Sunday, July 31, 2011
Barack Obama & Co. are themselves history's best argument in favor of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution
I refuse to watch "Meet the Press" — I'd rather be waterboarded — but if NRO's Katrina Trinko accurately quotes former Obama campaign manager and current White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe's statement on that program today, I'm appalled:
White House senior adviser David Plouffe emphasized that the White House is unwilling to accept any deal that does not provide a long-term debt ceiling hike.
“This debt ceiling cloud has harmed our economy. Why on earth would we want to go through this again in the next few months?” Plouffe said on Meet the Press.
Got that? It's not the spending that's the problem, it's the limit on government borrowing to finance more government spending that's hurting the economy, according to Plouffe. Having a statutory limit on the amount of money the government can borrow — even a limit that can be raised by another mere statute, at the behest of simple majorities of House and Senate plus presidential signature — is "harm[ful] to our economy," according to the Obama Administration.
Obama and his party are obviously entirely content to go years without any budget, and now they're bitching about having any debt ceiling, any maximum amount on the national credit card.
So do not be fooled, friends and neighbors, when Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi suddenly pretend to be fiscal hawks, devoted champions of cutting government spending. The entire Democratic Party is still devoted to the same mindset which was revealed by reporting on Obama's first budget efforts back in 2009. As I wrote then, Obama insiders had boasted to the New Yorker that
[b]ased on their "core beliefs," the [Obama Administration's] "smart people" simply decided "what we need to do," and that's how much the federal government will now spend — with no effort being made to base the budget on what revenues the government may take in, and with no "top-line budget number" to limit the appetites of those "smart people" as they set about to vindicate their "principles" by hurling huge chunks of federal cash in their general direction.
The danger is not merely that they're clueless. The danger is that they're still actively and passionately devoted to exactly that which has gotten us into this mess. They are completely unrepentant; they will neither act responsibly nor accept responsibility. And they will keep making things worse until they're out of office, be that in January 2013 or, heavens forbid, January 2017.
This is the strongest argument yet for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.
UPDATE (Sun Jul 31 @ 3:30pm): Here's some video from the same appearance, although it doesn't include the sentences Trinko quoted. My transcription therefrom (starting at 0:56):
The House Republicans mysteriously — because I don't know of anyone who watches this who would think this is a good idea — wanted us to go through this whole three-ring circus again in four or five months. We're not going to do that because it's bad for the economy.
So I suspect Plouffe not only made the "bad for the economy" remark, but deliberately repeated it at least once. It's today's talking point.
Insisting on compliance with the debt ceiling is "bad for the economy." Refusing to give Obama a big enough bump in the amount that he can increase the deficit to carry him on through the 2012 election is "bad for the economy." Having everyone focused on whether Washington is on a path to national bankruptcy or taking the first tentative steps toward a return to fiscal sanity is "bad for the economy." This is all the Republicans' fault, you see:
It's outrageous that here we are, 60 hours away from the United States of America potentially defaulting for the first time. And the reason we're here is that particularly Republicans in the House, but Republicans generally, have been unwilling to compromise.
Good heavens, the arrogance of this liar!
The "reason we're here" — the reason we're in this national financial crisis — is because the Obama Administration has spent government money at a rate unprecedented in human history, and as recently as February of this year submitted a ridiculous excuse for a budget that would have continued that spending spree.
Could the Republicans' "unwillingness to compromise" merely be an unwillingness to continue down that disastrous path?
Nah, we must be racists.
(Or, perhaps, racist Sith Lords. Nancy Pelosi made a huge point yesterday of accusing Speaker Boehner of going over "to the dark side" for supporting a balanced budget constitutional amendment. Seriously.)
Plouffe even blew off David Gregory's request for an assurance that our troops fighting abroad will continue to be paid timely. That's how heavily invested the Democratic Party is in creating unnecessary fear and turmoil. And that's disgusting.
UPDATE (Sun Jul 31 @ 3:45pm): Here's an MSNBC story that contains the same sentences Trinko quoted, plus a video clip that I haven't watched yet and probably won't. (I'm already at toxic levels in my exposure to Plouffe for one day. I need a shower.)
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(1) Whitehall made the following comment | Aug 5, 2011 12:22:47 PM | Permalink
I'm still perplexed as why people have so much faith in a BBA. Clever Congressional majorities will find a way to work around it and it invites SCOTUS meddling in fiscal policy.
Let's not fool ourselves, the only salvation of our Republic lies in the common sense of our voters in electing representatives who will constrain themselves within a financial discipline.
Personally, I see calls for a BBA a political stunt. It does focus attention on the problem but is oversold. Why would the states put limits on the transfer payments to them? I don't see in the interests of states to ratify it.
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