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George Will is Trying to Amuse Barack Obama

1:10 PM, May 14, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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At his last prime-time press conference Barack Obama disabused us of at least one crazy notion:

And -- and that's why I'm always amused when I hear these, you know, criticisms of, "Oh, you know, Obama wants to grow government." No.

And yet, George Will persists in pointing out facts that seem to contradict Obama's assertion:

In February, California's Democratic-controlled Legislature, faced with a $42 billion budget deficit, trimmed $74 million (1.4 percent) from one of the state's fastest-growing programs, which provides care for low-income and incapacitated elderly people and which cost the state $5.42 billion last year. The Los Angeles Times reports that "loose oversight and bureaucratic inertia have allowed fraud to fester."

But the Service Employees International Union collects nearly $5 million a month from 223,000 caregivers who are members. And the Obama administration has told California that unless the $74 million in cuts are rescinded, it will deny the state $6.8 billion in stimulus money.

Such a federal ukase (the word derives from czarist Russia; how appropriate) to a state legislature is a sign of the administration's dependency agenda -- maximizing the number of people and institutions dependent on the federal government. For the first time, neither sales nor property nor income taxes are the largest source of money for state and local governments. The federal government is.

In California, the tide is turning against Obama's administration of dependence, it would seem. Of course, support of spending cuts is notoriously theoretical. People get more squeamish when the government has to start cutting specific programs, but these Rasmussen numbers are one reason that Democratic partisans squealing gleefully about the "permanent," "rump," "regional" party Republicans have become shouldn't get too cocky.

Voters aren't in the mood for tax increases to ease California's budget woes.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of California voters oppose raising state income taxes to eliminate the budget deficit. Raising the state sales tax is opposed by 69%.

At the same time, 69% favor major cuts in government spending to eliminate the budget deficit. Just 16% oppose the spending cuts.

There is strong support for one concept that will be on the ballot next week. Ninety percent (90%) of voters say legislators should not get a pay raise if they fail to pass a balanced budget. Just five percent (5%) disagree.

In fact, most California voters want to go even further. Seventy percent (70%) believe that if the legislators can't balance the budget, they should take a significant pay cut.

That's 73 percent for spending cuts over tax increases, in California.

With utterly unprecedented spending and build-ups in deficits with utterly no attempt to control either, despite promises to do so from Obama on the trail, the American people may be looking for anti-establishment comfort in 2010. By then, it won't be about being Republican, but about being responsible. Democrats have been so deliberately, demonstrably irresponsible in just four months, that making the argument for Republicans (fiscally conservative ones) becomes easier and easier by the day.

Well, maybe not this Republican.