Seven quick thoughts on the Most Important Speech of Obama’s Presidency Since the Last One . . .
1. The prepared text begins, “This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page, more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of future we want.” I read that and hear, ‘I cannot get the numbers to add up.” Or, perhaps, “It was my understanding there would be no math involved in this debate.”
2. There is a lot of blaming Bush in this speech. Quick perspective: Using numbers from the U.S. Treasury, we see that the debt during Bush’s eight years in office increased from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion, or $4.9 trillion over eight years. That’s bad; that’s basically $610 billion per year. But in the less than three years Obama has been in office, the debt has increased from $10.6 trillion to $14.2 trillion, a $3.6 trillion increase in about 27 months. In other words, Obama is increasing the debt by $1.6 trillion per year, three times as fast as Bush.
3. Obama declares his desire to “reduce spending in the tax code.” What an Orwellian way of saying, “raise taxes.”
4. “Even after our economy recovers . . .” A subtle acknowledgment that the economy has not recovered.
5. It’s rather amazing how Obama sticks to the phrase “win the future” after it has been mocked relentlessly for its vacuousness. The focus groups must be showing something.
6. Early on, Obama declares, “Politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse — that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices. “ Minutes later Obama declares, “Over the last two years, Secretary Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending.” Then, talking health care, he says, “My approach would build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments.” So talk about eliminating waste and abuse is a distraction from the real issues, but Obama will do it anyway.
When you get a contradiction like that, I suspect it means the speech was written by committee and they tried to paper over the disagreements.
7. The self-proclaimed “responsible adult” didn’t offer a budget to go with this speech.
UPDATE: There are many, many reasons Obama has no credibility on this issue, but this trip down memory lane, recalling his debate pledge against Senator McCain, is a big one:
“Actually, I am cutting more than I am spending. So that it will be a net spending cut.”