Instead of wailing and gnashing of fiscal teeth, Congress and the President ought to be heaving a sigh of relief and heaping kudos on the former vice-presidential nominee, for doing what they collectively and separately have failed to accomplish.
Too often we hear politicians boasting about "cutting" spending and how they are "reducing" the federal deficit. During the recent sequestration debate, the vast majority of the media, Congress and President Obama all referred to the sequester as "cuts."
“Sequester.” It’s a word that used to come up rarely. And it nearly always referred to a jury being locked away to deliberate a verdict.
Something odd happened a few months ago as I weighed the various aspects of the dreaded Sequester Monster, a creature vilified across party lines.
President Obama has new priorities. That means new spending.
Not long after President Obama proclaimed in his second inaugural that "an economic recovery has begun," we learned that the U.S. economy actually shrank in the last quarter. Many economists believe this is a temporary setback. This recovery may be the weakest in American history, but the economy isn't cratering either.
So now the president is a committed man of the left. No longer is he faking moderation or even trying to bring the nation "together." Nope. As he made clear in his inauguration speech, Barack Obama is dedicating himself to achieving "social justice" no matter what the cost.
President Obama made a remarkable statement to John Boehner in the middle of their negotiations leading up to the fiscal cliff. "We don't have a spending problem," the president said. We have "a health care problem."
One definition of "imperial" on dictionary.com is, "of the nature or rank of an emperor or supreme ruler." At his news conference Monday, a petulant, threatening and confrontational President Obama spoke like an emperor or supreme ruler. All that was missing was a scepter, a crown and a robe trimmed in ermine.
President Obama thinks the debate over raising the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling isn't the place or the time to be discussing runaway spending.
Sometimes, looking at the political discourse in this country, I wonder if we really understand the ratchet effect of increasing government programs and power over time: unlike in business, unlike in nature, unlike in, well, real life, failure is not punished, but at best ignored, at worst rewarded. Once a program is in place, it is almost never repealed, even when Republicans obtain political power because voters become dependent on it.
Do you remember what the mainstream media mainly talked about as the country careened toward the fiscal cliff? Did they talk about the harmful economic effects of impending tax increases? Did they talk about which tax increases would be worse than others? Did they talk about the need to get rid of waste in government without causing economic harm?
As I watched Congressional Republican leaders stumble too often during the fiscal cliff negotiations, I was reminded that a wise mentor often said, "Sound policy is sound politics." This is a lesson Republicans should have learned by now. Instead they’re using flawed logic and telling themselves, “President Obama won the election with a mandate for higher taxes that the public currently supports. A strategic retreat now on tax hikes and cutting government spending will strengthen our political position and keep us relevant in the long run."
Did you watch the Notre Dame v. Alabama, BCS Championship game this week? Alabama beat Notre Dame 42-12. It wasn’t even close.
As a senator and presidential candidate, Barack Obama said that he detested budget deficits. In 2006, when the aggregate national debt was almost $8 trillion less than today, he blasted George W. Bush's chronic borrowing and refused to vote for upping the debt ceiling: "Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.'"
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tells us the tax issue is behind us and that we can now move on to spending. Really? What makes him think the GOP will succeed this time when it couldn't last time?
Here’s two ways to think about the “fiscal cliff” deal that just took place in Washington.
Let's be clear what the "fiscal cliff" deal does and doesn't do. It permanently preserves the bulk of George W. Bush's tax cuts for most Americans, but it does not offer desperately needed new incentives to revive a weak economy and jobless labor market.
Everything that everyone loathes about Washington was present in the "fiscal cliff" bill just passed by Congress. It is 153 pages long; most members probably hadn't read all of it before voting on it; it was delivered in the middle of the night; it was loaded with pork -- the mother's milk (to mix a metaphor) of politicians -- and while the country is already swamped with massive debt, it contains massive giveaways to satisfy interest groups and campaign contributors. Did I mention the bill raises taxes on top of the coming Obamacare taxes, but does nothing -- nothing -- to address the debt problem?
President Obama won the first round of his second term, but thanks to Mitch McConnell the beating wasn’t as severe as it could have been.
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