Its seems as though politicians these days, on both sides of the isle, have become less and less articulate. Perhaps it’s because they have less and less good things to say… Anyway, Obama gave another speech yesterday concerning the national debt and, as you can expect, lots of stuff came out of his mouth without actually saying much. Whenever I could make out something of meaning, it either didn’t matter or he was chiding politicians on both sides of the isle. And he blamed the American people a few times for good measure.
So far, the speech has been called, “Excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate and hopelessly inadequate.” And Obama has been accused of “making [it] up.” Both of which are probably true. Of course, the accuracy of what Obama said wouldn’t matter if we just listen to Pelosi who tell us, “elections shouldn’t matter as much.” One the worst cases of Aesop’s fox I’ve seen yet.
Ironically enough, Obama blamed the present crisis on the Baby Bloomers and lowered taxes. Claiming those things to be how this “fiscal challenge was created.” He never mentioned the bank failures, Fannie and Freddie, or even the actual debt (avoiding the problem?) Mr. let’s-just-cut-0.86% also says that trying to solve the problem by cutting foreign aid is ridiculous because it’s “only 1% of our entire budget.” Our President then moves to castigate Republican attempts to whittle away the deficit, which would (according to Obama) cut $4 trillion over the next ten years. That’s about 400 billion a year, still peanuts.
Obama’s solution to these “terrible” ideas the Republicans have? Cut $4 Trillion over the next twelve years… Yes, that should do it. That makes a difference. That’s reasonable… That’s much, much better than that awful plan from the Republicans! They think ten years? Are they crazy? Twelve years that’s what reasonable people do.
But that’s not all that Obama thinks makes plan better, he says that Republicans are cutting all the wrong stuff: “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. … These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America we believe in.” Who are these “we” people anyway? And I can tell you, if the Republicans were really doing all that, I’d be throwing a party. But I’m not. I’m having a cow.
To say that Congress spends like drunken sailors is an insult to drunken sailors.” -Ronald Reagan
The difference between congressmen and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors are spending their own money.” -Rep. Tom Feeney
Whoops! I don’t know how those got in there… Back to the commentary:
What the Republicans are doing, as John Derbyshire said, is “pretty tame stuff.” Even more tame now that we’ve found out that they haven’t even cut the $38 billion we thought they did. The most controversial budget is Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan. Some people are really freaking out because they think the plan is radical or involves “voodoo” economics.
Ryan wants to return the deficit to pre-2008 levels, you know, back to when we still had a huge problem. And the other parts that sound pretty good are either being implemented much too late (2022) or is using the same nebulous standards that have failed Republicans in years past.
Thus, in the face of ignorant, ineffective and microscopic solutions to a capacious debt problem, I offer you the official Radio Derb (John Derbyshire), and official The Simple Facts approved, budget proposal:
- Raise Social Security eligibility age to 75 immediately.
- Stop government funding for any medical procedure not available in 1975. (These first two proposals are collectively known as the 75-75 entitlement reform.) Look, things were [okay] in 1975. Most people lived as long as they wanted to.
- Ban all Medicaid to non-citizens, including all members of all households headed by non-citizens.
- Abolish the IRS. Replace with flat national sales tax.
- Immediately repatriate all military personnel based overseas other than embassy guards and those supporting naval ports of call in friendly nations.
- Secure the nation’s borders and expel all illegal residents.
- Cut legal immigration from the current nearly two million to the 23,500 recommended on the Comprehensive Immigration Reduction website, www.cireduction.com.
- Shut down the following federal departments: Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Veterans’ Affairs, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security. Where necessary, transfer essential functions to other departments, e.g. veterans’ affairs to Defense… [S]hut down the Department of Agriculture, too. If it can be proved to perform any useful functions, which I doubt, transfer them to the Department of Commerce. Agriculture’s a form of commerce, isn’t it?
- End all foreign aid. Reduce all embassy establishments by eighty percent, and close all consulates. If Johnny Turk wants a U.S. visa, let him go to his capital city for it.
- Abrogate all treaties with Indian tribes and sell their reservation lands back to them at one dollar per square mile. Sorry about Wounded Knee and so on, but it’s time you were just citizens like the rest of us. If U.S. citizenship isn’t good enough for you, go find some other country to live in.
- Shut down the Justice Department office of Civil Rights. They are nothing but sowers of discord. Everybody in the U.S.A. has full civil rights. We have a black president, for crying out loud.” –The Radio Derb budget proposal, April 8, 2011
That sounds more like it. Shutting down all those departments (the biggest part) isn’t just and opinion held by John Derbyshire, his position is supported by some of the most knowledgeable men from Economics and academia. Including Economics Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman. This is a solution. It’s not radical, it’s reasonable and supportable. And it’s about time.
No budget cuts at this point are matters of opinion. They’re a simple fact. The only real room for debate is when to cut, not whether to cut. We are in debt we can’t go on like this. And yet politicians continue to ignore the magnanimity of the problem. As T.S. Eliot said, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” Well, maybe Eliot has it backwards too…
Obama demonstrated in his speech last night that he is not interested in solving the problem, only appearing to solve the problem. He said, “Politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse.” Um, if you’re not cutting waste or abuse then what do you plan to cut Mr. President? You’ve already got the Pentagon crying, “Uncle!”
Our President also said that as a nation we value “fairness.” He never defined fairness, and never mentioned any values like “freedom.” He went on and on about how our investments in education, college, bla, bla, are a critical part of being “American.”
The entire speech was a paradox: First, he would say that the debt is a big deal and that he’s going to fix it soon, then he’d berate attempts to cut the debt and then he’d slide in some rhetoric about “the kind of America we want” wiggling his eyebrow towards the whole “invest in America” thing. By the end he sounded like a confused government official who thought that he could solve its debt problems and give everyone what they wanted at the same time. National Review‘s Victor Davis Hanson properly identified the speech as Obama vs. Obama. He isn’t “leading” us anywhere, we’re going in circles. I’ve seen this movie before and it wasn’t any good the first time.
Some, clawing for optimism, look at what the Republicans are trying to do and call it a “start.” But I don’t want it to begin, I want it to end. How do we get it to end? Well, that would require articulate Republicans.