Fiscal Brinksmanship

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“America,” President Obama insists, “is not a deadbeat nation.” Mounting evidence to the contrary.

He chastises Republicans for even contemplating a default on the debt. At a news conference this week, he called any attempt to use the debt limit authorization issue to negotiate federal spending down “absurd,” and akin to a hostage situation. Refusing to raise the ceiling, you see, would “crash the economy”:

He demanded that Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives approve a rise in the federal government’s authority to borrow money to pay existing obligations — without seeking policy concessions in return.

The BBC goes on to quote the president, who clarifies his stance. “While I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits,” said the president, he insists that he will definitely not “have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people.”

It’s an interesting approach: accuse Republicans of dangerous brinksmanship, while continuing to overspend and increase debt to the very brink of insolvency.

What Obama won’t recognize is that fiscal conservatives, today, play the same role as a parents cutting up their college kid’s credit cards after the young spendthrift had racked up an extraordinary debt. Obama plays the role of the kid saying: I’ve already budgeted spending, you can’t cut up the credit card — that’d be irresponsible!

It was different in 2006, when Senator Obama opposed raising the debt ceiling and called the increasing debt levels a sign of “a failure of leadership.”

Now that he — and not a despicable Republican — has the leadership role, he’s changed his tune. He says his former cry of “irresponsibility!” was itself irresponsible.

The very best thing we can say about this? The president has been captured completely by the forces he once opposed.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


P.S.Soon after the last period of the above squib was struck, I turned on Fox. And there was Sean Hannity, leading his nightly political opinion show with the president’s remonstrance of Republicans for daring to fix tight the debt ceiling. Hannity noticed what I noticed — indeed, what it turns out a lot of people noticed: Obama’s repudiation of a practice that he himself had engaged in in 2006.

But notice what Hannity is trying to prove: “how reckless, irresponsible and fundamentally dishonest a man [Obama] is.” Hannity sees Obama’s press conference performance as indicative of the president’s hypocrisy, demagoguery, and slipperiness-with-facts.

The case can be made, and Hannity has made it. The trouble is, the way Hannity makes it, to his audience, just skips over precisely this kind of behavior from Republicans. For, remember, Republicans repeatedly voted to increase the debt limit while their guy, Bush, was in charge. Another person to notice the differences between Junior Senator Obama and Second-Term President Obama, young Ms. Julie Borowski (“Token Libertarian Girl”), showed more savvy on Facebook than Hannity does on his primetime program:

Most Republicans are against raising the debt ceiling under Obama. But most were all for it during the George W. Bush administration.

Most Democrats are for raising the debt ceiling under Obama. But most were all against it during the George W. Bush administration.

Pssh, here’s a better idea. Dramatically cut spending. Stop manufacturing fake crises and raising the debt ceiling almost every year to finance drunken spending sprees. And why they are at it, members of Congress should pass a budget for the first time in over three years. It’s no wonder that a recent Public Policy Polling survey finds that cockroaches are more popular than Congress.

No doubt, since insecticide is cheaper and more effective than politics.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan
    16
    12:10
    PM
    drrik

    Or you could call him the perfect Alinski-style moral relativist, who changes his philosophy whenever is for his own benefit. The H-word.

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