Here’s what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period. And to prove that I’m serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don’t materialize. Part of the reason I faced a trillion dollar deficit when I walked in the door of the White House is because too many initiatives over the last decade were not paid for – from the Iraq War to tax breaks for the wealthy. I will not make that same mistake with health care
Most polls report that the number concern of the American People is the state of the economy, especially the deficit. In his speech tonight President Obama made a point to recognize the fact that people are concerned about the federal deficit. Promising that he would not sign Obamacare legislation if it would add to the federal deficit, the President followed it up in the next statement with a statement that proved he wasn’t serious about the program being revenue neutral:
Add it all up, and the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over ten years – less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration. Most of these costs will be paid for with money already being spent – but spent badly – in the existing health care system. The plan will not add to our deficit.
How do you spend almost a trillion dollars without adding to the deficit? The CBO already said cutting waste would not save anything close to that.
The bottom line is despite the fact that our economy is still going to Hell in a hand basket the POTUS doesn’t really care about the the national debt or fiscal responsibility:
By DANIEL HENNINGER
It’s been a long time since James Carville said the most famous thing he ever said: It’s the economy, stupid. That famous phrase was in fact part of a sign hung in the Clinton campaign headquarters in 1992. There was a sense among the electorate in the fall of 1992, not entirely accurate, that the economy was foundering under George H.W. Bush. Bush lost control of the public’s perception of the economy, and then he lost the presidency.
Why with unemployment heading above 10% was Barack Obama on TV last night draining a dwindling reservoir of presidential capital on health care? Redesigning the 17% of the economy that is health care appears to be the siren song of Democratic presidencies. Mr. Obama’s crew has famously said it wouldn’t make the mistakes the Clintons made on health care. How calling forth both houses of Congress in prime time to join him in betting the ranch on health care qualifies as smarter politics than the Clintons is a mystery.
Daniel Henninger discusses how President Obama should drop his health-care agenda and focus on the economy.
Even more so now than way back in 1992: It’s still the economy, stupid.
To save himself and his party from enduring another health-care debacle, Barack Obama should put his agenda on the back burner, bend his efforts to raising the economy, and rebuild his political capital by taking credit for the inevitable rebound. That just might minimize the impending loss of House seats and allow him to revisit his wish list in 2011. The alternative is promising big, accomplishing little and getting credit for nothing. This could be America’s greatest failed presidency.
The economy is Barack Obama’s 9/11. If you’re Mr. Obama, it must seem a little unfair. One year ago at the Labor Day turn toward the stretch, Mr. Obama and his team were on the cusp of one of the most thrilling wins in American presidential history. No matter that many Obama voters were looking past all the state-based initiatives in his politics; the air was filled with possibility.
This was history’s moment. Then on Sept. 15, 2008, history hit the wall. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. The next day the Fed said it would lend a stunning $85 billion to AIG. A major money-market fund broke the buck.
This wasn’t just a recession, a reality already discussed in the summer campaign. There was a sense after the nightmare week of Sept. 15 that the American economy was imploding.
Assets in 401(k) accounts were ravaged. Much of the economy appeared to have fallen into the hands of fools and knaves. Businesses that once were economic beacons—GM, Chrysler, Lehman, much of Wall Street—were breaking off and falling into the sea.
After its Inauguration, the Obama presidency should have been driving a new health-care entitlement into everlasting law on a wave of good will. Instead, it had to deal with the stumbling economy and credit system.
Whether what they did—stimulus, the auto bailout, TARP and the rest—was the right policy is beside the point for our argument. The administration seemed to think it put a big political problem behind it, clearing the way for health care. That was a false dawn.
The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll has 87% of the public somewhat or very dissatisfied with the economy. The unemployment rate is likely to go above 10% for all 2010. Whatever GDP growth may occur, there is no evidence of new-job creation. Gold’s price has risen above $1,000, suggesting inflation is swimming below the economy’s flat surface. China is stockpiling gold and worrying out loud about the weak dollar. A U.N. panel said this week the world should abandon the dollar as the world’s anchor currency.
Just now, Barack Obama’s mad obsession with arcane health-insurance puzzles looks beside the point.
I don’t think anyone fully understands yet how much damage was done to the U.S. economy and financial system by the events of September 2008. Whatever one’s belief in the $800 billion Obama-Pelosi-Summers-Romer Keynesian multiplier, it’s reasonable to believe more than rote public spending is needed to restore the American job-creation machine. The public rightly worries that a damaged economy is vulnerable to more blows.
The White House may think it and Democratic incumbents can simply pocket the credit for whatever fly-wheel growth shows up the next six months. It’s more likely the public will mark down a president who appears passive to its most pressing concern. A presidency seen leading a genuine agenda for renewed growth—offering at least some oxygen to the private economy—would be more likely to earn the broad support it simply does not have now for the agenda of its dreams.
Fat chance it will do that. We opened with the still-good advice of James Carville. We close with an even higher authority to explain last night’s odd spectacle before Congress. It’s Elwood, political director for the Blues Brothers: “We’re on a mission from God.”