The Corner

Sessions: Speech ‘Makes a Mockery’ of Debt Deal

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, said President Obama “just doesn’t get it.” His jobs speech to Congress this evening, Sessions said, is yet another abdication of the leadership required to resolve our tremendous fiscal problems. “I hoped that tonight the president would finally look the American people in the eye and tell them the bitter truth about how badly their finances have been mishandled—and present a detailed plan to repair the economic damage,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the president again failed to rise to the moment.”

The president’s $450 billion jobs “plan,” Sessions said, “makes a mockery of the recent debt limit deal.” The Budget Control Act cut $7 billion from next years appropriations. That Obama now wants to pile on hundreds of billions of dollars in new debt is inexcusable — akin to “a second stimulus package.” And the first stimulus effort, Sessions said, was “one of the most spectacular policy failures in modern history.”

Most pressingly, the United States simply does not have the capacity to take on more debt. We have reached and exceeded our “economic debt limit,” meaning “the point at which we cannot increase our borrowing without undermining growth, confidence and job creation.” Respected economists have argued that when a country’s gross debt hits 90 percent of GDP, economic growth and job creation suffers as a result. The U.S. currently has a gross debt of 100 percent of GDP.

But the president promised to “pay for” his jobs package, right? Well, yes, in characteristically nebulous terms. Sessions was not impressed. “Saying that something is ‘paid for’ isn’t enough,” he said. ‘Borrowing even more to spend immediately in exchange for vague promises of distant future cuts means that we are digging ourselves into a deeper fiscal hole and moving quickly in the wrong direction.”

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...


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