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My liberal comrades will not like what I have to say today. Hell, I don't like it either.....but I must tell the truth as I see it...so here goes.
President Obama gave his deficit speech (transcript) in the middle of the afternoon yesterday so that people like you and I, who are politically engaged, could discuss it and compare it to Ryan's Republican Roadmap To Ruin. He didn't present his speech to the American people in prime time because he knows that he will lose the battle he laid out in what I am today calling his "wasted words of wisdom."
There's no question that the words Obama spoke yesterday were true. With only a few minor exceptions, I agreed with everything he had to say. Republicans, as expected, rejected the entirety of Obama's vision out of hand.
Obama clearly explained, as a professor should, the facts of how we have arrived at our huge deficit and debt situation.....
....after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program - but we didn't pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts - tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.
Republican defenders will argue that tax cuts don't have to be paid for because they are not government spending and that Bush cut taxes for everyone, not just for the rich. What I call wasted words of ignorance. Over 40% of the tax cuts went to the wealthiest Americans and borrowing $500 billion per year to hand those cuts out is....I'm sorry.....spending.
Again, Obama was spot-the-hell-on when he derided and mocked Paul Ryan's phony Roadmap.....
Worst of all, this (Ryan's Raodmap) is a vision that says even though America can't afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can't afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.
There is no doubt that Paul Ryan's Roadmap To Ruin is a total third world disaster plan. Ending Medicare and Medicaid while simultaneously handing out trillions more to the obscenely wealthy....is by design....a cruel and unacceptable joke. Even Ryan doesn't take it seriously.....as seen in the fact that his plan doesn't bring budget deficits down for 40 years or so.....and other prime time Republicans haven't been falling all over themselves to embrace the POS.
On substance, Obama, as he often has presented in speeches in the past, can't be faulted. His vision is the correct vision.....a collective, progressive vision....a vision of an America which respects fairness and leaves no vulnerable demographic behind.
The first reason that I know Obama is wasting his words of wisdom is the timing and the framing of his speech.
Our nation is still reeling from 8.8% unemployment. While it is true that our economy is slowly improving, at least 15 million Americans cannot find jobs today. For every single available job there are 5 unemployed people trying to get it. Jobs are our nations most pressing problem.
Furthermore, to be cutting government spending in a time of high unemployment, in both state and federal venues, will only make the jobs situation worse. If unemployment stays high or increases, our weak economy will weaken even further.
And yet, President Obama has accepted the totally bogus deficit hysteria framing by his Republican enemies. He's playing on the Republican playground, as it were. For Obama to give a major speech agreeing with his enemies framing that deficits are our nation's top priority...is capitulating to his enemy's strategy.
Huge mistake. Just because wealthy, pearl clutching Knee Pad Media members and the Republican corporate-whores whom they celebrate talk non-stop about the oh-so-terrible deficits boogeyman.....doesn't make it so. What Americans want are jobs....not more bullsh*t.
Secondly....and here I think even Obama does not believe his own speechifying.....the President cannot backup what he's saying. He simply can't.
The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code. In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.
Sorry Barack.....those words are ridiculous. 3 1/2 months ago we couldn't afford that same $1 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and back then Obama had 58 Democrats in the Senate and Democrats controlled the House by a wide margin. Now Obama has 53 Democrats in the Senate and Democrats are in the minority in the House....where all legislation begins.
Moreover, campaign-2008 Obama promised he would end the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250K per year. How did that work out? That's right...it didn't.
So what's going to happen then?
Ryan's Roadmap To Ruin has become the framing point. Obama has accepted that frame and has offered a semi-progressive rebuttal and counteroffer somewhere in the reasonable center. What we will end up with is a Partial Roadmap To Ruin which will take us further to the right. Deep cuts to government programs which help the little people, probably a rollback of benefits in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a chipping away at average American's interest-from-mortgages tax deductions and making the Bush era tax cuts permanent.
Obama either agrees to those things or Republicans blow the whole place up.
Hope I'm mistaken.