasingly opposed.

With our allies moving toward fiscal responsibility, the president has the perfect opportunity to bring Americans along too. Instead of moving past big-government Keynesian spending yesterday in Racine, he instead took potshots at individual Republicans by name, and mischaracterized some of the reasons why his opponents object to his agenda. Rather than bringing Americans together, he gave a very partisan, divisive, campaign speech.

What he didn’t say was the truth: that while there may be many different reasons for individual lawmakers to oppose his agenda, almost all are united in their opposition when the bills are simply not paid for and run the deficit even higher. As the president himself put it: “Whether you're a Democrat, an independent, or a Republican, all of us should be worried about the fact that we have been running the credit card on--in the name of future generations.” 

He seems to be the only one of us who’s not worried.