Mr. Obama lied.  He does not want a bipartisan debate about how to reduce our huge national debt (as he claimed on Wednesday).  What he wants is to be President for four more years.   Since he is already campaigning, he is afraid of losing control of the debate.  How do I know?  He told us on Wednesday in his speech at George Washington University.

Just Another Obama Campaign Speech

If he truly wanted a bipartisan debate, he would have congratulated the Republicans and especially Congressman Paul Ryan for the proposal they have put forward to cut about $6 Trillion from the deficit over the next ten years.  He would have said it contained a lot of good ideas and was worthy of consideration and debate. Instead, he said this:  One vision has been championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates.  It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.

Those are both worthy goals for us to achieve.  But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history.

A 70% cut to clean energy.  A 25% cut in education.  A 30% cut in transportation.  Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year.  That’s what they’re proposing.  These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget.  These aren’t the kind of cuts that Republicans and Democrats on the Fiscal Commission proposed.  These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America we believe in.  And they paint a vision of our future that’s deeply pessimistic.”

If he had wanted to work with the Republicans, he would not have lied about Mr. Ryan’s Plan.  He purposely stated it would cut $4 Trillion over the next ten years. He did that so his slight of hand would allow him to get away with saying that HIS proposal would cut $4 Trillion over the next 12 years.  He wanted it to sound like his plan was as good at cutting deficits but would do so without all the cuts that spare “rich people” while hurting the rest of us.  In fact the Ryan proposal targets $6 Trillion in reductions.

If he is not campaigning, why did he label Mr. Ryan’s plan as both flawed and “…embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates”?

If he truly wanted a bipartisan debate, he would have pointed to reasons for our debt that grew out of actions of members of both parties and some reasons beyond the control of either party.  Instead, he said this:  “But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed.  We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program – but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending.  Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts – tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.

To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our national checkbook, consider this:  in the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.

Of course, that’s not what happened.  And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that is now starting to take place.  When I took office, our projected deficit was more than $1 trillion.”

In other words, to encourage bipartisan debate, he states that the trouble we are in was caused by George Bush and the Republicans.  I’m sure that will get the Republicans in the mood to work with Mr. Obama and the Democrats.  Also, he invoked the favorite political tactic of demonizing “the rich,” and showing the real victims to be children with dreaded diseases.  That sort of posturing will also make working with Republicans more difficult.   As an aside, for such an eloquent man, it is puzzling what he meant by saying, “….our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.” Currently or in coming years?  Is this double-speak intentional so he can’t be tied down to his statements?

Mr. Obama was not in the least interested, in December, when his Deficit Reduction Commission proposed deep cuts.  He proved it, not by just ignoring their report, but, by offering a 2012 budget proposal that projected a one year addition to the deficit of $1.6 Trillion.  He only became interested in cutting the deficit when it became politically expedient to respond to the Ryan Budget Proposal.  His speech on Wednesday was more about campaigning for President than it was about reducing the deficit.  He is nothing if not a politician.  He even called himself one in his speech when he said, “And without even looking at a poll, my finely honed political skills tell me that almost no one believes they should be paying higher taxes.” (bold emphasis is mine).

What he says is politically motivated and is not necessarily in line with what he believes or does.  Or, it at least it looks that way.  Want an example?  Here are Mr. Obama’s thoughts on the debt limit in 2006, when he voted against increasing the debt ceiling (a view with which I agree):

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

In 2007 and in 2008, when the Senate voted to increase the limit by $850 billion and $800 billion respectively, Obama did not bother to vote. (He did vote for TARP, which increased the debt limit by $700 billion.)  Because it was the Republicans who wanted to hold back on raising the debt ceiling this year, he was, obviously for political reasons, opposed to what the Republicans wanted and in favor of increasing our debt.

My conclusion is that we need to pay little or no attention to what Mr. Obama says while we look at what he has done and what he is actually doing now.

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