Obama’s Late Night Budget Bluster
5:30 PM, Sep 19, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government is adding more than $4 billion in debt each day. The Congressional Budget Office and the Treasury Department estimate that the government is paying nearly $650,000,000 in interest payments every day under President Obama. That’s a lot of short-term damage.
And while the president argues that low interest rates mean debt is not a problem in the short-term, at least one credit agency, Egan-Jones, disagrees. The ratings firm downgraded the US government from “AA” to “AA-“ citing the decision of the Federal Reserve’s open-ended commitment to keep printing money.
There is one other interesting comment from the president in this exchange. A look at his first-term record gives us reason to be skeptical that Obama would address debt and deficits in any serious manner in a second term. So does the list provided by David Axelrod. But if he were to change course, his comments to Letterman raise real questions about how he might do so.
The president told Letterman that as he seeks to deal with debt and deficits in a “balanced way,” he doesn’t “want to balance it solely on the backs of middle class families.” Dealing with the debt, he added, “is going to require a little give on everybody’s part.” (Emphasis added).
What is the "give" from the middle class? Obama's assertion that he doesn't want to seek balance "solely on the backs of the middle class," suggests that he does want to ask something of the middle class. What is it?
The president has long claimed that he would not raise taxes on middle class Americans.
But when the president speaks of “balance” it’s usually a euphemism for higher taxes. So what does he mean when he says that in seeking “balance” he doesn’t want to deal with deficits “solely on the backs of middle class families?” We know that he’s proposing higher taxes on the rich. What is he going to ask middle class families to do?
We know that Obama’s former budget director has called for the expiration of all Bush tax cuts – meaning a de facto tax hike not only the those in higher brackets but on everyone, including the “middle class.”
The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reported back in June that this was a real possibility.
“Several White House officials I talked to made it clear that if a deal, or at least the framework for a deal, is not reached before December 31st Obama would allow all the Bush tax cuts to expire – a tactic that would achieve huge deficit reduction, but in a particularly painful and ill-conceived fashion.”
There are dozens of interesting questions of Obama and his campaign for reporters curious enough to ask them.