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Our Obama problem far exceeds our spending problem

Our Obama problem far exceeds our spending problem

Mitch McConnell had it right a couple of weeks ago when he made the following statement:

A “real solution” to U.S. fiscal problems isn’t possible as long as President Barack Obama remains in office, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, heightening the rhetoric surrounding the debt-ceiling debate….

“But after years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable,” Mr. McConnell said in a Senate floor speech.

It is against that backdrop that we must judge these last few days of argument over the debt ceiling increase and budget.

Simply put, anything which increases Obama’s chances of reelection will more than offset any additional cuts to be gained beyond the Boehner plan.  That plan is far from perfect, and doesn’t go far enough, but think how far we have come in just a few months since Obama proposed a budget which was so outrageous in its spending and deficits that not a single member of the Senate from either party voted for it.

Our Obama problem far exceeds our spending problem.  The Boehner Plan keeps that Obama problem front and center for the next year, when Obama would rather be talking fluff and hope and change and playing class warfare.

Bill Kristol calls it a “time for choosing.”  Others say not good enough is not good enough, and if not now when.

All I ask of you and myself is that as Boehner reworks his plan in light of CBO scoring, keep in mind the end game.  We simply cannot afford 4 more years.

Just think what this country will look like in 2016.


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I (very reluctantly) support the current Boehner plan. But at the same time, I am disgusted by Bill Kristol’s attitude.

This sort of argument is very common. It comes down to, “If you don’t do what I say, you’re evil.” It reduces principles to mere talking points and attempts to bully people rather than reason with them.

Support the plan or don’t but don’t insult people for daring to disagree.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to irv. | July 27, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I agree, those who want deeper cuts are not pro-Obama, they are well intentioned and I agree with them. My issue is what will be most effective.

      Our problem is not just Obama… It is the general willingness of the Democrat Party to present false statements as fact and false dichotomies as the only possible scenario. Added is their well organized ad campaigns in all media tv, radio, newspaper and even internet:

      This appeared on your site as a google ad Professor. Isn’t something like that illegal? The recount ad nauseum of 2004 won’t go away, even though every result ended the same way.

      PrincetonAl in reply to William A. Jacobson. | July 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Its not just the size of the cuts. Its the Super Congress mechanism, the slimy and dishonest tactics, and the fact that they will never have the stomach to fight. If you were House Speaker, Professor, you might have the credibility to me to get a chance to say we’ll take what we can get now (which is nothing, no cuts in the proposed plan until 2013) until we get more. But does that mean the only way we ever get anything is if we fold up our tents every year until we get 60 in the Senate? (or 58 or 59 and 1 or 2 weak swing votes)? Do you – in your heart – really believe any of these guys will do anything differently in 2013?

      I really, honestly truly believe that if everything broke our way and 2013 rolls around – Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and the rest will continue to give us baloney sandwiches with no change, and no rollback in the size. They will only stop the expansion of discretionary and stay weak on entitlement reform.

      I could be wrong – and if this was really a debate about tactics, I could be OK – but I don’t think this about tactics because I believe my votes and my money are being used by establishment Republicans to get power with no intent to cut.

      While I supported Mike Lee in Utah and Rubio in Florida and other conservative (over RINO) candidates in the primary, I think we will need to go after a lot more incumbents in 2012 if we are going to have a real impact.

      And even then, Boehner will want to create unamendable, super congress committees to thwart the will of Tea Partiers and will never want to risk his job to die on the sword (figuratively) for a real principle the way Dems were on Obamacare.

      If we don’t recognize how thoroughly the enemy is within us, if we don’t rally the troops to win 2012 and also credibly primary the Boehners and fake leaders, then I fear nothing changes.

      I don’t need to hold the line CCB, but why can’t we bundle in something – elimination of PLAs, Davis-Bacon, something that Democrats will get pissed about but will not swing independents that starts to make progress?

      Why does the bill have to be so poor? Is our position with independents so weak that we think we lose 2012 if this goes into shutdown over any plan? I don’t believe that.

      I believe we are just negotiating against ourselves for no reason. Why not put a budget bill with some tax increases and things the Dems want with Balanced Budget attached? We’d look “reasonable” … and I’d be willing to absorb a small tax hike to get that one through … let them look unreasonable.

      What am I missing? Where is the fight? Where is the strategy? I think there is only one strategy by Repub leaders. Keep their jobs. No different than Obama.

Tell me again what the Repubs have to loose by standing firm for Cut, Cap and Balance? I don’t see the “lose” in that. Pass it in the House and let it die if the Senate must but, keep passing it. The Dems can pass anything they want, owning 2/3 of the power houses. So force them to own more spending, we know where it’s going and it isn’t going to get better under their plan before the election. Repubs need to keep fighting for stopping the spending. America gets it.

Excellent commentary. At this point the debt ceiling drama ostensibly about the US debt has a equally large subtext which is the politics of 2012.

One thing sure to happen if and when the Dems lose in 2012 and leave a debacle to the next administration the pain of cleaning up after the disaster will be blamed on the party in power. The Democrats are very good at lying through their teeth and rewriting history.

One more thought: Isn’t compromise on spending just what got us here? Wasn’t GWB’s desire to compromise and go along with spending exactly the problem. Why would doing more of that spending suicide be helpful? Help me here…I just don’t get how we haven’t already seen the horse commttee compromise and end up with a girrafe.

Side story: Analyst says we’re at the beginning of a 500 day US retail recession,, through the end of 2012.

We’ve had a spending problem long before we’ve had an Obama problem, and there does not seem to be any effort by the GOP to control and cut spending.

The rhetoric is making me very nervous. The tone of Kristol column makes me believe there is a much higher chance that Boehner’s plan will go down than not. The Democrats and the media will create a plethora of false memes about the Republicans being unfit to govern, they will stoke the flames of party infighting, and it will work. They will set the stage for a very close and much more likely Obama victory in 2012. I will never understand what causes so many people to think it will be different this time. The country is not monolithically conservative, and there are enough low information, middle-of-the-road voters who will be swayed by whatever the media can come up with in a credible sounding way. I hope we don’t give them the rope to hang us with this time.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | July 27, 2011 at 11:53 am

Kudlow was brow beating Kay Bailey Hutchison last night into supporting the Reid plan. Fred Thompson is telling the Republicans to declare victory and get it done. Britt Hume warned that if something doesn’t get done by Aug. 2, the public will blame Republicans.

People seem to be starting to panic for no reason.

I believe whatever Boehner brings to the floor will pass. He remembers well that the Republicans were blamed when Clinton shut down the government in 1995 by veto-ing the budget Congress sent him.

At this stage, Boehner has to know where House Republicans stand, and if he can’t get 217 Republicans to pass his plan, then during the “rework” he’ll make whatever changes are necessary to achieve bi-partisan passage. It, whatever it ends up being, will pass, IMO.

Why is there always a false choice between principled conservatism and winning elections? I do not see how raising the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts (which are absent from the current Boehner plan) leads to a GOP win in 2012 as it fractures the party. In addition it will result in a downgraded credit rating (which will be blamed on Republicans- after all it was their plan, right?).

Our “Obama” problem, according to the charts from the Congressional Budget Office, is apparently primarily a Bush problem: . Two unfunded wars (1.4 trillion) and massive tax cuts (1.8 trillion) turned the Clinton era surpluses into Bush era deficits, dramatically increasing the national debt at a rate not seen since Reagan (Reagan had increased the debt to 1.9 trillion, while Bush brought it up to 3.8 trillion).

    Viator in reply to cylinders. | July 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    What a Democrat fairy tale!

    Obama has run up more debt in 30 months in office than any other President. He has run up debt at the rate of $120 billion dollars a month since taking office, a rate never before achieved.

      cylinders in reply to Viator. | July 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      @Viator The chart, produced by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, shows the cost of policy changes enacted by the two administrations. When a policy change adds more money to government spending, it goes in red, below the line (all entries for Bush). When a policy changes saves money, it goes in black, above the line (defense spending under Obama).

      As you can see, the single largest item on the red side of the ledger–in other words, the single largest contributor to the federal deficit–are the Bush tax cuts.

      You can make your own decision about whether it is intellectually sound to profess urgent concern about the government running in deficit while at the same time embracing the single largest policy contribution to that very same deficit.

      Incidentally, you could carve non-defense discretionary spending entirely away from the federal budget and, as you can see on the chart, you wouldn’t come close to the magnitude of the problem. There is no way around it–the Bush cuts will need to be allowed to expire at some point.

        Viator in reply to cylinders. | July 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

        Pure Democrat propaganda brought to us by that mouthpiece for the DNC the NY Slimes where all the news is print to fit.

        “There are plenty of issues with this chart, but let’s start with the notion that the “Bush tax cuts” cost the static-analysis price listed here. Absent those tax cuts, we would not have had the recovery from 2003-7, which generated a rather hefty increase in federal revenues; we’ll return to that in a moment. The actual revenue listed in this chart was what static analysis of the recovery would have brought into federal coffers, which is one of the main problems with static analysis. It also conflates tax cuts with federal spending, which only makes sense if one starts from the premise that the people owe their government all of their income less any that the government arbitrarily allows them to keep.

        The chart then tries to claim that Obama’s spending increases over the next 8 years (projected) will amount to just $1.44 trillion — less than the annual deficit these days. Oddly, it doesn’t mention that the last Republican annual budget passed in Congress (FY2007) only had a $160 billion deficit, which tends to interfere with the narrative Fallows and the Times wants to build here.”

        Hot Air

        Here you can clearly see that almost 1/3 of all the debt accumulated by the US has occurred in the last 30 months under Obama:

        Debt limit increases

        Oh, by the way, notice that is an exponential graph. In exponential growth, the rate of change increases over time – the rate of the growth becomes faster as time passes. The only fate in nature for exponential growth is collapse.

          cylinders in reply to Viator. | July 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

          @Viator…Hmm, doesn’t take long to get all ad hominem-like, does it? I guess if we’re just going to get lazy and quote other sources–since at this point that’s probably all I have time for as well (instead of pointing out the parts that Ed Morrissey doesn’t understand), might as well just point to one of the many indictments of supply-side economics:

          cylinders in reply to Viator. | July 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

          and while I know your mind won’t be changed, this is actually what I meant to link to:

          Salient quote: “Supply siders raised the debt 20 out of 20 years. That can’t just be bad luck.

          Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Clinton all reduced it.”

[…] Jacobson at put it perfectly: Our Obama problem far exceeds our spending problem.  The Boehner Plan keeps that […]

JimMtnViewCaUSA | July 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Off topic: enjoying the Moody Blues videos.

I think we are very close to the tipping point. Rebellion is in the air. I’ll be amazed if we get to 2012 without serious violence. It’s almost as if that’s what Obama wants. God help the USA!

    SunnyJ in reply to foxlets. | July 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    It is exactly what they want and have been incredulous that they haven’t been able to create (listen to Francis Fox Piven’s own words, V Jarrett, Van Jones). The goal has been to overwhelm the system and collapse it into their socialist/marxist/progressive system. We are well on the way. However, one thing they didn’t count on was the Tea Party and Sarah Palin/Glenn Beck/Andrew Breitbart/Mark Levin et all putting up this fight. They thought they’d go quietly when they brought the violence to the streets…only its not who came out in the streets. Who knew it would be the silent majority of the 60-70’s lead by Tea Party…we’re mad and we’re not going to take this anymore!

All Boehner can do until the 2012 elections is fight a running battle that stymies Obama and the Democrats as much as possible. Some of our friends on the Right have expectations far exceeding reality. Until we have like minds occupying the White House and controlling the Senate, we do not possess the power necessary to effect meaningful change. Boehner’s task is monumental and so far he’s been up to the challenge. He simply does not yet have enough power to dictate change in DC.

The Right needs to get in line and push Boehner predominantly from behind, not head on.
It doesn’t do us much good to shoot our own messenger.

David R. Graham | July 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm

“Just think what this country will look like in 2016.”

More chaos.

“I think we are very close to the tipping point. Rebellion is in the air. I’ll be amazed if we get to 2012 without serious violence. It’s almost as if that’s what Obama wants. God help the USA!”

*Almost* as if?

Let’s get one thing said up front, I was a Conservative before I started my twenty-five year career; and have been all along. However, sometimes lately I am almost ashamed to be identified with Conservatives. That is if being conservative means standing on the sidelines and throwing excrement at every GOP leader who is trying against very heavy odds to move the government in the right direction. Meanwhile, a cadre of people, Limbaugh included, are laying on the floor, kicking their heels and bawling “not enough”. Does that describe anyone on this forum? Hope not.

I think a lot of people, including some here, have forgotten that this is a Representative Republic. You don’t get to unilaterally decide how things are going to be. Even the “Idiot in Chief” acknowledged that in his speech to La Raiza (how nice is that) the other day, when he said he would like to (sic) “just do what he wants; but he can’t because it doesn’t work that way”. If that narcissistic fool recognizes the facts, why can’t others? Politics is deal making and the “art of the possible”. Progress is often made in small steps. Significant change happens over time. If you don’t understand that, you do not understand reality.

Like it or not, the GOP is the only pony that Conservatives have in the race. Continued sniping at the GOP leadership plays beautifully into Dimocrat hands.

[…] and reforming entitlements as long as Obama is president and Democrats control the Senate. Professor Jacobson agrees.Simply put, anything which increases Obama’s chances of reelection will more than offset any […]

The 111th Congress have turned the Federal Government into a very profitable business – they are the worlds first ultra-rich “Trillionairs”

I had some idea what was to come before the 2008 election but the problem we’re looking at today is an expansion of federal expenditures as a percent of GDP from 18% to 25% – a growth from 2.9 Trillion to 14 Trillion.

The underlying deep fundamental is that the 1974 Congressional Budget Act sets the next years budget as the current year + inflation + 7% growth.

What were the 1974 Budgets and GDP?