The president’s speech today was an unserious response to the serious economic threats our nation faces. It represented a virtual declaration that, for the remainder of his term, his focus will be on campaigning rather than governing. America faces profound long-term challenges, but the president still has no real long-term plan. This cannot be denied.
Nothing the president says or does will change the fact that his sole existing budget plan — his FY 2012 budget — leaves us worse off than we are today. Nowhere has the president proposed meaningful tax reform, regulatory reform, fiscal reform, or entitlement reform — no effort to put this nation on a sound footing. The commander-in-chief is absent from battle.
The co-chairs of the president’s own fiscal commission explained that, absent swift and serious action, America faces “the most predictable economic crisis in its history.” But the president proposes more short-term stimulus. This is clearly an extension of Democrats’ tax-and-spend agenda. He is advocating a stimulus plan to increase the deficit this year by $324 billion and the year after that by $155 billion, and to impose a permanent tax that conveniently begins after the 2012 election.
This is the question every citizen, every lawmaker, and every journalist must ask: Where will the president’s policies leave us in one, five, and ten years?
The president talks about fairness. Yet one of the results of his administration has been to widen the inequity between the middle class and the political class. For instance, unlocking America’s untapped energy reserves, including oil and natural gas, would lead to sustained job opportunities for middle-class Americans. It would also reduce, rather than increase, the deficit. Instead, middle-class Americans helped foot the bill for the president’s failed stimulus package, which lavished massive amounts of stimulus money on politically favored “green” corporations like Solyndra.
The middle class must pay for the president’s failed policies twice — first, they have to pay the bill for profligate federal spending, and then they must pay the price for its economic consequences in the form of lost jobs and mounting debt. The middle class bears the brunt of the president’s misguided big-government vision.
We need a real middle-class agenda, not more dishonest spending to benefit the political class. That means creating jobs through the private sector; putting a stop to cronyism and favoritism; producing more American energy; making the government lean and productive; creating a long-term debt plan; adopting a globally competitive tax code; upholding the rule of law in trade; eliminating unwise, damaging regulations; and finally delivering the good people of this country the honest and responsible budget they deserve.
— Sen. Jeff Sessions is ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget.