Obama’s Whole Lotta Nothing

Obama’s Whole Lotta Nothing

By Jerry
Shenk

That was then; this is now: Now America is facing a
sovereign debt crisis caused by excessive government borrowing and spending,
exacerbated by a recession and by actuary-confirmed, financially unsustainable
commitments to entitlements.

The failure of government to budget and spend
responsibly isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue.  American politicians have
taxed, borrowed and spent far too much money.  It’s irrational and purely
ideological for progressives who support Obama to use what they see as Bush
administration shortcomings to excuse or defend even greater excesses by the
current president and his Democratic congressional allies.

America is about to reach a debt ceiling with an
administration-applied deadline of August 2.  The president says there will be
“fiscal Armageddon” if Congress doesn’t act to raise the debt limit.  So, with
the clock ticking down, what is the president’s plan to reduce spending?  He has
proposed…nothing.

Regardless, on July 19, 2011, House Republicans gave
the president the debt ceiling increase and political cover he wanted.  As part
of a “Cut,
Cap, and Balance

bill (CCB), the House authorized raising the debt limit by the $2.5 trillion
Obama requested to see him through the 2012 election.  Enacted in the absence of
administration leadership, CCB has some modest strings
attached.

The new debt ceiling would only be effective if a
two-thirds majority in both Houses of Congress passes a balanced-budget
amendment to the Constitution and sends it to the states for eventual
ratification or rejection.  CCB also calls for a minimal $111 billion in
spending cuts in FY2012, only $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next ten years, and
firm caps on federal spending at roughly 19 percent of GDP by 2020.  The $1.5
trillion in cuts over the remainder of the decade is less than the government
will borrow this year.

The CCB bill punts on entitlements, proposing no
immediate changes to our largest fiscal problems: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social
Security.  CCB is a major concession by House Republicans, especially by those
sent to Washington following the grassroots-influenced wave election of 2010.
President Obama has vowed to veto the bill if it passes the Senate.  Obama’s
alternative to CCB is…nothing.

Obama has given speeches and held press conferences to
declare his willingness to “make difficult choices,” but he has never enumerated
a single compromise, reform or “difficult choice.”  Obama has
committed…nothing.

In a recent press conference, Obama was asked what
Medicare reforms he’d accept.  He responded, “There’s lots of options on the
table,” but refused to be more specific.  Obama
answered…nothing.

A FY-2012 budget was passed by the Republican House of
Representatives.  The president has rejected it, but, as an alternative, he has
offered…nothing.

To be fair, the president did deliver a rambling,
detail-free “budget” speech in May on which Douglas Elmendorf, the Democrat who
is director of the Congressional Budget Office, commented, “We don’t score
speeches.”  Translation: “The president offered…nothing.”

It’s true that earlier Republican majorities failed to
act, but the Democratic Party which held the White House and majorities in both
Houses of Congress from January 2009-January 2011 (and which still controls the
Senate and White House) has failed monumentally.  Not only have Washington
Democrats increased the debt by more than $5 billion in three years, they
haven’t produced a budget in more than two years.  Though they have paid lip
service to deficit reduction, other than tax increases, Democrats have
offered…nothing.

National politicians have ensured that every child
born here today is already nearly $50,000 in debt, money that must be taken from
wages none will begin earning for two decades or more — debt that increases and
compounds relentlessly.  Absent constitutional requirements to balance budgets
or fix spending caps, our system doesn’t self-correct.  If it must rely on
politicians to correct the problems they caused, America may be
doomed.

It has become very clear.  The president has nothing
to offer that will make him or his party fiscally responsible or our nation
financially sound. President Obama and his liberal enablers in the Democratic
Party, unions, the media and the academy only want to borrow and spend more, and
they want tax hikes to pay for new spending and debt service.

But, in March, 2006, during Bush 43’s second term,
speaking from the floor of the US Senate, then-Senator Obama said:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising
America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the US
Government cannot pay its own bills.  It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing
financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless
fiscal policies.  Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and
internationally.  Leadership means that, “the buck stops here.’  Instead,
Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our
children and grandchildren.  America has a debt problem and a failure of
leadership. Americans deserve better.

Senator Obama’s statement is more true now than it was
then.

Jerry Shenk is co-editor of the Rebuilding America,
Federalist Papers 2 website©:
www.federalistpapers2.org.

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