American Elephants


Playing Chess With the American Economy. by The Elephant's Child

As the budget battle begins, I suggested that President Obama is engaged in a deeply cynical game to trap Republicans into making deep cuts in the budget, which he will veto — after portraying Republicans as the mean, nasty people liberals have always known them to be.  Obama is betting that Republicans will cut things that can be portrayed as hurting people who are already struggling to make ends meet, As I said:

Obama is betting that Republican reforms will scare people.  He has often demonstrated his lack of respect for either the knowledge or education levels of the American people.  He is betting that people will be unable to follow the arguments in the budget battle, be  bewildered by the big numbers, and easy to influence with his speeches about how Republican reforms will harm them and damage the nation.  Swaying public opinion is right up his alley.

Is Obama right?  Are the American people too poorly informed to understand the dire situation of our national debt, the impending disaster of a government that cannot stop overspending? Obama has tried to show how serious he is about cutting back — he has cut back on home heating oil assistance to the poor, and community block grants. Chris Matthews was outraged, and Obama is supporting tax cuts for the rich. Criticism from the right and criticism from the left, see how centrist Obama is?

Obama held a press conference on Monday, a shockingly dishonest one.  Read it yourself with a sharp pencil to point out the complete nonsense.  Here’s how he started out:

Just like every family in America, the federal government has to do two things at once.  It has to live within its means while still investing in the future.  If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, you might put off a vacation.  But you wouldn’t want to sacrifice saving for your kids’ college education or making key repairs in your house. So you cut back on what you can’t afford to focus on what you can’t do without.

A family struggling to get by is sacrificing a lot more than Obama suggests.  The savings are gone and the repairs will have to wait.  In a way, it was a deeply revealing statement. He simply does not grasp either the situation of real people or the reality of government spending. His budget adds $8.7 trillion in spending over the next decade. The hard-working deficit commission recommended reducing the deficit by $4 trillion. The president wasn’t interested.

Nothing has changed. It’s still all Bush’s fault.  That Obama managed to triple the debt in just 2 years has nothing to do with Obama. America is going to be transformed by Obama’s visionary green energy policy which will make us energy independent, offer millions of jobs working in the new green energy industries, and free us from the worry of global warming and the need to purchase foreign oil. Is he so sheltered that he does not know about the experience of other countries?  Does he simply dismiss the work of scientists and engineers who have proved that his policies won’t work?  Is he simply unaware of dissenting voices? Is he simply a man who knows that there is a herd of unicorns out there, and they’re probably just around the next hill?

Rasmussen today reports that “Most voters don’t think President Obama’s proposed $3.7 trillion federal budget includes enough spending cuts, and despite House Republican plans to cut substantially more, a plurality of voters don’t think the GOP goes far enough either.”  55% of likely voters say that the president’s budget proposal cuts too little.  26% say it is about right, and 10% think it cuts too much.  51% of Republicans say the changes proposed by GOP legislators cut too little, a view shared by 41% of voters not affiliated with either party.

Most voters continue to feel that cutting taxes and reducing government spending are best for the economy.  Only 60% of American recognize that 1954 was the last year that overall government spending declined from one year to the next.

I don’t know that ordinary people have a lot of understanding when you start dealing with billions and trillions.  Most of us don’t cope with that many zeroes in our checkbooks. We know what it means, but we just have trouble grasping a trillion.  Americans are blessed with a fair amount of common sense, and they learn a lot by dealing with their own family budgets.  They may make mistakes, but they are uncommonly sensible.

Republicans will come up with real budget cuts.  They have to— the situation is dire. Obama will veto, attempting to get the Republicans to shut the government down. Obama already signaled his plans in the press conference.  “It is important to make sure that we don’t try to make a series of symbolic cuts this year that could endanger the recovery.”  “If the steps we take…prompt thousands of layoffs in state or local government.” …”of being too loose in terms of talking about a government shutdown…People don’t get their Social Security checks.  They don’t get their veterans payments.”

As it appears so far, the public wants a more financially healthy country.  But when governors tell union members that they have to start paying a small percentage of the cost of their health insurance( far less than people pay in the private sector), you have a lot of angry union members.  Will Americans accept a little pain now or insist on waiting for catastrophe? And do they know that catastrophe awaits?




%d bloggers like this: