Robert Meyer
Obama's bodacious budgetary bluff
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By Robert Meyer
July 27, 2011

See Obama with poker face and dark shades, stoically warning us about the dire repercussions of ignoring his call to raise the debt limit.

Come the middle of next week, senior citizens will be dismayed to find no Social Security checks in their mailboxes, federal workers will be plying their trades without pay checks, our military will be defending our shores without compensation, and the U.S. will default on its debt payments. All this, of course, could be avoided if we would merely raise our debt ceiling. That, at least, is the gospel according to Obama, the dealer in this card game.

It's funny how the commonplace acceptable principles of accounting routinely applied in the preparation and negotiations over the federal budget, would be laughably absurd if applied to the number-crunching that goes on at America's kitchen tables over bill payment. If the family credit cards are "maxed-out," surely a raise in the credit limits would be the remedial path to instant financial solvency. It would at least allow us a continued and perpetual indulgence it the "necessities" of life.

Obama is apparently thinking he is in a "can't lose" situation. Either Obama gets some of the important things he wants in the budget wrangling, which are unacceptable to conservatives, or else Obama runs out the clock until August 2cd, and by default, the opposition party is blamed for any bad things that might happen. A little pain and squealing from mainstream America, followed by a quick submission of "uncle" from the Republican leaders, and Obama is on his way to a repeat coronation come November of next year. At least that's the nature and supposition of Obama's bold wager. He is not only doubling-down on a losing economic hand, but his house rules are such than he requires the debt limit to be increased to a level where the issue can't come up again before the next presidential election. How convenient.

Not so long ago a local Obama apologist pointed out that the supply-side tax reduction "gambits" of both Ronald Reagan and Bush The Junior failed, apparently because neither action permanently ended the ebb and flow of the economic cycle. The writer asked why, if tax reduction was supposed to stimulate the economy, did the period of prosperity eventually come to an end? Of course, my counterpoint is that at least under Reagan and Bush we actually saw a period of prosperity and economic growth. With Obama's current version of Keynesian voodoo, "Spend to prosperity," we invested a trillion dollars and have yet to see any economic fruit at all. Of course, as everybody knows, this spending rescued our economy from a second Great Depression. Really, so how do we prove that? Going into 2009, any president would have had that excuse to spend recklessly in his pocket, but Obama was elected because he had the solution. So now we have bitten deeply into the bun, but have yet to find the meat.

The chief problem is that every economic proposal put forth by liberals presupposes that our economic problem is from a lack of revenue, not an addiction to spending. Such assumptions always focus on class warfare rhetoric — who is or isn't paying their "fair share." We hear comments like "We can't afford to continue giving tax breaks to the wealthy." Again, such a statement seems to assume that all money belongs to the federal government, and it is doled out as an allowance as they believe citizens have a need. Perhaps there is an orchard of money trees on the shores of the Potomac, where the limited supply of this money is harvested. If one guy has more of it, another citizen must be getting cheated or short-changed, according to leftist philosophy.

If there are problems with loopholes, then let's address that issue with changes of simplification in the whole tax structure, rather than as a political device to demonize and perpetuate class warfare. How much revenue ending these breaks will provide is questionable, so bringing the subject front and center looks like a rhetorical ploy, more than a meaningful suggestion for saving money. The ideal that we should aim for is that tax rates be no higher than necessary to accomplish the constitutional role of the federal government. Even in a pipe dream we can't get there any time soon, but we can begin applying that mentality to the way we think about current and future budgetary planning.

My own prediction as to the outcome of this latest manufactured crisis, is that come August 2cd, we will see yet another meaningless short-term deal.

© Robert Meyer

 

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Robert Meyer

Robert Meyer is a hardy soul who hails from the Cheesehead country of the upper midwest... (more)

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