American Elephants


The Imperial Non-Negotiator: My Way or the Highway! by The Elephant's Child

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“Republican House leaders are still stunned by President Obama’s in-your-face phone call to Speaker John Boehner late Friday to warn that the White House won’t negotiate on a debt-ceiling increase. The Bravado and arrogance has further antagonized GOP members.” So began Stephen Moore’s piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Chest-thumping? An attempt to embody a more macho-manly character? He is completely conciliatory with Vladimir Putin who is always running around Russia  ruggedly doing manly things with his shirt off, yet with Speaker Boehner, Obama is going to be really, really tough. No negotiations. My way or the highway. Don’t even ask.

Saturday morning, in his weekly address, Mr. Obama explained briefly how he had rescued the economy, created 7½ million new jobs, saved America from its addiction to foreign oil, slowed the staggering growth of health care costs, and in just a week, millions of Americans without health care will be able to be insured for less than $100 a month. And now, having saved the country, he will turn to saving the middle class, as soon as he gives Congress their marching orders. Debt ceiling chicken?

The most basic Constitutional duty Congress has is passing a budget. If it doesn’t pass one before September 30th — a week from Monday—the government will shut down.

We won’t pay the military, federal loans will be frozen (did you have a mortgage?) New home buyers can forget it, Federal loans, small business owners— we will see that  you suffer! No more life-saving discoveries, wind turbines will shut down, and anything we can think of that you might like will be turned off and blamed on Republicans.

When Obama spoke to the Business Roundtable on September 18 , he said:

You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt used to extort a president of a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt.

That got 4 Pinocchios from the Washington Post fact checker. Congress has been doing what Obama says it has never done since at least 1973. That year Ted Kennedy and Walter Mondale made a campaign finance reform bill a condition of raising the debt ceiling. Over the years since then 25 non-germane amendments were added, though not all passed. Negotiation is how the Founders intended for things to work. They knew that people would disagree, but in negotiation and bargaining, all would come to something that was right for the country and about which everyone could at least accept, if not really agree. Mr. Obama has never really understood the office he holds, and it is always about him, not the country.

The savings in the budget that Obama now brags about, came because of the sequester, which the Democrats hate. Obama has run up the debt by more than $5 trillion. Yet Democrats are absolutely intransigent about cutting back anywhere — in a government oozing waste and fraud, rot and corruption from every orifice.

Mr Obama wants a fight with Republicans so he can blame a shutdown on Republicans. He thinks a threat of default will cause voters to rally around him, as did the 1995 budget battle between Bill Clinton and Republicans. It is not about what is good for the country, it is, once again, all about Obama. He is a fierce competitor, and he plans to win.



Obama Still Believes “We Don’t Have a Spending Problem.” by The Elephant's Child

President Obama had another press conference to explain why maxing out the national credit card was perfectly normal and really the fault of the Republicans in Congress, ans since it’s maxed out, he needs a new credit card so he can go shopping again.

The White House has informed the House Budget Committee that it won’t meet budget deadline. Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told Paul Ryan (R-WI) that they will miss the deadline of February 4, as required by law, for sending a budget to Congress.

In the letter, Zients said the administration is “working diligently on our budget request.” The letter blames the late passage of the “fiscal cliff” deal for the delay because tax and spending issues were nor resolved until Jan. 2, the administration was forced to delay some of the budget’s FY 2014 budget preparations which in turn will delay the budget’s submission to Congress.

Ho hum. Under the law the deadline for submitting a budget is the first Monday in February, but has managed to meet the deadline only once. The act of submitting a budget is supposed to start the congressional budgeting process, but that’s  not going too well either.  The Senate last passed a budget resolution in 2009. (Yes, Harry Reid, 4 years ago!)

Major Garrett asked President Obama in his press conference today:

“As you well know, sir, finding votes for the debt ceiling can sometimes be complicated. You yourself as a member of the Senate voted against a debt ceiling increase. And in previous aspects of American history, President Reagan in 1985, President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1990, President Clinton in 1997 … all signed deficit reduction deals that were contingent upon or in the context of raising the debt ceiling. You yourself four times have done that; three times those were related to deficit reduction or budget maneuvers.

“What [NBC's Chuck Todd] and I think many people are curious about is this new adamant desire on your part not to negotiate when that seems to conflict with the entire history in the modern era of American presidents in the debt ceiling and your own history on the debt ceiling. And doesn’t that suggest that we are going to go into a default situation, because no one is talking to each other about how to resolve this?”

President Obama responded:

“But what you’ve never seen is the notion that has been presented so far at least by the Republicans that deficit reduction will only count spending cuts, that we will raise the deficit … or the debt ceiling dollar-for-dollar on spending cuts. There are a whole set of rules that have been established that are impossible to meet without doing severe damage to the economy. And so what we’re not going to do is put ourselves in a position where in order to pay for spending that we’ve already incurred, that our two options are; we’re either going to profoundly hurt the economy, and hurt middle-class families, and hurt seniors, and hurt kids who are trying to go to college, or alternatively we’re going to blow up the economy. We’re not going to do that.

“If we want to have a conversation about how to reduce our deficit, let’s have that. We’ve been having that for the last two years. We just had an entire campaign about it. And by the way, the American people agreed with me, that we should reduce our deficits in a balanced way, that also takes into account the need for us to grow this economy, and put people back to work.”

Oh yes, cutting spending would hurt the poor, seniors, middle class families. Reducing spending will lead to” blowing up the economy.”

We just had an entire campaign about how to reduce the deficit? No, we did not. The Republican had an entire campaign about how to reduce the deficit. The Democrats had an entire campaign about attacking Mitt Romney.

There were too separate and distinct campaigns, and the Democrat campaign did not include any discussion of Obama’s plans for the next four years, or the deficit, or the debt, or how to put people back to work, or how to help the economy to recover. The Democrats’ campaign was about what a perfectly awful person Mitt Romney was, which was amazingly strange, since Mitt Romney was probably the candidate for the presidency who was not only completely qualified, but who was a truly good man, in every sense of the word.

Funny, I was at the Ophthalmologist today (light blogging — can’t see) and looking through the old magazines. One was TIME from earlier last year, which wondered why when the economy was recovering, was the recovery so wimpy? The economy is not recovering. What appear to be lower rates of unemployment are not because the size of the workforce is cratering because so many people have stopped looking for work. Record high welfare recipients from Medicaid to food stamps to disability claims. Weak consumer spending, weak economic growth, rising consumer costs, lower household net worth, and our national credit-rating has been downgraded.

The Keynesian “multiplier effect” of government spending  didn’t work in the 1930s, didn’t work in the 1970s, and didn’t work again in 2009-2010. Trillions of dollars of spending every year have not led to economic growth or job creating. The president is not willing to acknowledge that. Economic recovery comes from private sector spending, and this president has done nothing to give the private sector an incentive to spend.

So there we are. He wants another new credit card. Should we give him one?




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