Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Debt and the President

President Obama has made it clear that he expects Congress to raise the debt limit without any restrictions. There will be no deals tying a debt increase to long-term cuts. He is supposed to have warned House Republicans that if the debt limit hasn't been raised by his State of the Union speech, he will use it to denounce them.

When it is pointed out to him that he voted against an increase while a senator, Obama gets testy and insists that the election was all about this and adds, "And by the way, the American people agreed with me."

He is wrong on this but it does not matter. He campaigned on making some cuts while raising taxes on the rich. He did not get much more specific than that because he did not want to be tied to election promises. Now he is using that vagueness to insist that the election gives him a mandate for anything he wants.

He will never be on a ballot again which is why it does not matter. He will not have to answer to the voters for his actions. In the meantime he has convinced himself that his reelection gives him blanket approval.

He is mistaken about a couple of other things, also. He seems to be convinced that the fight over spending is about him. He has taken a policy and personalized it. In his mind, if you complain about the massive debt you are attacking him.

And he seems to think that the debt doesn't matter. Either that or he recognizes that it has to be addressed but does not want to be known as the president who cut Social Security.

Obama will get what he wants for the same reason that he could vote against the debt limit increase when he was in Congress. He knows that the Republicans will do the responsible thing. He has already shown that he is willing to destroy the world's economy in order to get his way and he knows that the Republicans will not do this.

He refuses to come up with a Plan B. If he had one he might be forced to use it. Instead he wants an all-or-nothing deal. He also knows that the Republicans will get blamed if the debt ceiling is not raised.

The problem is that the debt is dangerously high and projected spending on entitlements needs to be addressed as soon as possible. It looks like it will be at least four years before anyone in the White House is willing to admit this.

No comments: