0bama’s entire speech last night was one lie piled on top of another — apparently even to the point of his saying that the income tax is voluntary. Let’s go through some of his speech:
See — the first words out of his mouth. It WAS a good evening until he took over the airwaves.
Tonight, I want to talk about the debate we’ve been having in Washington over the national debt – a debate that directly affects the lives of all Americans.
For the last decade, we have spent more money than we take in. In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus. But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card.
That’s news to me. I thought the FY2000 surplus WAS spent to pay down the debt. The tax cuts and wars did not come until a couple of years later. Nevermind that, after 2003 (the war buildup) the annual deficit as a percentage of GDP was going DOWN, and was down to 1.4% before the Democrats took control of Congress, triggered a recession, and increased the deficit to over 10% of GDP in just two years.
An expensive prescription drug program? True, but just about the only social program to come in under budget. I have not heard any liberal — including 0bama — recommend ending it. In fact, they just made it more expensive by closing the “doughnut hole.” Nevermind that 0bama just blew trumped that with 0bamacare.
As a result, the deficit was on track to top $1 trillion the year I took office. To make matters worse, the recession meant that there was less money coming in, and it required us to spend even more – on tax cuts for middle-class families; on unemployment insurance; on aid to states so we could prevent more teachers and firefighters and police officers from being laid off. These emergency steps also added to the deficit.
Uh, no. True, the Democrats in Congress had already exploded the deficit by profligate spending and by triggering the recession, but that did not REQUIRE the feral government to spend more. The only tax cuts for the middle class that I know of occurred just this year, with the reduction of the FICA taxes. Unemployment insurance still has a surplus in its Trust Fund. And there is absolutely no Constitutional authority for Congress to give the States money for teachers, firefighters, and police officers.
Now, every family knows that a little credit card debt is manageable. But if we stay on the current path, our growing debt could cost us jobs and do serious damage to the economy. More of our tax dollars will go toward paying off the interest on our loans. Businesses will be less likely to open up shop and hire workers in a country that can’t balance its books. Interest rates could climb for everyone who borrows money – the homeowner with a mortgage, the student with a college loan, the corner store that wants to expand. And we won’t have enough money to make job-creating investments in things like education and infrastructure, or pay for vital programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Is this the right speech? Isn’t 0bama supposed to be advocating for an increase in the debt limit? Here he is making the case AGAINST raising the limit.
Because neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this problem, both parties have a responsibility to solve it. And over the last several months, that’s what we’ve been trying to do. I won’t bore you with the details of every plan or proposal, but basically, the debate has centered around two different approaches.
But it sure would be nice if you at least told us what YOUR plan is, Mr. 0bama. What cuts are you willing to make NOW — not ten years out? Defense? Anything else? I thought not.
The first approach says, let’s live within our means by making serious, historic cuts in government spending. Let’s cut domestic spending to the lowest level it’s been since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Let’s cut defense spending at the Pentagon by hundreds of billions of dollars. Let’s cut out the waste and fraud in health care programs like Medicare – and at the same time, let’s make modest adjustments so that Medicare is still there for future generations. Finally, let’s ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to give up some of their tax breaks and special deductions.
This balanced approach asks everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much. It would reduce the deficit by around $4 trillion and put us on a path to pay down our debt. And the cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping small business and middle-class families get back on their feet right now.
ASK? So, Mr. 0bama, do you mean the income tax really is voluntary? Do you mean that the tax forms are really just a request, and we don’t have to actually pay the amount on the bottom line? Oh, that’s just for Mr. Geithner, and the rest of us have to pay. Rats.
This approach is also bipartisan. While many in my own party aren’t happy with the painful cuts it makes, enough will be willing to accept them if the burden is fairly shared. While Republicans might like to see deeper cuts and no revenue at all, there are many in the Senate who have said “Yes, I’m willing to put politics aside and consider this approach because I care about solving the problem.” And to his credit, this is the kind of approach the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, was working on with me over the last several weeks.
So, was the run-up of the deficit done in a “balanced” way? No. There were no tax cuts that ran up the deficit. The tax cuts came in 2001, and the deficit DROPPED from 2003 to 2006. Then the Democrats took Congress and racked up the spending.
The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a cuts-only approach – an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all. And because nothing is asked of those at the top of the income scales, such an approach would close the deficit only with more severe cuts to programs we all care about – cuts that place a greater burden on working families.
There’s that ASKING again. Apparently, 0bama learned the meaning of the word on the Chicago streets, where thugs “ask” for your money while pointing a gun at your head.
So the debate right now isn’t about whether we need to make tough choices. Democrats and Republicans agree on the amount of deficit reduction we need. The debate is about how it should be done. Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask corporate jet owners and oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get. How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries? How can we slash funding for education and clean energy before we ask people like me to give up tax breaks we don’t need and didn’t ask for?
Hang on a minute. Didn’t 0bama put that corporate jet deduction into his “stimulus” bull bill? (Another bit of newspeak — a deduction written into law is a “loophole.”) Medicare does not belong to the senior citizens. It is paid for by their children and grandchildren. So, why don’t we cut out the middleman (the feral government), and just have the children and grandchildren pay for their parents’ and grandparents’ medical care?
I will say I agree about the hedge fund managers — they take their income as a percentage of the investments of their clients, and it is taxed at the capital gains rate — but that is really such a small amount of money.
If a college education and clean energy were worth the cost, people would be willing to pay for them, and the government would not see the need to subsidize them. Therefore, the government should not be subsidizing them.
That’s not right. It’s not fair. We all want a government that lives within its means, but there are still things we need to pay for as a country – things like new roads and bridges; weather satellites and food inspection; services to veterans and medical research.
Those are not the things driving the deficit, either. It’s not paying people to work that is the problem, but paying people who have not earned it.
Keep in mind that under a balanced approach, the 98% of Americans who make under $250,000 would see no tax increases at all. None. In fact, I want to extend the payroll tax cut for working families.
That’s balanced? How is almost half of the population paying no federal income tax “balanced”? Reminds me of Dennis the Menace: “Eleventy-one carrot and one little piece of meat, and you call this a balanced meal?!”
What we’re talking about under a balanced approach is asking Americans whose incomes have gone up the most over the last decade – millionaires and billionaires – to share in the sacrifice everyone else has to make. And I think these patriotic Americans are willing to pitch in. In fact, over the last few decades, they’ve pitched in every time we passed a bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit.
Sure, if they were willing, they would be doing already. There is a website where one can contribute to pay down the debt. It gets about $3M each year. That’s about 10 cents for every 0bama voter. They must really want higher taxes.
The first time a deal passed, a predecessor of mine made the case for a balanced approach by saying this:
“Would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share, or would you rather accept larger budget deficits, higher interest rates, and higher unemployment? And I think I know your answer.”
Those words were spoken by Ronald Reagan. But today, many Republicans in the House refuse to consider this kind of balanced approach – an approach that was pursued not only by President Reagan, but by the first President Bush, President Clinton, myself, and many Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate. So we are left with a stalemate.
As I said, it was not a balanced run-up of the deficit — it was profligate spending.
Now, what makes today’s stalemate so dangerous is that it has been tied to something known as the debt ceiling – a term that most people outside of Washington have probably never heard of before.
You poor ignoramuses. Don’t worry, Uncle Barry will take care of you. All you have to do is let him rack up more debt on your account, and everything will be fine.
Understand – raising the debt ceiling does not allow Congress to spend more money.
Yes, it does.
It simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up.
No, it allows the country to rack up more debt to give money to people who don’t earn it.
In the past, raising the debt ceiling was routine.
There is nothing routine about deficits running over 10% of GDP, total debt near 100% of GDP, and borrowing 40% of every dollar we spend.
Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every President has signed it. President Reagan did it 18 times. George W. Bush did it 7 times. And we have to do it by next Tuesday, August 2nd, or else we won’t be able to pay all of our bills.
You lie like a dog. We will be able to pay our bills. It’s paying the bills of people who don’t earn the money that we cannot do any longer. It’s time for the Welfare State to die, before it destroys this country.
Unfortunately, for the past several weeks, Republican House members have essentially said that the only way they’ll vote to prevent America’s first-ever default is if the rest of us agree to their deep, spending cuts-only approach.
There’s that Default Lie again. Not funding the Welfare State is not a default. A default is not paying your debts. If we don’t get the spending under control, we will default, because we will eventually be unable to service the debt.
If that happens, and we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills – bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.
There is plenty of money for all of those things.
For the first time in history, our country’s Triple A credit rating would be downgraded, leaving investors around the world to wonder whether the United States is still a good bet.
If you ran a credit rating agency, would you downgrade the creditor who stops his profligate spending when he hits his credit limit but still services his debts, or the one who takes out another credit card so he can keep spending?
Interest rates would skyrocket on credit cards, mortgages, and car loans, which amounts to a huge tax hike on the American people. We would risk sparking a deep economic crisis – one caused almost entirely by Washington.
Really? The feral government borrows over $100B every month. If that stops, those investors will have to find somewhere else to invest. With another $100B each month looking for loans to make, interest rates will go down, not up.
Defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate.
Then don’t do it. Service the debt, and pay the employees and contractors. There is plenty of money for that, and no default.
And Republican leaders say that they agree we must avoid default. But the new approach that Speaker Boehner unveiled today, which would temporarily extend the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, would force us to once again face the threat of default just six months from now. In other words, it doesn’t solve the problem.
The problem is solved by not raising the debt limit at all.
First of all, a six-month extension of the debt ceiling might not be enough to avoid a credit downgrade and the higher interest rates that all Americans would have to pay as a result. We know what we have to do to reduce our deficits; there’s no point in putting the economy at risk by kicking the can further down the road.
What? You want the can kicked past the next election!
But there’s an even greater danger to this approach. Based on what we’ve seen these past few weeks, we know what to expect six months from now. The House will once again refuse to prevent default unless the rest of us accept their cuts-only approach. Again, they will refuse to ask the wealthiest Americans to give up their tax cuts or deductions. Again, they will demand harsh cuts to programs like Medicare. And once again, the economy will be held captive unless they get their way.
Except for the whole raising the debt limit, what’s the downside? More cuts is a good thing.
That is no way to run the greatest country on Earth. It is a dangerous game we’ve never played before, and we can’t afford to play it now. Not when the jobs and livelihoods of so many families are at stake. We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare.
0bama wants to run it into the ground by heaping loads more debt on until we have to default.
Congress now has one week left to act, and there are still paths forward. The Senate has introduced a plan to avoid default, which makes a down payment on deficit reduction and ensures that we don’t have to go through this again in six months.
I think that’s a much better path, although serious deficit reduction would still require us to tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform. Either way, I have told leaders of both parties that they must come up with a fair compromise in the next few days that can pass both houses of Congress – a compromise I can sign. And I am confident we can reach this compromise. Despite our disagreements, Republican leaders and I have found common ground before. And I believe that enough members of both parties will ultimately put politics aside and help us make progress.
What a leader. He doesn’t present a plan himself, he tells others to create a compromise he can sign. He has proposed no cuts, and any cuts will not be immediate (except maybe the military).
I realize that a lot of the new members of Congress and I don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But we were each elected by some of the same Americans for some of the same reasons. Yes, many want government to start living within its means. And many are fed up with a system in which the deck seems stacked against middle-class Americans in favor of the wealthiest few. But do you know what people are fed up with most of all?
They’re fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word. They work all day long, many of them scraping by, just to put food on the table. And when these Americans come home at night, bone-tired, and turn on the news, all they see is the same partisan three-ring circus here in Washington. They see leaders who can’t seem to come together and do what it takes to make life just a little bit better for ordinary Americans. They are offended by that. And they should be.
We are offended by your lies.
The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government.
Yeah, we kinda did. The less the government functions, the better off the people are.
So I’m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your Member of Congress know. If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message.
You’re not talking about reducing the deficit, but about getting us more into debt.
America, after all, has always been a grand experiment in compromise. As a democracy made up of every race and religion, where every belief and point of view is welcomed, we have put to the test time and again the proposition at the heart of our founding: that out of many, we are one. We have engaged in fierce and passionate debates about the issues of the day, but from slavery to war, from civil liberties to questions of economic justice, we have tried to live by the words that Jefferson once wrote: “Every man cannot have his way in all things…Without this mutual disposition, we are disjointed individuals, but not a society.”
History is scattered with the stories of those who held fast to rigid ideologies and refused to listen to those who disagreed. But those are not the Americans we remember. We remember the Americans who put country above self, and set personal grievances aside for the greater good. We remember the Americans who held this country together during its most difficult hours; who put aside pride and party to form a more perfect union.
Seems to me that those who revolted against England had a rigid ideology, and would not listen to those that told them how dangerous revolution would be. Now, conservatives should hold to their ideology — and hold to it because those ideas are good ones. Do not raise the debt ceiling.
That’s who we remember. That’s who we need to be right now. The entire world is watching. So let’s seize this moment to show why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth – not just because we can still keep our word and meet our obligations, but because we can still come together as one nation. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
Let us show that we are the greatest nation on Earth by ending the spending binge now, while we can still service our debt, and not become the world’s largest bankrupt country. Who will bail us out?