Say 'No!' to Obama's extortion
At the end of 1995 and stretching into January 1996, the federal government “shut down” because of an impasse between President Clinton and House Republicans led by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The issue was increased taxes vs. less spending. Sound familiar? The government reopened when a bipartisan agreement was reached to balance the budget by 2003. It wasn't — for reasons that included, but were not limited to, two wars. Now the national debt is racing toward an unsustainable $17 trillion.
This time around it isn't about closing government. It's about “sequestration,” which President Obama, the Democrats and their big media toadies are styling as economic Armageddon.
On Tuesday, after another vacation and a round of golf with Tiger Woods, President Obama appeared in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. Behind him on risers, looking like a church choir but without the robes, were his usual Greek chorus of potential victims should Republicans cut spending by a single dollar.
The president said the cuts from sequestration would be “brutal” if lawmakers allow “this meat cleaver approach to take place.”
Military readiness would be hurt, he claimed. Investments in energy curtailed, medical research impaired, teachers laid off (I wasn't aware the federal government paid teacher salaries) and emergency responders idled.
Once again, the president offered up the old bait and switch: “targeted spending cuts” along with “closing tax loopholes.”
As has happened before, if Republicans agree to this (which they had better not if the party is to survive), they'll likely get inconsequential “cuts,” if they get any at all, but tax hikes will occur right away. More importantly, any new revenue will likely not reduce the debt because Democrats in Congress are noted for spending new revenue and they won't deal with the major reason for the debt: entitlements.
The president is again betting that playing to people's emotions, along with envy of “the rich” and calls for “fair share” in taxes will produce a win for him. But if it does, it won't be a win for the country. Can there be any doubt that the president's goal is to marginalize the Republican Party and make it ineffective now and in the next two elections?
The major media can be relied on — with help from the administration — to find people who will be laid off, or a “homeless” person, or a crying woman with her baby down to the last drop of milk. They did during the government shutdown, obscuring the real issue, which is overspending.
As John Makin of the American Enterprise Institute wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal, the looming cuts are “minuscule” when compared to the overall debt.
The president got his tax hike in the fiscal cliff debate. To ask for more now without significant spending cuts, entitlement reform and a rewritten tax code aligns him with the extortionists who ruled Chicago during the Roaring '20s.
In his oath of office, Obama promised to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Instead, he appears to be shredding it.
Whatever the short-term political price, Republicans must stand for the Constitution, the country and the future. Allowing the president to have his way again risks harming all three.
Cal Thomas is a columnist for USA Today.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- For Steelers outside linebacker Jones, size is not an obstacle
- Attorney General drops charges against ‘upper-level’ heroin dealers
- EDMC reaches debt-restructuring deal with creditors
- Pirates top Cardinals, 5-2, on Davis’ homer; Alvarez, McCutchen hurt
- Parade of Mustangs to kick off Connellsville’s Mum Festival
- Medical pot advocates speak up at meeting with Sen. Folmer in Export
- Steelers notebook: Team cuts 15 players, including LB So’oto, RB Hall
- Steelers cornerbacks Allen, Gay, Taylor have something to prove
- PSU notebook: Freshman cornerback Haley soars up depth chart
- Pennsylvania investigators get truck to aid in finding child predators
- Largest wave of Allegheny County students welcomed back to school