What a difference five years makes. President Obama‘s economic spokesman Austan Goolsbee has turned into Chicken Little, demanding the nation’s debt limit be raised above the current $14.3 trillion (excluding unfunded liabilities). But in March 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) passionately opposed raising the then-$9 trillion national debt limit.
Here’s what Obama said back then:
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.
Obama circa 2006 makes a lot of sense. But now the situation is different because he’s in power and hellbent on turning America into a European-style socialist country. And, call me cynical, but five years ago Obama was doing everything in his power to end the war in order to appeal to his kooky political base. Obama was never a fiscal conservative. At times he pretended to be if it suited his purposes, carefully clothing his arguments in moral garments as Saul Alinsky counseled.
As Andrew McCarthy notes at The Corner, the debt ceiling now “is already 60 percent higher than the one Barack Obama said was ‘a sign of leadership failure’ five years ago.”
If that was a failure of leadership back then, what does Obama’s approach now represent?
In the words of the president, Americans deserve better.
Avoiding default isn’t that difficult but it requires that Congress show a little in the way of guts. Just reduce spending. Abandon Obamacare. Halt the flow of bailout money. Withhold funds to implement so-called financial regulatory reform. Rescind already approved appropriations. Rescind farm subsidies. Rescind highway funds. Implement a real salary freeze for federal employees.
The American people are demanding an end to the insanity.
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