As we noted yesterday in this space, President Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign promised “a tax cut for 95 percent of working families” and “a net spending cut” in the federal budget.
It became clear this was political jabberwocky almost as soon as Obama took office and embarked on a federal spending explosion — the likes of which has not been seen since World War II.
Just last week, officials confirmed that Obama’s deficit this year is more than $1.4 trillion, or three times what it was in President George W. Bush’s last year in office. And that is before Obama’s health care reform pumps at least another $1 trillion out of the federal spending spigot.
Now recall Obama’s promise last month during his address to a joint session of Congress on health care reform: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future. Period.” Events this week on Capitol Hill are making plain the smoke-and-mirrors nature of that promise, too.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants a separate vote this week on a $247 billion measure to block a cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors, rather than including it as part of the health care reform legislation. The White House likes Reid’s plan because it appears to reduce the price tag of health care reform by $247 billion.
But here’s the problem: Either way, taxpayers will still have to pony up for that $247 billion, either through higher taxes or more borrowing from China and other foreign lenders to finance Obama’s already swelling deficit.
At least two Senate Democrats are balking at this smoke-and-mirrors stunt. According to The New York Times, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Kent Conrad of North Dakota vow to oppose Reid’s move, with Bayh saying he “could not vote for a bill that raises the deficit by $247 billion, not at a time when we are already hemorrhaging red ink.” Similarly, Conrad said, “I don’t agree with just adding that amount to the debt.” Even the Washington Post was taken aback, observing that Reid is trying “to make certain that Republicans don’t use the physician payment issue to bring down the larger bill and to placate the American Medical Association.
This latest maneuver only heightens the fiscal irresponsibility of what already was a fiscal sleight of hand.” Rationalize it as they will, Obama and Reid are still piling more debt on the present and future generations of Americans.