Tonight in "Dueling Banjos: Washington Edition," President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader John Boehner gave head-to-head speeches in primetime to address the debt ceiling impasse. Talks have broken down yet again, and it seems that now, more than ever, the two sides are irreconcilable.
The only problem: one side is grounded in reality, and the other side is based in pure fantasy.
President Obama spoke first, and the first question his speech brought to my mind was, how many lies does a President have to tell before it's no longer impolitic to call him a liar? The only time President Obama spoke the truth in his speech was when he was describing the gravity of the situation.
President Obama didn't bring anything new to the table. It was the same old class warfare, tax-the-rich hogwash that he's been spouting since his presidential campaign. He keeps repeating, over and over, that the rich need to "pay their fair share." The president's approach, however, completely ignores the fact that the "rich" whose taxes President Obama is so intent on increasing are already paying
for the vast majority of government spending - in 2008, the top ten percent of income earners covered 70 percent of federal revenues. Those in the bottom brackets that the Democrats are constantly pandering to covered a much smaller percentage - the bottom half of wage earners only covered about three percent of federal revenues. So Obama can quit the class warfare rhetoric: his vision or the rich paying for the poor is already upon us. In fact, according to factcheck.org
(using data from the Congressional Budget Office), in 2005, the top 1% of wage earners paid a higher percentage of the nation's taxes than they made of the nation's total wages.
If the Left can't concede that the rich are already paying their fare share, they never will - not, at least, until there aren't enough rich people left in America to fund their entitlement state.
Several parts of President Obama's speech were downright juvenile. He went so far as to quote Ronald Reagan - a petty attempt to make Republicans look bad. But the problem for Obama is that he isn't facing the same situation that Reagan was thirty years ago. The President who spent almost all of his recent State of the Union speech talking about how government will solve all of our problems and how we need to "invest" in our future through ever-increasing government spending would do well to remember President Reagan's better-known quote: "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is
And when it comes to the debt ceiling debate, the big government politicians are the problem.
President Obama's speech was filled with lie after lie, but ultimately, it was just the same old thing all over again: repeating the same old lies, hoping that if he repeats them often enough, they will be accepted as the truth.
I'm sure it won't surprise you to hear that I found Speaker Boehner's position much more in line with reality. President Obama loves to blame President Bush for his current problems, but the truth is, where Bush was bad, Obama is worse. The recession gave President Obama a convenient excuse to ratchet up government spending, but given the fact that a large number of President Obama's spending proposals, including his stimulus bill and the auto bail-out have been used to give kickbacks to the president's political allies, one must question just how much of President Obama's spending has truly been necessary. His administration loves to throw out how many jobs his stimulus bill "saved and created," and he has defended the spending by positing that the economy would be worse without his stimulus package, but neither claim can be quantified...which makes them the perfect excuses for President Obama - they can't be proven, but they can't be disproved, either.
The point that Obama cannot escape from is that he put forward a budget proposal...and his budget was roundly rejected by the Senate with absolutely no one voting in favor - not even a single member of his own party. The man who now wants to present himself as the grown-up who knows what's best drew bipartisan rejection
of his own financial plan for America, and no support whatsoever.
On the other hand, the Republicans put forward their own proposal, and the only problem the Democrats could find in Cut, Cap & Balance is that it doesn't raise taxes on the wealthy.
Personally, I don't think the GOP should even be proposing a new plan - and if Boehner has one fault, it's that he plays the Democrats' "bipartisanship" games a little too well. The Democrats have yet to prove that tax increases are necessary - after all, why should anyone give the government more money when they just keep wasting it? Government spending has been ever-increasing, with little or no accountability from the people. Cut, Cap & Balance brings that accountability. The spending cuts would help to reduce our deficit, the spending cap would keep spending to reasonable levels, and the balanced budget amendment would ensure that the government is held in check for future generations. The only real problem the Democrats had with Cut, Cap & Balance is that it solves the problem without playing their class warfare games & raising taxes
And that truly is the crux of it: the Democrats' proposals would raise taxes, but the cuts they propose would never be enough to solve anything. They sound like big numbers: a few billion here, a few billion there...but always amortized over ten years. The truth that the Democrats won't admit to is that any politician who proposes any cuts spread out over ten years isn't proposing real change. Today's Congress can propose cuts for the next Congress, and the Congress after that, and the Congress after that, but that doesn't mean they have to stick with those cuts.
That is why Cut, Cap & Balance is the best proposal to be put forward so far. Speaker Boehner is working on a proposal that he says fits the framework of Cut, Cap & Balance, and Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate are making their own adjustments, but CCB is the only proposal that makes sense, fixes the nation's problems, and doesn't play politics. That it was voted down by the Senate is now a sad part of American history: whatever compromise solution is put together between Boehner, McConnell, Reid and Pelosi will never measure up to Cut, Cap and Balance.
It's only sad that the Democrats have already sold out their nation in favor of political expediency.