The Corner

Would You Buy a Used Car from This Man?

President Obama’s deficiencies as a leader result from his fundamental lack of honesty. A true leader says, “This will be difficult, but it has to be done, and with your help, we can make it happen.” A charlatan says, “Hey, it’s no problem at all — and free ice cream for everyone!” That might work once or twice, but pretty soon people start to catch on.

 

A case in point: Yesterday at the White House, Obama said

I just want to be clear, for all those who are continually carping about how this is somehow a big spending government bill, this cuts our deficit by $132 billion the first 10 years, and by over a trillion in the second. That argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water.

Now, first of all, the president is muddling — one has to suspect deliberately — two very different things: spending and deficits. If I withdraw $10,000 from the bank and spend $9,000 of it, I have $1,000 more in my pocket than I had before, even though I’ve just spent a lot of money. That doesn’t mean I earned or saved $1,000. Similarly, if you make the ludicrous assumption that all the budget trickery in Democare actually reflects reality, the bill amounts to a massive tax increase (direct and indirect), coupled with a slightly less massive spending increase. But it’s still a “big spending government bill” — or, more properly, a “big spending and even bigger taxing government bill.”

 

Yet the real situation is even worse, because all the budget trickery in Democare doesn’t reflect reality. As Matthew Continetti points out at The Weekly Standard, not only are many of its projections bogus, but it relies heavily on the “doc fix,” which President Obama and everyone else in the United States knows will never happen. So in this case it’s like withdrawing $10,000, spending $12,000, but saying that you’ll save $3,000 next year by quitting smoking — and this time you really, really mean it. One thousand bucks clear profit, baby!

 

When a football coach is a good motivator, people say that “his players would run through a brick wall for him.”  The key, of course, is that he never actually asks his players to do it; if he did, they would change their minds about him soon enough. And since America’s taxpayers have already collided with a series of budgetary brick walls during Coach Obama’s first year in office, it’s no surprise that they have grown very skittish about trying it again.

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