Once again, President Obama has forgotten a promise he made to the American people.
Ever since I can remember, the president has called for a “balanced approach” to reducing the deficit.
As recently as September, Obama’s plan for reducing the deficit was to cut $2.50 in spending allowances for every $1 of increased tax revenue.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that returning to Clinton-era levels by hiking tax rates on individuals making $200,000 or households making $250,000 would yield about $42 billion in 2013. So if Obama wants to cut spending by two and a half times that $42 billion in increased revenue, that would require $105 billion in cuts. Where are Obama’s specifics about those cuts?
As it turns out, expense reductions seem to be missing from the president’s plan. In fact, expenses will increase to the tune of $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending. So the president’s plan to keep us off the “fiscal cliff” is to spend even more than the government takes in.
When Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled the plan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell burst into laughter. McConnell is not one who usually succumbs to bouts of emotion.
Don’t get me wrong. I would have disapproved even had the president stuck to his guns and adhered to his “balanced approach.”
First of all, tax hikes are fine — so long as we’re in a vibrant economy. Our gross domestic growth rate has been less than 3 percent for a long time now. Even the Keynesian economic model the president relies so much on advises against this. Moreover, back in August 2009, Obama himself admitted, “You don’t raise taxes in a recession.” So what’s changed since then?
According to a study released earlier this month by New York University economics professor Edward N. Wolff, median net worth is at a 43-year low. Now Obama wants to take it down further? We’re already on a “Thelma and Louise” ride to oblivion and the president has his foot on the accelerator.
Second, even had the president kept his promise of cutting $2.50 in spending for each $1 of tax increases, we’re still talking about a drop in the bucket. This year’s deficit amounts to $1.106 trillion. The president’s plan, if followed, would have reduced the deficit by less than 10 percent.
That brings me to my third objection: The president keeps talking about “deficit reduction” when the goal should be reducing the debt. Unless we reduce the deficit to the point of total elimination, debt will continue to increase.
Lastly, I have a real problem with the president’s “take it or leave it” approach to negotiations. Rather than engaging in a give-and-take with congressional leaders to hammer out an agreement equally distasteful to all, he’s spending the time convincing voters that his proposal has merits. He hasn’t met with congress in weeks, and he blocked out the final two weeks before the Jan. 2 deadline to vacation with his family.
In the following video of the weekly GOP address on Saturday, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, calls President Obama’s “balanced approach” to dealing with the looming fiscal cliff “a classic bait and switch.”
I say that although the president keeps using the word “balanced,” I don’t think he quite knows what it means.