If the House of Representatives signs off on the budget squib that trickled through the Senate on New Year’s Eve, Washington will have reduced the 2013 budget deficit from a little over $1 trillion to approximately…$1 trillion. The imposed cut is less than 6 per cent of the deficit and is within the error term of the annual federal budget itself. With a $16 trillion plus debt already groaning on the federal table – and that represents a debt of more than %46,000 already hanging over the head of every individual in the United States – the new legislation is a slap in the face for every American.
And the individual primarily responsible for delivering this slap in the face to the nation is the Cellophane President, Barack Obama, who either because of stupidity or ideology, or some mixture of both, has failed to lead Washington to a relevant solution.
A relevant solution, in my judgment, is to move the United States over the coming four years into a small annual budget surplus. This realistically requires federal tax revenues to increase from 15.5 per cent of gross domestic product to 21 per cent in order to accommodate an aging population while reducing federal public expenditures from 25 to 20 per cent. For this to occur, middle income America will have to provide more taxes and the three entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – will have to be trimmed back by measures that will hurt. There is no other solution short of debt default.
Now when was the last time that you heard President Obama speak in those terms? Never! That kind of message will never be expressed by a former Chicago street-organizer, who now prefers the golf course, and Hollywood partying to the hard graft of governing in difficult times. Note that even the current deal emanated not from the President and the majority leader of the Senate, but from the Vice President and the Minority Leader of the Senate, two 70-year-old political professionals who were prepared to work hard on New Year’s Eve. Community organizers and professional wrestlers may possess street smarts, but they are way out of their depth when trying to negotiate complex budget deals.
“With the population aging and health-care costs per person likely to keep growing faster than the economy…the United States cannot sustain the federal spending programs that are now in place with the federal taxes…that it has been accustomed to paying. Until Obama conspicuously and consistently acknowledges these realities in straightforward and unmistakable language – something he hasn’t done and shows no signs of doing – he cannot be said to be dealing honestly with the budget or with the American people….Obama’s abdication of responsibility may be in his political interest, but it is profoundly hostile to the national interest.” Robert J. Samuelson, ‘Obama’s failure to lead’, The Washington Post, January 1, 2013
And that dear readers, is my sad but responsible message to each and every one of you as the New Year dawns without any sign of blue in the grey fiscal skies of this once-great nation.
“A human being’s made of more than air
With all that bulk, you’re bound to see him there
Unless that human bein’ next to you
Is unimpressive, undistinguished
You know who…
Shoulda been my name
‘Cause you look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there’
Hope I didn’t take up too much of your time.”
Lyric from Chicago