As is not infrequently the case, Charles Krauthammer sums it up best-Krauthammer calls the president’s latest foray into matters fiscal “Obama’s Louis XIV budget.” Yeah, Louis was weak on budget reduction, too. (Somewhat less kindly, the American Thinker has dubbed Obama Alfred E. President, after the Mad magazine mascot whose trademark question was, “What me worry?”
We all remember the aforementioned Louis as the fellow to whom the bon mot “après moi, le deluge” is attributed. If Obama’s budget were to be accepted, we’d be, as poor Louis’ regime was, on a path to ruin. You get a glimpse of the pending deluge in Wisconsin. A public employee there, demonstrating to keep a bloated benefits package that is way out of line with the earnings of taxpayers who pick up the tab for her lavish benefits, had the audacity to say, “This is how democracy works.”
No, the founders of our nation did not envision democracy that way. We’re glad the folks in Wisconsin have the right to demonstrate but a mob demanding ever higher benefits is not the essence of democracy. Governor Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, is not in the après moi, le deluge mold-he has introduced legislation to reduce the collective bargaining power of unions. It is this collective bargaining that has raised benefit and pay of public workers not to decent, comfortable, and just levels but to levels that are destructive for the rest of society. Democrats responded by fleeing the state capitol so as not to have to participate in democracy by voting on the governor’s measure.
The president, who not unexpectedly sided with the protesters (unions are a major part of his base), said that it is “important not to vilify them or to suggest that somehow all these budget problems are due to public employees.” Well, without vilifying anybody, let me state for the record that bloated pay for public employees is a huge part of our budget problem. But, at this point, did anyone really expect the president to try to be responsible on this issue?
Whether you think of the president as Alfred E. Neuman or Louis XV, you have to admit, as Krauthammer notes, that he is not brave enough to address our fiscal problems:
Classic Obama debt reduction: Add $2 trillion in new taxes, then add $1 trillion in new spending and, presto, you’ve got $1 trillion of debt reduction. It’s the same kind of mad deficit accounting in Obamacare: It reduces debt by adding $540 billion in new spending, then adding $770 billion in new taxes. Presto: $230 billion of “debt reduction.” Bialystock & Bloom accounting.
And what of those “painful cuts” Obama is making to programs he really cares about? The catch is that these “cuts” are from a hugely inflated new baseline created by the orgy of spending in Obama’s first two years. These were supposedly catastrophe-averting, anti-Depression emergency measures. But post-recession they remain in place. As a result, discretionary non-defense budget levels today are 24 percent higher than before Obama – 84 percent higher if you add in the stimulus money. …
Obama fancies his happy talk, debt-denial optimism to be Reaganesque. It’s more Louis XV. Reagan begat a quarter-century of prosperity; Louis, the deluge.
Moreover, unlike Obama, Louis had the decency to admit he was forfeiting the future. He never pretended to be winning it.
We are already seeing rivulets of what will become a great deluge in the situation in Wisconsin.