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Obama’s Waffling on the Debt Ceiling

I think just two quotes can sum up President Obama’s speech tonight on raising the debt ceiling.

From Senator Obama’s Floor Speech, March 20, 2006:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

From President Obama’s Address, July 25, 2011:

Defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate…History is scattered with the stories of those who held fast to rigid ideologies and refused to listen to those who disagreed. But those are not the Americans we remember. We remember the Americans who put country above self, and set personal grievances aside for the greater good. We remember the Americans who held this country together during its most difficult hours; who put aside pride and party to form a more perfect union.

I will not talk about the merits of either plan because I believe the actual details have been missing from the public media debate.  It seems that the only appeal either party is making is to the visual and core senses of the voters.  One is the incessant use of “corporate jet owners” as the repeated meme against profligacy:

Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask corporate jet owners and oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get.

The response is immediate, “well yeah, I’m not going to side for a rich corporate jet owner against my grandma’s medical care!”  Another amusing fact about the corporate jet owner tax break – the tax break was actually created by the 2009 stimulus bill put into action under his own presidency.

Another from Obama is the Evil Hedge Fund Manager:

How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries?

I will make a bet that under either party we will not see an increase in taxes for hedge fund managers OR the billionaire likes of Warren Buffett.

Everyone else – look forward to paying a national sales tax, taxes on all internet purchases, higher income taxes and taxes through inflation. All else is nothing but a vacuous promise and appeal to emotions.


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