President Obama summed up yesterday what many Americans have concluded about his own administration and about the Congress, which for the first two years of his term was run entirely by Obama’s friends in the Democratic majority:
That is not a way to run a government.
Yes, Mr. President, you are right. But whose fault is that? Just look in the mirror. You have been in charge.
For the current fiscal year 2011, which ends Sept. 30, the Obama budget projects a deficit of more than $1.6 trillion. This comes to nearly 11 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, making it the largest shortfall since the end of World War II. In the first 19 months of the Obama administration, the federal debt held by the public increased by $2.5260 trillion, which beats the total of the national debt held by the public that was racked up by all U.S. presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan. Obama’s 10-year budget plan would increase the national debt by $7.2 trillion over 10 years, avoiding the difficult issue of entitlement reforms. Yet, the economy is still a mess even though Obama got the stimulus package he asked for very early in his administration.
Obviously Obama’s “not a way to run a government” complaint yesterday was not about his own stewardship. It concerned the threat of an imminent government shutdown this Friday at midnight if a deal cannot be reached on spending cuts to the 2011 fiscal year federal budget. To date, the government has been running under a series of continuing budget resolutions.
But the Democrats in Congress created the problem in the first place when they refused to approve the budget by the beginning of the 2011 fiscal year last October. They were then in total charge by vast majorities in both the House and Senate. Even now, with control of the White House and Senate, the Democrats are holding up final approval over a few billion dollars out of a $3.8 trillion budget and a $1.6+ trillion deficit.
The Republicans won control of the House as a result of the 2010 midterm elections, after campaigning on a pledge to cut $100 billion from the current budget. They prorated their original $100 billion reduction target to the lower amount of $61 billion, in order to account for the several months that had already elapsed in the fiscal year.
With six months to go until the end of the 2011 fiscal year, pro-rating the original $100 billion reduction target would mean a cut of $50 billion. House Speaker John Boehner has indicated that he could accept even less than this already trimmed amount in reductions, with a $40 billion cut. In other words, the Republicans have already shown willingness to compromise significantly from their original $100 billion deficit reduction target pledge.
President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate, under Majority Leader Harry Reid, have said no. In fact, Obama won’t even agree to another short term continuing resolution offered by the Republicans to keep the government running while negotiations continue. Nevertheless, in its usual Obama-fawning ideological fervor, the New York Times lead editorial today falsely claims that it is the Republicans who are maneuvering to bring about a shutdown.
Senator Reid said the following, before a meeting with Speaker Boehner yesterday to try and reach an agreement on a budget deal:
I hope the Republicans do what the country needs, not what the Tea Party wants
Lest anyone wonder how Senator Reid defines what the country needs, consider his impassioned plea for preserving taxpayer funding for cowboy poets:
The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1, eliminates National Public Broadcasting. Now, that is really saying a lot, madam president. It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.
To Senator Reid and his fellow Democrats, subsidizing wasteful programs like cowboy poetry festivals is how they choose to run the government. They have yet to get the message the American people sent loud and clear last November that they are wrong.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam