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President Obama's 2010 federal budget request had a name. It was titled 'A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise.' I'm not kidding. The President actually promoted a budget with a designed annual deficit of well over a trillion dollars as A New Era Of Responsibility. I doubt even George Orwell ever dreamed up anything so Orwellian.
However, the Democrats DID have a plan for responsibility. They had legislation called Pay As You Go (PAYGO). This legislation required that federal expenditures be paid for rather than borrowed. Seeing as how this country is in debt to the tune of $13.1 TRILLION and counting, PAYGO sounded like a great idea, at minimum. President Obama signed the responsible PAYGO legislation into law in February 2010. For the record, PAYGO was also enacted in 1990, extended in 1993, extended again in 1997, expired in 2002, and was enacted again in 2007, prior to this new PAYGO enactment in 2010. Since the 1990 PAYGO enactment, the federal debt of the United States has risen by nearly $10 TRILLION, so you can clearly see how serious our politicians have been about Pay As You Go.
Here's what President Obama said in February 2010 about his New Era Of PAYGO Responsibility:
… what also made these large deficits possible was the end of a common sense rule called “pay as you go.” It’s pretty simple. It says to Congress, you have to pay as you go. You can’t spend a dollar unless you cut a dollar elsewhere. This is how a responsible family or business manages a budget. And this is how a responsible government manages a budget, as well.
It was this rule that helped lead to balanced budgets in the 1990s, by making clear that we could not increase entitlement spending or cut taxes simply by borrowing more money. [Da King here. The truth is, our federal debt rose by about $2.4 trillion during the 1990's when PAYGO was in effect] And it was the abandonment of this rule that allowed the previous administration and previous congresses to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and create an expensive new drug program without paying for any of it. Now in a perfect world, Congress would not have needed a law to act responsibly, to remember that every dollar spent would come from taxpayers today – or our children tomorrow.
But this isn’t a perfect world. This is Washington. And while in theory there is bipartisan agreement on moving on balanced budgets, in practice, this responsibility for the future is often overwhelmed by the politics of the moment. It falls prey to the pressure of special interests, to the pull of local concerns, and to a reality familiar to every single American – the fact that it is a lot easier to spend a dollar than save one.
That is why this rule is necessary. And that is why I am pleased that Congress fulfilled my request to restore it. Last night, I signed the “pay as you go” rule into law. Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.
Right on, Mr. President ! You go, girl ! I'm totally on board. Yes We Can ! Yes We Can ! That's the kind of leadership we need. Most of western civilization is sinking under the weight of enormous debt, but we had a new sheriff in town, and his name was Obama. Sure, Obama ran up a couple TRILLION in debt himself before he tackled the New Era Of Responsibility with PAYGO, but it's like fixing the Gulf oil leak, better late than never.
But something happened along the road to responsibility. After passing PAYGO, the Democrats evidently developed mass amnesia, because they immediately forgot all about it, and have borrowed damn near every dime of spending since then. The federal debt has risen about $800 BILLION since PAYGO was passed. How could this be ? Was it Bush's fault ? Was it the Republicans fault ? It probably was (it always is with Obama and company), but let's check.
Recently, the Republicans have blocked $34 billion in extensions to unemployment benefits. The reason ? The Republicans want the $34 billion to be paid for, in accordance with the Democrats own PAYGO rules. This shouldn't be a big problem during the New Era Of Responsibility, should it ? Cutting $34 billion out of a monstrous $3.55 TRILLION federal budget should be relatively simple. Alternately, Obama could tax something. He's good at that. All he had to do was find anything that is still moving during this recession, like the few remaining successful businesses or products, and tax them. It's economically stupid, but that's the Democrat way. Democrats, particularly the liberal ones, tend to believe that everyone's earnings belong to the government, and the government should decide who gets to keep what. They call it social justice. I call it robbery.
But I digress.
Obama, by his own words, would definitely support such responsible PAYGO measures, correct ?
Nope. Far from it. Here's what The Won said in a radio address the other day. From the Washington Times:
President Barack Obama says Senate Republicans are playing politics with bills that would extend benefits to the unemployed and increase lending to small businesses.
Striking a deeply partisan tone in his weekly radio and online address, Obama said the GOP leadership has chosen to "filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress" by blocking votes on agenda items the president says would breath life into the economic recovery.
"These steps aren't just the right thing to do for those hardest hit by the recession," Obama said. "They're the right thing to do for all of us."
Obama pushed back in his address, accusing Republicans of making their stand at the expense of the unemployed "after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit."
Huh ? Obama is now CASTIGATING Republicans for attempting to adhere to the PAYGO rules the Democrats set up, the same PAYGO rules Obama so lavishly praised a few short months ago ? And at the same time he's running up debt faster than ever, Obama is bitching about the GOP running up the debt in the past ? What the...? This sounds more like the New Era Of Bullshit than the New Era Of Responsibility to me. Obama has not only embraced what he calls "the failed policies of the past," he has put those policies on steroids.
On a related note, Obama might want to check to see what his left hand is up to regarding that New Era Of Responsibility thing. VP Joey Biden, aka the Gaffemaster General, basically acknowledged the failure of the stimulus package. During his tacit acknowledgement of stimulus failure, the Gaffemaster argued that the stimulus package would have been even bigger (even MORE debt), except for obstruction by.......guess who ?...THE REPUBLICANS. So now the failure of the stimulus package is the Republicans fault too. I don't know how these guys can try to pass this crap by the American people with a straight face. Practice, I guess.
Btw, the stimulus package was actually LARGER than what Obama's team asked for, contrary to what the Gaffemaster says now. Here's what Obama and his economic advisors proposed in January 2009, before the stimulus package was ever delivered to Congress:
Estimating the aggregate employment effects of the proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan involves several steps. The first is to specify a prototypical package. We have assumed a package just slightly over the $775 billion currently under discussion. It includes a range of measures, all of which have been discussed publicly.
In another part of the original stimulus plan, a figure of $600 billion is mentioned. The final size of the stimulus package was $862 billion. Obama and company got MORE than they asked for, and we get....
Everything but the truth.