A recent Rasmussen poll found that 7 of 10 Americans want our government to reduce spending – not slow it down – reduce. 62% would prefer across –the-board cuts. They understand the consequences of our unsustainable spending binge. However, only a little more than 40% believe it will happen – and with good reason. Democrat leadership, including President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid and Nancy Pelosi all claim there is no spending problem. I can’t attest to the intelligence of Reid or Pelosi. Their public pronouncements do not inspire confidence, both have become millionaires in public office – Reid has been implicated in shady land deals, Pelosi the moving force behind legislation that has enhanced both her and her husband’s wealth. But the president is known to be an intelligent man. So, he must understand what nearly every economist in the country understands – that our country is headed for financial Armageddon. But, he has made it plain that he does not intend to slow down the spending. That means he either has no common sense to go with his intelligence, or he is so ideologically rigid that he doesn’t care.
Just as during his re-election campaign, during which he avoided debating the economic condition by making his campaign about everything but the economy, Mr. Obama is using the same tactic in the coming fight over raising the debt ceiling. He, and a complicit, fawning media, wants us to believe it’s about paying our debts. It is not. The debt ceiling debate is essentially about borrowing. Without an increase in the ceiling there can be no borrowing for greater spending.
Mr. Obama and his cohorts say that, without a higher ceiling (he wants it to be unlimited) the country will default on its debt. Actually, there is enough revenue coming into government coffers monthly to cover 60% of current spending. The argument is about the 40% that we are borrowing. Those revenues must be spent, first, to cover the interest payments on the national debt – about $200 billion a year right now – and government owed pensions. That is required by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (a document Liberals find to be very inconvenient). The rest would be required to cover “essential “government services. Other debt would have to be delayed or shuffled as revenue came in, but that does not mean that unfilled contracts could not be cancelled and non-essential personnel furloughed.
Mr. Obama also claims that there is no way spending can be cut without damaging the economy or reducing services. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just put the lie to that claim, releasing a report detailing $4.6 trillion in optional cuts that will not hurt either the economy or services. A small sample (ten year savings): raise the earliest eligibility age for Social Security ($142 billion), limit highway funding to expected highway revenues ($86 billion), adopt a voucher plan for federal employees health benefits program ($73 billion), limit medical malpractice lawsuits ($64 billion), eliminate intercity rail subsidies ($30 billion). And the list goes on, ready for Congress to simply lift the suggestions from the report pages and transfer them to a bill. The CBO suggests that just cutting funding for all agencies, other than defense, by a mere one percent would save $932 billion over 10 years. I would venture to say that there is a minimum of 10% waste and fraud in any given government agency – the Education Department, alone, has dozens of programs that are duplicates. If a program fails, it isn’t shut down, a new one is begun. CBO goes on to suggest that a 1% reduction in just the growth in defense spending would save $862 Billion over 10 years.
So, the president could very easily satisfy Republican demands for spending cuts in exchange for a higher debt ceiling. But since his re-election, Mr. Obama has become even more confrontational, more inflexible and, yes, more arrogant in his dealings with his opposition. He has said that he has no intention of even negotiating with the House of Representatives – where all revenue bills must originate – on the issue of raising the debt ceiling. In regard to the election he says “I won, you lost.” It has apparently not fazed him that the voters returned the Republicans to the majority in the House. Perhaps he believes the election was not for president but for Emperor.