Denninger’s Questions to Obama

regarding the President’s upcoming State of the Union address:

Can you explain how, when entitlements are 56% of the budget and we currently borrow about 43% of the budget, how you intend to be “learner and smarter” and get rid of the deficit – when you have to pay interest charges – without cutting those entitlements?

There are no Unicorns Barry.

There are only facts.

Those questions are appropriate for all Americans. Not just for Obama. It’s long past time that we faced the truth for what it is: our present debt situation exists because Americans have voted for it.

You can try to argue, “Americans don’t support that debt!” But alas, they have.

The last President–whatever his faults–tried Social Security reform. He tried a partial-privatization plan that only involved 4%–in other words, if Social Security went completely Tango Uniform, you’d still keep 4% of what you have, which is more than you would keep right now–and he couldn’t even sell it to his own GOP leaders!!!

Perhaps our biggest budget buster is Medicare. Try–JUST TRY—talking about cutting that, and Americans would shoot you out of the sky.

And the Warfare State? Talk of what spending cuts would mean, and you will find that Americans don’t want those cuts. They want the jobs created at those Lockheed-Martin plants, those Northrop-Grumman plants, those Boeing plants, and related subcontractors.

Go tell the people of Georgia that you want to eliminate Robins AFB, which is the largest employer in the state. Go tell the folks in Titusville that you are cutting the NASA budget in half. You might as well be farting into the microphone at a church sermon.

Even the culture of regulation is hardly easy game. Try cutting the Department of Education, and you will see what I am talking about. The GOP tried in 1995 to increase funding to states for school lunches–in the form of block grants, while eliminating the DoE control–and Americans turned against them as soon as Al Gore gave his “they are taking food out of the mouths of babes” speech.

We can talk all day about “bringing our troops home”, but that expense doesn’t come close to eliminating our budget gap.

The GOP is going to fail for the same reasons that Obama and the DNC are failing now, and for the same reasons that Bush and the GOP failed before them: everyone wants spending cuts, but very few really want them when they realize the impact those cuts will have.

Unfortunately, the choice is between choosing to endure the pain now, versus having it inflicted on you–or your children–even worse later.

Right now, even Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)–the two most realistic champions of frugality in Congress–have not done a good job articulating that stark choice. The rest of Congress is either totally clueless or totally dishonest.

But make no mistake: Americans love that big debt. They just want leaders who can make it work.

Just like a certain leader who “made the trains run on time”. . .

3 thoughts on “Denninger’s Questions to Obama

  1. It’s not that America loves the debt. We love all the stuff we bought with that debt and we love not paying higher taxes to buy that stuff. The reason we don’t love the debt now is because we have maxed out our credit cards so they can’t buy us any more stuff. They have become a negative with no benefit.

    When I private individual borrows money, he know that he will have to pay it back out of his own future productivity. But when a nation borrows money, it is intentionally sticking the bill to some future generation. This is why it is imorl and should be opposed.

    At soem point, the American people have to get the message that the national credit card is maxed out. Thee is no more whare that came from. Now comes the long hard slog of paying your bills on time and not buying any extras. It will require pulling back on a lot of fronts. The only alternative is to await collapse and the replacement of our current form of government with something not as good.

  2. Professor Hale – welcome back!

    i agree that america loves their stuff. our local school district is ‘having’ to make budget cuts b/c the people voted down a $300.00 per year property tax increase. with all the ‘extras’ our school district has, i’m not crying. it’s not like my kids are not going to get the basics, they just might not get the frills. i’m not complaining about that – probably b/c i’m an involved parent who is involved w/my kids’ education and doesn’t see their education limited to the local school district. i don’t depend on the school to meet all of my kids’ needs. I am the mom – the school district actually forgets that, often, and i need to remind them of that.

    they offered summer tutoring for kids who didn’t perform well on the state standardized exam. my youngest, who is special needs, will never perform well on an exam like that. she just won’t. they know she knows the info, but she doesn’t test the way they want her to test. so they offered her tutoring. they said she really needed it. but the funding ran out and they quit half-way thru the summer. oh! golly gee! i guess she really didn’t NEED it then!

    i just went back and forth w/the district b/c they want her in after school tutoring for the same reason. i told them i want verification that what they are teaching her is something she really needs help on, i want proof that they helped her with that, and i want one-on-one teaching. they didn’t comply; she’s not in tutoring. the deal is, they say she ‘needs’ it b/c the teacher gets paid to do it based on the exam scores.

    i’m guessing they won’t offer tutoring next year – guess the childrens’ “needs” will be redefined.

    in our home, i make my girls define the diff btw need and want all the time. we ‘need’ much less than we want – and certainly our gov’t is exploding with ‘want’ that we don’t need … but we’ve already leveraged against the future to pay for those present, now-past, wants. but we don’t want to pay for what we’ve already used up. it’s a rough reality.

  3. @Professor Hale
    I agree. While Americans–in their heart of hearts–are worried about the debt, they also tend to have a total disconnect, one can call it outright denial, with the reality that cutting that spending in any way that is going to be meaningful, is going to hurt.

    Fact is, Medicare and Social Security are unsustainable as they exist today. And yet so many people I know, insist that all you have to do is cut all the waste and everything will be ok.

    Sadly, what they forget is that the “waste” is inherent in any large enterprise. Pork spending makes a lot of headlines, but–really–it’s a drop in the bucket.

    And it’s not just government; heck, I saw the same thing at GM when I worked at EDS. Throw in unions–UAW if you’re in the auto industry, AFSCME if you’re in government–and you’ve got a mess.

    But even if you cut ambitiously–Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) proposed $500 billion in cuts, which is less than half of what we really need–you’re still stuck with a hard reality: a lot of people are going to lose their jobs.

    I have nothing personal against those folks; government workers are like anyone else. Yes, there are corrupt people there, but there are lots of corrupt and dishonest workers in the private sector, too.

    Trouble is, the gravy train is out of gravy.

    And yes, I agree: if Americans don’t face that reality, the impending collapse will bring variants of government that will not be particularly desirable over anything we have now.

    We could easily become a Third World country if that happens.

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