How can anyone take President Obama seriously when he tells us our national debt is no big deal? Well, we have to take him seriously, because, unserious thinking or not, he has serious power, including the power to obstruct progress on reducing the debt.
I'm not making this up, of course, which is too bad because it illustrates why it is so hard for Republicans to work with this man. He neither views the fiscal world from the same lens nor shares the goal of significant debt reduction.
In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Obama said, "We don't have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it's going to be in a sustainable place."
Not only is that delusional on its face based on what we already know but there is no telling what kinds of financial strains his favorite monster, Obamacare, is going to have on the debt or what kinds of extraordinary circumstances might necessitate spending surges over the next decade.
But we needn't speculate about unknowns, because the knowns are horrifying enough. The enormity of our annual interest payments on the debt alone renders Obama's dismissiveness about the debt surreal.
Obama carried his bizarre insouciance about the debt into his photo op meetings with congressional Republicans as part of his cynically conceived "charm offensive." According to Roll Call, Obama indicated to Republicans that "balancing the budget over the next 10 years is not on his priority list."
Let's stop right there. Please tell me, you romantic advocates for bipartisan harmony, how the GOP can work with a man to solve an undeniable debt crisis when his blind apathy makes Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman look engaged?
House Speaker John Boehner framed the problem quite accurately when he summarized the parties' respective positions. "Republicans want to balance the budget. The president doesn't," said Boehner. "Republicans want to solve our long-term debt problem. The president doesn't. We want to unlock our energy resources to put more Americans back to work. The president doesn't."
So what does Obama propose to do about this non-problem that Republicans are coercing him into dealing with? Simple: He'll agree to $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in additional tax revenue.
Just swell. Tell me the last time Obama or any other Democrat at the federal level honored his commitment to reduce spending in exchange for tax increases? Republicans have repeatedly fallen for this ploy and given in to immediate tax hikes, only to see Democrats renege on their promises to cut spending.