The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Word of the Day: Sharing!

Posted on | April 13, 2011 | 11 Comments

Just as I predicted, Obama’s Big Deficit Speech was big on sharing:

As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. . . .
To meet this challenge [i.e., ballooning deficits], our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit. They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush and President Clinton; by Democratic Congresses and a Republican Congress. All three agreements asked for shared responsibility and shared sacrifice, but they largely protected the middle class, our commitments to seniors, and key investments in our future. . . .
The America I know is generous and compassionate; a land of opportunity and optimism. We take responsibility for ourselves and each other; for the country we want and the future we share. . . .
We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community.

We might point out that the “historic agreements” hailed by Obama were, in fact, just kicking the can down the road so far as the explosion of federal entitlement programs is concerned. Or we could talk about how it might be easier to care for these “fellow citizens with whom we share a community,” if Democrats did not insist on giving federal benefits to illegal aliens. But what really brought me up short was this sentence from the president’s speech:

There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires

Tax cuts are not “spending.”

Whoever wrote that sentence is looking at other people’s money as if a certain proportion of that money belonged to the government. Only from such a perspective is it “spending” to let people keep their own money.

Also, whoever wrote that sentence failed to take into account the Laffer Curve — whereby lowering tax rates can actually increase overall tax revenue — nor did the writer of that sentence demonstrate any cognizance of global competition for investment. The United States currently has corporate tax rates that are higher than rates in several of our international competitors. Why should global corporations create or expand U.S. operations, if such investments will cause them to pay higher taxes than if they invested in other countries?

Obama’s speechwriters don’t seem to think about such things. His speech was long on high-flown rhetoric about “sharing,” but short on specific details. It was a political speech, rather than a policy speech, and the whole point of it was to position Obama for his 2012 re-election campaign. Insofar as the president actually proposed any policy, the speech could be summed up with Ed Morrissey’s headline:

Obama’s solution to deficit:
spending, ObamaCare, and tax hikes

And as Ed says: “If it was possible to fail to meet the already-low expectations set for this speech beforehand, Obama managed to do it. . . . It’s almost impossible to present a substantive criticism of the proposal because it contains nothing substantive, an impression that more and more people have of this White House.”

Nice Deb calls it Obama’s “tax the rich” speech, but isn’t that true of every Obama speech? The Lonely Conservative summarizes it: “Blame Bush, Lie, Avoid Responsibility, Scare People and Vilify Republicans and Rich Folks.” Again, isn’t that pretty much every Obama speech?

As a president, Obama is a damn good candidate. But governing is not campaigning, and his constant attempts to substitute campaign rhetoric for actual policy proposals is at the core of his failure as president.

And it’s become so predictable as to be boring, which might explain why Joe Biden nodded off during the speech:

UPDATE: Herman Cain calls Obama’s speech “all talk, no leadership.”


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