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.
Essentially, that was his message Monday in a full-court press of Republicans in Congress for having the temerity to suggest that before we raise the debt ceiling by another $2 trillion, maybe we should begin discussing how to reduce spending, how to shrink our monstrous national debt, and how the government must begin living within its means.
With the government debt soaring toward $17 trillion — and likely to skyrocket to $25 trillion by the end of Mr. Obama’s second term — if this isn’t the time to map out a plan to bring down spending, when is?
The president says that moment will come after the debt ceiling is raised, and not before. But Republicans and taxpayers have bought into Mr. Obama’s flimflam promises before and have come up empty-handed when budget-making time rolled around.
The president knows he can depend on the Democratic majority in the Senate, which has been a black hole where GOP House budgets disappear, never to be seen again.
House Republicans have sent over budgets to slow the growth in spending, and each time Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has tossed them into the wastebasket. It is not widely known by most Americans, but we’ve been without a budget for the past three years because the Senate has refused to adopt a formal budget resolution. Mr. Reid says we don’t need one.
Living within one’s means requires making a budget and sticking to it. Families do it. States do it. But when was the last time you heard Mr. Obama call on Congress to send him a budget? He seems to be happy without one.
Why not? It’s allowed Mr. Obama and the Democrats to engage in their favorite fiscal pastime: deficit spending.
They’ve been on a historically unprecedented spending binge since 2009, and here are the budget deficits over the past four years to prove it: $1.4 trillion in 2009; $1.3 trillion in 2010; $1.3 trillion in 2011; and an estimated $1.2 trillion in 2012, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This year’s budget deficit, according to CBO, is on track to come in at $1.1 trillion.
If you are counting, this adds $6.3 trillion to our national debt, yet Mr. Obama says the debt ceiling debate isn’t the appropriate time to talk about budget cutting.
House Speaker John A. Boehner doesn’t see it that way. “The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time,” he said Monday in response to Mr. Obama’s attacks on the GOP. “The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so, too, are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved.”
That sounds pretty reasonable to me. But it was clear from Mr. Obama’s combative remarks Monday, with disturbing illusions of hostage-taking, ransom demands and “a gun at the head of the American people,” that he’s looking for a political fight, that his campaign isn’t over, and that this is the way he’s going to govern for the next four years.
He repeated his annoying re-election boast, which he’s made quite often since Election Day, that “the American people agreed with me.”
“So [the Republicans] got a particular view of what government should do and should be. And, you know, that view was rejected by the American people.”
The American people also voted to keep the House in Republican hands by a decisive margin. Don’t they have a say in this, too? Apparently, Mr. Obama doesn’t think so.