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Obama's Real Problem|
January 11, 2013
President Obama says the government doesn’t have a spending problem. This is
like saying actress Lindsay Lohan doesn’t have an alcohol problem. It is the
epitome of narcissistic self-delusion. If Mr. Obama truly believes this, then
America is doomed to suffer national bankruptcy and economic collapse.
House Speaker John A. Boehner recently told The Wall Street Journal that in a
private meeting during negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” deal, the president
said, “We don’t have a spending problem.” Assuming Mr. Boehner is telling the
truth — and I have no reason to doubt him — then the American people have a real
problem on their hands: Mr. Obama is profoundly disconnected from reality.
The facts are obvious and stark. The country is going broke. Under Mr. Obama,
the national debt has soared to nearly $16.4 trillion. During his first four
years in office, he has piled up more debt than did all the presidencies from
George Washington to George H.W. Bush combined. He has presided over four
consecutive trillion-dollar-plus deficits — the highest in U.S. history. When
President George W. Bush left office, the national debt stood at $10.6 trillion.
By the Obama administration’s own budget estimates, the debt will continue to
skyrocket. It will hit $17.3 trillion by the end of the year. In 2022, it is
projected to be a whopping $25.9 trillion. We are drowning in an ocean of red
ink. America has achieved the unthinkable: We are the most indebted nation ever.
It is practically impossible to pay off this staggering level of public debt.
Liberals love to bash Mr. Bush. Their mantra is that Mr. Obama inherited a mess.
Hence, the president is not responsible for his fiscal recklessness and
unprecedented deficit spending. For liberal Democrats, it’s George W. Bush’s
fault: The expensive bill for two unfunded wars, a large tax cut benefiting
primarily the wealthy and a prescription drug benefit has come due. Mr. Obama is
simply paying — and unfairly being blamed — for it.
This argument has one seminal flaw: It’s false. Mr. Obama’s policies have driven
deficits and public spending to unprecedented peacetime heights. The government
now spends nearly 25 percent of gross domestic product — considerably higher
than the average post-World War II norm of 20 percent. Furthermore, the
president has created Obamacare.
It is the largest and most expensive entitlement program in 50 years. His
trillion-dollar economic stimulus, billions of dollars in green-energy
boondoggles, and an explosion in the use of food stamps, Social Security
disability and unemployment benefits have led to massive government expansion.
His goal is to erect a European-style social democracy. A bloated Franco-German
welfare state is not only interventionist, but it is also costly — way too
costly. It is the reason why Mr. Obama pushed for huge tax increases. He needs a
larger revenue stream to fund his social democratic agenda. It also means he
will need more tax hikes. The president ultimately is not interested in a
“balanced” approach to reduce deficits. He wants to entrench the entitlement
state, making it a permanent feature of American life. For him, big government
and big debt are necessary to compel higher taxes.
It’s time Mr. Boehner and congressional Republicans waged a frontal assault on
Mr. Obama’s welfare liberalism. The country’s very prosperity is at stake. The
House speaker should hold a press conference, surrounded by fellow Republicans,
and challenge Mr. Obama to publicly state what he says in private: America does
not have a spending problem. If the president genuinely believes this, then
voters have a right to know.
Mr. Obama’s comments open a window into his anti-American, socialist worldview. Either he
is a brazen liar who knows we are living beyond our means, or he is a
delusional, self-absorbed academic leftist who is so obsessed with
transformational change that he cannot see that we are sliding off a real fiscal
cliff. Whatever the reason, his presidency poses a mortal threat to the
republic’s long-term survival.
We are becoming the United States of Argentina — an economic basket case with
Third World debt levels. Mr. Obama’s tax-spend-and-borrow policy is stifling
growth, sparking inflation, fostering private-sector sclerosis and eroding the
middle class. Beyond out-of-control spending, America has a deeper problem: a
president who does not care — or understand — that his nation is committing
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a radio commentator in Boston
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