It was but two weeks ago that the government "shutdown" ended with a partial deal to fund the government through early next year. Congress began negotiating last week on the next fiscal deal. At issue is nothing particularly new -- Democrats want spending to increase a lot, and Republicans want it to increase a little less.
In his weekly address Saturday, Barack Obama lectured about budget negotiations. "It begins," Obama said, "by ending what has done more than anything else to undermine our economy over the past few years -- and that's the constant cycle of manufactured crisis and self-inflicted wounds." But of course it was Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who uttered what has become the motto of this administration: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Indeed, Obama governs from one crisis to the next.
Then he launched into a ridiculous boast about the federal deficit: "[S]ince I took office, we've cut our deficits by more than half. ... On my watch, they're falling at the fastest pace in 60 years."
Cutting the federal deficit from $1.5 trillion in his first year -- a year that saw his own stimulus bring the deficit that high -- to $680 billion in his fifth year is hardly an achievement. The current deficit is still the fifth largest in U.S. history, and the other four highest were also all Obama's. Furthermore, Obama only achieved this reduction with his massive tax hike in January that has slowed economic growth to a crawl and will do nothing in the long run to solve our budget problems.
Setting his false benchmark, however, Obama declared, "So that gives us room to fix our long-term debt problems without sticking it to young people, or undermining our bedrock retirement and health security programs, or ending basic research that helps the economy grow." In other words, forget entitlement reform. Forget ObamaCare reform. Forget Social Security reform. And forget reforming the tax code to rid it of giveaways to Obama's favorite green energy boondoggles and payouts to other cronies. The only things Obama will do are nip and tuck at various minor budget outlays and further raise taxes on the productive.
He concluded with a call to "free up resources for the things that actually do create jobs and growth." If only his true intent weren't the opposite.