- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 5, 2009


The White House and some Democrats in Congress are now contemplating a bipartisan commission to tackle the deficit - not so bad an idea if something else is done pronto: Stop the spending craziness.

Stop the insane health bill, stop other spending inanities in the works, forget the absurdity of another stimulus package and do all of this with the courage, conviction and determination that the most meager sense of responsibility and the slightest understanding of the peril demand.

If President Obama doesn’t change soon, if he persists in his statist ambitions and wins the victories he hopes for, any commission will have so gargantuan a task as to make it a mouse nibbling on a mountain. Mr. Obama has already started building that mountain, adding a cool trillion to the deficit amount of the previous year, even as his high-cost initiatives to remedy economic mishap seem mostly mishaps themselves.

The ballyhooed stimulus bill turned out to be $800 billion of mostly misapplied pork misrepresented through outlandish, journalist-revealed fabrications as producing more jobs than it did. Meanwhile - as a matter of regrettable, provable fact - 4 million jobs have gone away this year, and unemployment has climbed to 10.2 percent.

All was going to be OK, Mr. Obama had said. But wait, he is saying it again, and again there is talk of another stimulus, and heaven help us.

This president did not create the bailout program, but his crew has administered it so poorly as to make it a joke. Remember Mr. Obama’s pledges of transparency? Why then is it that his Treasury Department has dispersed hundreds of billions without seeking to know how recipients have used the money, virtually assuring misuse?

The recession necessitated the bath in billions, some say, but that’s no excuse for a new health entitlement when the present Medicare entitlement has revenue prospects that are $38 trillion less than what it’s obliged to pay out. Mr. Obama’s central objectives could be met through budget-neutral means - shifting tax breaks from employers to individuals - but no one will do that. It’s too reasonable. Therefore, this presidential plan for national decline stays alive, something we supposedly have to do even if it kills us. And it just may.

There’s more to come, such as the plan with that cute name - cap and trade - which is really a plan to reduce economic output through expensive, complicated, bureaucratically engineered energy restraints when even the global warming fanatics have a hard time telling the lie that it would keep temperatures under control. But, you say, the world is behind this. Much of it is not, and just lately purloined e-mails have exposed an utter disdain for true scientific discourse by some prominent advocates of radical, non-availing, anti-warming measures.

The problems associated with all of this fiscal folderol have been well-rehearsed by critics. The national debt, we are told, could well increase in 10 years to an amount that can best be understood by breaking it down to what it comes to for each and every American: $50,000. At that point, interest payments on that debt become the bully-boy of the budget, increasing the total so much that other expenditures become less and less affordable. The cost of borrowing could go up astronomically, it is noted, and private funds for entrepreneurial innovation and business expansion could go poof.

What do you do then? Enact exorbitant taxes that further inhibit economic growth? Print money and cause inflation that wipes out everyone’s savings? Default on foreign debt like some Third World country?

So, OK, let’s have a commission that eases the way for pusillanimous politicians to restructure entitlements and undertake other voter-sensitive tasks if they will first do what’s necessary for such an effort to have a chance. Hey, they will if they are awake and care more about the country than their own careers. Why are you laughing?

Jay Ambrose is the former Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard.

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