McConnell Labels the Obama Cuts a Sham
12:20 PM, Jul 12, 2011 • By FRED BARNES
“It was my hope that the two parties could reach a meaningful, bipartisan agreement. And I have to say, I was initially encouraged by the prospect of the bipartisan discussions led by the Vice President. Although I disagree with him on most issues, Vice President Biden is a man I've come to respect as a straight shooting negotiator. We found common ground last December to prevent a tax hike on the American people, and my hope was we could find a solution again.
“Sadly, these discussions started with shared goal of reducing the debt but quickly regressed to public a sideshow in which the price of admission became an insistence that we raise taxes on job creators and on millions of American families who do not have yachts or corporate jets.
“At a time when jobs are few and far between, that's not a price the American people can afford.
“So Republicans searched in good faith for common ground. But the goal posts just kept moving.
“We trudged on, hoping the administration would at some point realize that the crisis we face demands a clear change in direction, a departure from the government-driven policies of the past two years. But our hopes for a grand bargain eventually ran into the bitter reality that this Administration is just not interested in a meaningful and lasting solution to our mounting debt.
“It’s too committed to big government.
“We showed a willingness to sacrifice all along, even as we made it crystal clear from the outset that tax increases would not be a part of any agreement.
“It was their commitment to big government that stood in the way of a grand bargain.
“It was their determination to freeze the policies of the past two years in place, permanently.
“The American people don’t want that, and Republicans won’t be seduced into enabling it.
“An ideological commitment to big government has outweighed the White House’s commitment to find a meaningful compromise that does not damage our fragile economy in the process.
“Rather than find a way to bring government back to the people, the Administration has committed itself to protecting the size and scope of government at the cost of job creation, economic growth, and America’s status in the global economy.
“The tragedy is that we all know what’s necessary to solve the economic crises we face.
“The answer is to cut spending.
“It’s no secret how to solve our entitlement crisis either. Any one of the people involved in these discussions could write it out on the back of an envelope.
“But it’s also no secret that Democrats would rather demagogue any solution Republicans propose in next year’s election than join us in seriously reforming them, despite what some Democrats started to say once it became clear that Republicans wouldn’t agree to a plan that raises taxes.
“We all saw the news stories yesterday about how senior Democrats have been worried that reforming Medicare now would make it harder for them to campaign against Republicans later. Evidently, they’d rather save their own jobs than save these programs from insolvency.
“I truly believed we could get this done.
“I truly believed, perhaps naively, that this Administration would see the necessity of preserving Social Security and Medicare for future generations.
“In the end, it appears that the perceived electoral success of demagogueing a solution proved its undoing.
“Or perhaps it was just the ideological commitment to preserving the size of government by the most stridently liberal members of the other side.
“Whatever the reasons, it’s a tragic missed opportunity for the country.
“I hope the economists are wrong, and that our economy will continue to grow over the next year and a half to buy us time to tackle the problems we face. But after years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this President is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable.
“This was not an easy decision for me.
“From my first day as Republican Leader in the Senate, I have called on Presidents from both parties to work with Congress on real solutions to the problems we face. And for more than two years I have had conversations with the Administration about working together to accomplish something big for the country. On each occasion, I've been met initially with encouraging words that gradually give way to moving goal posts.
“In the end, they have always expressed a fundamental unwillingness to engage in a meaningful effort to reduce spending as means to rein in the debt.
“Despite our stagnant economy, and the dire warnings of economic and security experts that we cannot sustain our mounting debt or unfunded liabilities, this President has proven that he will do almost anything to protect the size and scope of Washington, D.C.'s burgeoning bureaucracy.
“Including to threaten the economic security of every American by backing us up to the edge of default.
“I have heard some on the other side of the aisle suggest that Republicans have put us in this position by refusing to accept what they call a balanced approach.
“My response is that if the American people have learned one thing over the past few years, it’s that they need to bring their decoder rings to any debate in Washington these days.
“When Democrats say investment, they mean government spending.
“When they say revenue, they mean higher taxes.
“And when they say shared sacrifice, they mean they want you to take the hit, not Washington.
“It starts with the so-called rich, with the owners of the corporate jets, but pretty soon it hits the family flying in coach. Eventually everyone gets fleeced.
“Well, Americans have had enough. They think it’s time Washington shares in the sacrifice.
“Republicans invited Democrats into these discussions about finding a solution to our problems, and while we approached them with clear, unwavering principles, we also brought an open mind.
“The record reflects that.
“I won’t betray the confidence of those who were willing to negotiate with us, but there can be no question by anyone involved in those discussions that Republicans were willing to make tough choices.
“Where do we go from here?
“Well, I was one of those who had long hoped we could do something big for the country. But in my view the President has presented us with three choices: smoke and mirrors, tax hikes, or default. Republicans choose none of the above. I hoped to do good; but I refuse to do harm.
“So Republicans will choose a path that actually reflects the will of the people — which is to do the responsible thing and ensure the government doesn’t default on its obligations.
“And to continue to press the administration to rein in Washington.
“Not to freeze it in place.
“That’s why I will continue to urge the President to rein in our deficits and debt in a way that puts the short and long-term health of our economy ahead of his personal vision of government.
“That’s what the American people want. That’s what Republicans will continue to insist on.
“Nothing less will solve the crises we face. Nothing less will do.”