By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue Jun 12, 2012, 04:50 PM EDT
Franklin Delano Roosevelt never denied that he created Social Security. Lyndon Baines Johnson didn't forswear any responsibility for Medicaid. Ronald Reagan never argued that his defense buildup didn't happen.
The Obama White House, in contrast, wants to wish away the historic federal spending that is one of its signature accomplishments.
White House press secretary Jay Carney, whose job it is to dodge questions and elide facts without betraying any embarrassment, urged reporters the other day to steer clear of "the BS that you hear about spending and fiscal constraint with regard to this administration." Not one to be outclassed by his press secretary, President Barack Obama kept up the edifying livestock theme by calling Mitt Romney's attacks on his deficit spending "a cow pie of distortion."
The White House has a deeply conflicted relationship to its own record. It is saddled with a bad case of spender's denial, a rare psychological disorder afflicting committed Keynesians facing re-election at a time of record debt.
On the one hand, spending is the lifeblood of "Forward." It saved us from another Great Depression. It is forging a glorious new future of green energy. It is the only thing standing between the American public and the untold devastation of the Paul Ryan budget. How do we know? Because President Obama says so.
On the other hand, the deficits and the debt that come with all this spending are alarming and unpopular. So Obama calls himself the most fiscally conservative president in more than half a century. When the president isn't extolling his transformative expenditures, he has a Walter Mitty life as the second coming of Dwight Eisenhower. He needs to consult an accountant and a therapist, and not necessarily in that order.
If you torture the numbers just the right way - the Office of Management and Budget meets the Spanish Inquisition - you can come up with a 0.4 percent rate of spending growth during the Obama administration. To get there, you have to ignore part of the stimulus (on grounds that Obama didn't have complete control of the budget in 2009) and play games with the bailouts (crediting Obama with spending cuts when they are paid back). Even fact-checkers with mainstream media outfits have merrily stomped all over the statistical legerdemain.
Andrew Taylor of The Associated Press writes that "Obama bears the chief responsibility for an 11 percent, $59 billion increase in non-defense spending in 2009. Then there's a 9 percent, $109 billion increase in combined defense and non-defense appropriated outlays in 2010, a year for which Obama is wholly responsible." Spending growth slowed after that, under the influence of the very same congressional Republicans that President Obama excoriates for not allowing him to spend more.
There's no doubt that the president inherited a fiscal nightmare. Spending spiked as the economy tanked. His response has been to spend yet more every single year. Spending was $2.98 trillion in 2008, and the president's budget calls for it to hit $3.72 trillion in 2013. As a percentage of GDP, spending has been at post-World War II highs throughout his term. If fiscal probity is truly his aim, President Obama is a miserable failure of a skinflint.
The laughable claim to fiscal restraint is meant to recapture some of Obama's former ideological indistinctness. Back in 2008, he could say - with no direct evidence to contradict him - that he wanted a net cut in federal spending, in his guise as a post-partisan pragmatist. That was several $1 trillion deficits ago. Now, the president can say whatever he wants, but his budgets are a matter of public record.
He should embrace those budgets in all their Keynesian majesty. They are one of his most consequential contributions to our national life, and a true expression of his philosophical core and that of his party. In his tawdry denials, the president almost acts as if $5.5 trillion in new debt is something to be ashamed of.
(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate
Will the current V.A. backlog on veterans’ compensation claims be the next scandal to hit the administration?
Currently, the backlog is at 865,000 plus compensation claims with a wait time of greater than 125 days.
June 18, 2013
Apparently, it is not enough to tolerate, accept, or even endorse the gay agenda. Now, unless you tolerate and accept criminal behavior committed by gays, you are a hater.
Believe it — that is the very public argument being made in behalf of Florida high school cheerleader Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, who faces criminal charges for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Word on the street and in the media is that it will be a really bad summer for mosquitoes. Or should I say, it will be a really bad summer for humans, because it will be a great year for thirsty mosquitoes.
June 14, 2013
As a Christian, I feel compelled to respond to a recent letter to the editor.
When Barack Obama announced his presidential campaign back in February 2007, he did it in front of the old Springfield, Ill., Statehouse in a speech full of references to Abraham Lincoln.
Ordinarily I don’t take requests, but a bunch of people have written to ask how I’m doing with my weight-loss surgery and I thought this might be the most efficient way to answer.
June 11, 2013
I am a grandmother who went to the Brownsburg graduation ceremony on June 7 and due to very poor planning on Brownsburg School’s part, I could not sit and watch my twin grandsons graduate in person. I was directed to an overflow room where I had to watch it on a TV screen and could not even take pictures.
What you are now hearing across the land is a collective whine. Blue-state Democrats are upset that Texas Gov. Rick Perry dares come and play in their sandboxes, and worse, threatens to “poach” jobs from their states.
The website Politico reports that Perry’s attempts to lure jobs to Texas are “infuriating to prominent Democrats around the country.”
I am the first to admit I am behind the times when it comes to technology. I remember way back in the olden days of the 1990s when I was actually ahead of the game. Now there are second-graders that are more tech savvy than me. I just decided to stop my forward technological progression a few years back.
June 7, 2013
College graduates facing a crushing debt – some more than $100,000 – is a very big and a very real problem.
But U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent proposal to deal with it won’t solve the problem. It is a cheap ploy to divert attention from the real problem.
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
General Keith Alexander says two recently disclosed surveillance programs on international communications are critical in the terrorism fight.
June 18, 2013
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