A couple of back-to-back statements by President Obama at a town hall rally in Des Moines, Iowa, tell us all we need to know about his economic philosophy and that we aren't going to climb out of his recession and begin to slow the growth of the national debt as long as he's calling the shots.
Voters, he said, tell him to "cut government spending." But "most spending is for veterans, for education, for defense. ... Finding $700 billion is not easy."
Yet a few minutes earlier, in response to criticism over illegal immigrants getting health care in the United States, he had said, "It is very important that we have compassion as part of our national character." (How about compassion for future generations of Americans?)
Does anyone see the disconnect here? If Obama believes our national character is deficient unless we expand the welfare state to illegal immigrants, then how could he ever preside over a balanced budget?
His wildly inaccurate statement about where the money is spent is equally revealing. For fiscal year 2010, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and other sources, benefits for veterans constituted about 3.5 percent of the budget; education expenditures were 3 percent; and defense and security totaled about 20 percent.
Even worse than these errors is his defeatist statement that "finding $700 billion is not easy."
Well, of course it's not easy if you have no desire to trim the size, functions and intrusiveness of government.
Didn't he just say again the other day that he is "committed to fiscal responsibility"? Hasn't he incessantly argued that President George W. Bush is the one who ran up these outlandish deficits?
We all know what a distortion and exercise in scapegoatery that is. President Bush fulfilled his promise to cut the deficit in half by 2006. In fiscal year 2007, the deficit was $161 billion. Hard to believe, isn't it?
That's just three years ago, and Obama says it's nearly impossible to trim much? Even the final Bush year, which Obama continues to blame for all "this mess" and which Obama has used to establish his new deficit base line, was not actually the alleged $1.3 trillion, but closer to $800 billion when TARP repayments are factored in.
Assuming Obama even wants to bring down the deficit, his economic philosophy precludes him from advancing policies likeliest to do it. You cannot make much headway on the deficit in a period of recession, and his policies are leading us toward a double-dip recession.