There is an update to this post at the bottom (1:19am…yes I’m really up that late, don’t worry I’m going to sleep now)
When the tea parties actually happened Obama claimed to know nothing about them. It didn’t sound like someone who was very tuned in to his constituents thoughts.
Well between then and now someone caught him up on the grassroots movement, because he’s taking shots at the thousands of Americans who came out to show their disgust with Washington’s spending.
Asked about fiscal discipline and entitlements reform, Obama seemed to be repressing a smile as he jabbed critics of his spending plans.
“Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I’m not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, Obama said, â€œlet me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.â€
â€œBut,â€ Obama continued, â€œlet’s not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act.”
First of all, this doesn’t sound like someone who’s concerned with bipartisanship. Something like 200,000 people showed up to tea parties across the country, that’s huge for a protest. You can’t simply dismiss and demonize those people as “folks waving tea bags around.” If you want to get anything accomplished you’re going to have to take our concerns to heart.
Second, no one is claiming that the Recovery Act is the sole reason the deficit is so large, but it is certainly part of the problem. There’s a reason the Congressional Budget Office predicts Obama’s budget will produce deficits totaling $9.3 trillion over the next nine years, it’s because Obama has proposed a lot of spending.
Let’s take a quick look at Obama’s spending plans:
-$787 billion Recovery Plan
-$452 billion/year for Universal Health Care ($6 trillion over 10-year period)
-Increased spending for education
-Increased investment in health research
-Total increased spending to 22% of the GDP
Not to mention he has no solution to curb spending on social security, which is currently the largest lag on the budget. He says that his universal health care plan will fix the medicare problem but I can’t imagine why. Creating a new, even larger, government bureaucracy to fix a broken government bureaucracy hardly seems like a sound solution.
I don’t think people realize how hard it will be to get out of a $1 trillion hole. The CBO estimates our budget deficit for fiscal year 2009-2010 will be $1.8 trillion. The federal government takes in about $1.7 trillion in taxes, and that number will certainly retract because of the economy. So in order to pay off that debt we would need to freeze spending completely and then devote all of our tax revenues to paying down debt, and we would still be in the red.
This is not going to be an easy hole to get out of. Universal health care, besides costing $500 billion a year, and I’m sure that number will grow, will costs billions to enact. And let’s not forget, these budget deficit numbers don’t take into account the $7 trillion we’ve spent on bailing out the financial sector.
We’re in huge danger right now with our budget. I wish our president took it a little more seriously, rather than calling dissenters of his big spending “folks waving tea bags around.”
UPDATE: The AP ran a good fact check on Obama’s remarks about the deficit today. You can see it here.
One of the more laughable quotes is…
“Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit…. That wasn’t me.”
As the AP points out in their fact check, the ultimate decider on the budget is Congress, assuming the president doesn’t veto the budget sent to him. And guess who was in congress the last couple of years? Barack Obama.
It seems Obama has forgotten that all of the programs that got us into this $1.3 trillion hole, TARP, summer stimulus, recovery act, auto bailout, etc; he supported. So yes, Obama shares the blame for this deficit. But it doesn’t rest squarely on his shoulders. The blame is split between Bush, Obama, and everyone else who voted for the big spending that got us here. For Obama to say the deficit “wasn’t me,” is ridiculous at best.