President Obama today met with senior lawmakers today in a so-called “fiscal responsibility summit” – by rights, the title ought to be more of a punchline. After the passage of a bloated $787 billion stimulus package, President Obama now pledges to cut the federal spending deficit in the future. In one of the biggest cackle-worthy quotes I’ve yet seen, he says, “We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences.”
… Excuse me, Mr. President, but what exactly did you think that stimulus package was all about?
I highly doubt anything meaningful is going to come out of this PR stunt for both parties, which Michelle Malkin rightly refers to as just another barrel of monkeys. John McCain wasted time by whining about an over budget helicopter order. Sure it’s useful to be cognizant of individual items of wasteful spending like that, but by focusing on minutiae the policy-makers will miss the forest for the trees.
Big surprise, Obama plans on taxing the wealthy (read: small businesses) to reduce the deficit, along with some other measures that may actually be useful, such as a pay-as-you-go measure that requires an equal spending cut every time an increase is proposed. I don’t know how seriously I can take such a measure, though, given all the reckless spending that has already taken place. RedState has commentary on the fiscal discipline trial balloon that’s being floated.
One thing I’ll back Obama on is his newly stated desire to solve the Social Security insolvency disaster. The only problem? His own party is giving him the finger on it. (Heads up from Patterico.) It’s really quite tragic, as a reform effort would go a long way to placate conservatives, but the liberal elite have no intention on wasting time on other people’s agendas, however responsible they might be.
It’s important to note that Wall Street remains unimpressed by all these “bold and sweeping” moves, today shedding 251 points to fall to 1997 levels. I maintain that we are following the California model of reckless spending into bankruptcy, except we are now doing it on a national level. As Human Events notes, Obama is failing these early tests of leadership, and he has few opportunities remaining to get it right.
Two quick notes: I have to for now give the Obama administration props for shooting down the idea of taxing motorists by the mile and for denying the institution of the Fairness Doctrine (although the celebration may be quite premature.) I say “for now” because I’m not fully convinced either one of these issues has been fully put to rest, especially not when there are rabid activists hoping for their implementation and willing to exert pressure to ensure their passage.
Update: Yeah, so much for the fiscal responsibility. Michelle Malkin has the heads-up on a new $410 billion spending bill coming down the pike, with pork a-plenty. Let’s see … $700 billion in failed bank bailouts, $787 billion in pork-choked stimulus spending, a new $410 billion in more spending, and Geithner’s TBA 2nd bank bailout which could be as high as $1 trillion (we’ll assume half gets cut, which is a generous figure) … we’re talking about $2.5 trillion with a “T” thrown down the tubes, all of it taxpayer money. It’s 3 times the cumulative cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, so any drawdown of operations is not going to produce a comparable financial impact. I believe the point I’m reaching at is … we’re screwed.