The melodrama in Washington continues. Since the election, folks have been wondering what budget cuts President Obama would propose in return for the tax increase on the rich. He gave us a hint this week: none.
The President was reelected with the idea he would raise taxes $0.8 Trillion on the rich and would propose budget cuts about $2 Trillion to reduce the deficit. But now he is asking for $1.6 Trillion in taxes, and says it is up to the Republicans in Congress, not him, to cut expenses.
Now, suppose the Republican, Mitt Romney, had been elected President. Would he have waited for the Congressional Democrats to propose cuts? Of course not. The President is the leader. Maybe he only wants to play Santa Claus, but if you’re $16 Trillion in debt, sometimes a President has to play Scrooge.
Instead of suggesting anywhere near $5 Trillion in cuts, he wants to ADD $300 billion in new spending. That reminds me of the old negotiating story: a farmer advertised a pig for sale for $10. A buyer offered $8. The farmer says, “Let’s compromise. $10.50.” The buyer says, “How about $8.50.” Then suddenly he realizes, “Hey, you just raised the price, not lowered it.” The farmer chuckles, “You’re sharp. You got me. I’ll let you have the pig for only $11.”
House Speaker John Boehner said today, “We’re going to solve the Nation’s debt problem.” Well, I’ve got my doubts. Our “debt problem”is $16 Trillion and it’s increasing a Trillion a year. Here’s how to check if Mr. Boehner is right. If you’re young, and an optimist, make a note on your calendar for December 2022 to see if the debt is lower or higher than $16 Trillion. For us old folks, if we can make it a year, we can check on it next December.
Solving our budget problem takes common sense. Find the common ground we can agree on. Ask what the Constitution requires, and what can we do without or get funded by state and local governments or privately. If you absolutely need more revenue, it’ll come from those that have got it. If you have to make cuts, those cuts will come from those who are getting it. As the President might say, that’s the balanced approach.
The college football season is winding down. Notre Dame and Alabama will decide the championship Jan. 7, and a bunch of other teams will play in bowls before then. Don’t be shocked if you see the President battling the Republicans in the “Fiscal Cliff Bowl” on Dec. 31.
Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“Do you know I used to play a pretty good end, that is a substitute end. I don’t think they ever used me, but the rough way they were playing in those days, that didn’t hurt my feelings any, not getting in there. I played what you might call a Wide End. I would play out so far that the other 21 would be pretty well piled up before I could possibly reach ’em.” Will Rogers, WA #627, Dec. 30, 1934