President Obama’s rhetoric is unrivaled. You know how it goes: Do what I want or there will be certain doom and gloom. Oh, and it will be the Republicans’ fault. Naturally.
Whether it’s the mental image of your grandmother plummeting off a cliff or greedy doctors carving out your tonsils, President Obama knows how to scare up some support from his agenda — as he’s now doing over this whole sequester mess.
The Wall Street Journal breaks down President Armageddon’s latest chicanery.
There’s the Washington Monument ploy:
Americans need to understand that Mr. Obama is threatening that if he doesn’t get what he wants, he’s ready to inflict maximum pain on everybody else. He won’t force government agencies to shave spending on travel and conferences and excessive pay and staffing. He won’t demand that agencies cut the lowest priority spending as any half-competent middle manager would.
It’s the old ploy to stir public support for all government spending by shutting down vital services first. Voters should scoff at the idea that a $3.6 trillion government can’t save one nickel of every dollar that agencies spend. The $85 billion in savings is a mere 2.3% of total spending. The agencies that the White House says can’t save 5% received an average increase in their budgets of 17% in the previous five years—not counting their $276 billion stimulus bonus.
The recession scare:
After World War II federal spending fell from 42% of GDP to 14.8% in two years, yet the private economy and employment roared back to life. In the 1980s domestic spending fell by about two percentage points of GDP and in the 1990s it fell by more than three. Those were decades of government austerity but rapid growth in private output and wealth. Mr. Obama has taken government spending from 21% to 24% of GDP, yet we’ve had the weakest economic recovery in three generations.
And a tax increase disguised as “tax reform”:
Mr. Obama isn’t proposing to substitute other spending reforms for the blunt instrument of the sequester. He is actually demanding another tax increase on top of the one he just beat out of Congress. His trick is to pretend that this is “tax reform” that would eliminate loopholes, but this is the same President who insisted on more than $30 billion in tax breaks for big business (including $12 billion for the wind industry) in the fiscal-cliff deal.
For 30 years bipartisan tax reform has meant lowering tax rates in return for closing loopholes. But having already raised rates, Mr. Obama now wants fewer loopholes for those he dislikes while keeping the higher rates. This is nothing but a grab for more revenue so he and Democrats can keep spending.