Obama: Debt Ceiling Standing in the Way of More Spending, GOP in Way of What He Wants
About a week ago, I had a conversation with a particularly partisan and obnoxious liberal Democrat, who informed me that Republicans would soon pay a big political price for being so obstructionist in Congress. They needed, he explained, to do more to get the country moving by working with Obama.
Because, apparently, people voted for Republicans (in this person’s mind) in November of 2010 because they want Republicans to help Obama do more of what they voted for Republicans to stop Obama from doing in 2009 and 2010.
Yeah, it didn’t make sense to me either.
But this guy is not alone. It appears that Obama himself has a similar view of the role of Republicans in divided government.
The president today lamented the the “politics” that brought about the 2010 GOP victory in the House made Washington worse. “The politics that swept [Boehner] into the Speakership were good for a mid-term election. They’re tough for governing.”
Now of course, by “governing” what Obama means is “getting my way.”
Throughout the press conference, the president made clear just how bored he was with the whole process of trying to reduce the debt and deficit. “Most Democrats . . . would prefer not to have to do anything on debt and deficit problems,” he said. “I’d rather be talking about stuff that everybody welcomes, like new programs or the NFL season getting resolved. Unfortunately this is what’s on our plate.”
Yes, new programs. In fact, Obama was fairly explicit about why he is so keen to cut a “large deal” on the debt limit. In response to a question about why his administration was not doing more to actively address the worsening jobs situation, Obama explained: “Taking an approach that costs trillions of dollars is not an option. What we can do is to solve this underlying debt and deficit problem for a long period of time, so that then we can get back to having a conversation about . . . are there some strategies that we could pursue that would really focus on some targeted job growth.”
In other words, he really would like to be spending trillions more on “job” “creation” right now, but “the politics” of reducing the deficit is complicating those ambitions. “We can’t even have that conversation if people feel as if we don’t have our fiscal house in order,” he lamented. As such, he expressed his desire to “get this problem off the table” in order to free up the political capital necessary allow the government to “make the kind of investments that I think are going to be necessary to win the future.”
Obama at times even seemed to be begging for GOP support for a bigger deal, conceding that a sizable down payment on the debt would have “a positive impact in overall growth and employment” — something Republicans have been arguing for months while Democrats have insisted that more spending is the only way forward. That said, Obama argued that reducing the deficit and eliminating economic uncertainty could be “only a part” of an “aggressive” agenda to turn around the “stubborn” unemployment rate and an economy that has “moved slower than we wanted.” Hence the calls for more stimulus spending on projects like a massive infrastructure bank and an additional extension of the payroll tax cut.
This post is also available at The Hoosierpundit.