Debt Wish: Say My Name

Debt Wish: Say My Name

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Debt Wish: Say My Name

For years, President Obama promised meaningful reform to entitlement programs, and for years, Washington refused to take any action.  This weekend, with the majority of Americans hoping the president would lay out a clear path to reduce spending and get our deficits and debt under control, he barely paid lip service to those issues. Entitlement reform was notably absent and the idea of deficit reduction was “almost mocked.”  Talk is cheap on our overspending problem, but now it appears to be not even worth mentioning.

ENTITLEMENT REFORM NOTABLY ABSENT FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS; DEFICIT REDUCTION “ALMOST MOCKED”

POLITICO:Obama Dodges ‘Hard Choices’ On Entitlements.” (Carrie Budoff Brown, “Obama Dodges ‘Hard Choices’ On Entitlements,” POLITICO, 1/22/13)

  • Entitlements “Lurking Like A Legacy Killer.” “Unless Obama seizes the opportunity in the next few months, entitlement reform will hang over his second term, lurking like a legacy-killer if he hands off the task to the next president, deficit hawks warn.” (Carrie Budoff Brown, “Obama Dodges ‘Hard Choices’ On Entitlements,” POLITICO, 1/22/13)
  • “Hard Choices” Remain. “President Barack Obama insisted four years ago that the nation must make ‘hard decisions’ to preserve entitlement programs. But on Monday, the ‘hard choices’ he spoke of on health care and the deficit came with a major caveat: He’s not willing to give up much.” (Carrie Budoff Brown, “Obama Dodges ‘Hard Choices’ On Entitlements,” POLITICO, 1/22/13)

Obama Most Likely “Done On The Entitlement, Spending Front.” “It’s still possible that something big could come out of the upcoming sequestration/budget battle, but most likely, Obama is done on the entitlement, spending front. And realistically, this may be the end of serious entitlement talk for a long while.” (Joseph Wiesenthal, “Obama’s Inauguration Speech Dealt A Devastating Blow To Deficit Hawks,” Business Insider, 1/22/13)

Business Insider: “Obama’s Inauguration Speech Dealt A Devastating Blow To Deficit Hawks” (Joseph Wiesenthal, “Obama’s Inauguration Speech Dealt A Devastating Blow To Deficit Hawks,” Business Insider, 1/22/13)

  • Obama “Almost Mocked The Idea Of Deficit Reduction.” “The real bombshell was what he [Obama] didn’t include, however. He could have included a serious paragraph about a ‘Grand Bargain’ to reduce the deficit. … Instead, he only addressed it in a half-hearted manner. In fact, he almost mocked the idea of deficit reduction.” (Joseph Wiesenthal, “Obama’s Inauguration Speech Dealt A Devastating Blow To Deficit Hawks,” Business Insider, 1/22/13)
  • Instead Of Fiscal Discipline, Obama Defends Costly Status Quo. “[A]mid calls to impose discipline on the federal budget, he defended the value of a costly social safety net, describing it as a critical support for Americans willing to ‘to take the risks that make this country great.’” (Zachary Goldfarb, “In Inaugural Address, Obama Outlines Second-Term Economic Plans,” The Washington Post, 1/21/13)
  • Deficit Ship Has Sailed. “Prior to today, there had been some talk that Obama would pursue deficit reduction, as part of his legacy project in his second term. But it’s pretty clear that ship has sailed.” (Joseph Wiesenthal, “Obama’s Inauguration Speech Dealt A Devastating Blow To Deficit Hawks,” Business Insider, 1/22/13)

“WE NEED … ENTITLEMENT REFORM”

Senior Obama Advisers Acknowledge Need For Entitlement Reform:

White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe: “We need spending cuts and entitlement reform and revenue. Have to have that.” (“David Plouffe: Revenue Debate Not Over,” ABC News, 1/20/13)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “It is the president’s position that when we’re talking about a broad, balanced approach to dealing with our fiscal challenges, that that includes dealing with entitlements.” (Stephen Ohlemacher, “Senate Dems Divided Over Cuts To Benefit Programs,” The Associated Press, 11/28/12)

Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “If we don’t do some common sense rational things, in 20 years or in 15 years or even in 10 years, we’re going to have a budget that is completely taken up by entitlements and the pentagon.” (Robert Gibbs, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, 1/22/13)

Obama Pledged To Reform Entitlements Four Years Ago:

Pledged To Overhaul Medicare, Social Security In First Term. “[Obama] pledged during the 2008 campaign to overhaul Medicare and Social Security in his first term, saying he couldn’t finish the job in his first two years but ‘we’ve got to do it quickly.’” (Carrie Budoff Brown, “Obama Dodges ‘Hard Choices’ On Entitlements,” POLITICO, 1/22/13)

  • Entitlement Reform “Central” To Containing Spending. “As president-elect, Obama said entitlement reform would be ‘a central part’ of his administration’s attempts to contain federal spending.” (Carrie Budoff Brown, “Obama Dodges ‘Hard Choices’ On Entitlements,” POLITICO, 1/22/13)

Widely Reported That Obama Was Willing To Address Entitlements. “During the debt ceiling fight and the fiscal cliff fight, Obama was (widely reportedly) willing to make cuts to entitlements in exchange for higher taxes from Republicans.”  (Joseph Wiesenthal, “Obama’s Inauguration Speech Dealt A Devastating Blow To Deficit Hawks,” Business Insider, 1/22/13)

“Obama Pledges Reform of Social Security, Medicare Programs” (in 2009): “What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further,” [President Obama] said. “We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.” (Michael D. Shear, “Obama Pledges Reform of Social Security, Medicare Programs,” The Washington Post, 1/16/09)

BUT AMERICANS STILL WANT WASHINGTON TO STOP SPENDING AND REDUCE OUR DEBT AND DEFICITS

New Public Notice Poll: Majority Of Americans Wanted President Obama To Address Specific Spending Cuts In Inaugural Address.  “Seventy-four percent disagree and 22 percent agree with President Obama’s statement that ‘We don’t have a spending problem.’  In fact, 56 percent say it is extremely or very important that President Obama call for specific spending cuts in his upcoming Inaugural address.” (Public Notice Poll, “Majority Of Americans Disagree With President On Spending,” The Tarrance Group, 1/18/13)

Spending Remains A Top Issue. “Spending and the federal deficit are tied with jobs and the economy as the top concern on people’s minds (29 percent).  The next top concern is education at 11 percent.” (Public Notice Poll, “Majority Of Americans Disagree With President On Spending,” The Tarrance Group, 1/18/13)