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)
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire; -The Gods of the Copybook Headings-Rudyard Kipling
During the 2008 campaign, I explained to my friend and teacher Professor Barry Rubin, that people will not realize what Barack Obama was all about until he is elected but by then it will be too late. By the end of 2009 Rubin (a traditional liberal) was agreeing with me that the presidency of Barack Obama was turning into a disaster.
Today America chose to reelect Barack Obama for another term as President and just as I said four years ago, I believe that America will now learn about the real Barack Obama, the one who never has to worry about getting voter approval, satisfying campaign donors. This Obama will be more radical then he has ever been before.
Allow me to provide some insight into what happened, and take a look into the future:
Negative Advertising Works: Obama’s “machine” accused Romney of causing a steel worker’s wife to die from cancer, not paying taxes, hating poor people, wanting bad air, hating sick children, wanting to ban contraception and wanting to kill grandma. Romney’s supporters were accused of being racist and in at least one case (me) of being anti-Semitic. While the Republicans were still fighting it out in the primaries Obama was already bombarding the swing states with the negative ads. In the end they were too hard to overcome.
Benedict Arnold: Also known as NJ Governor Chris Christie. While many of us were trying to get power and looking for a way to stay warm, Christie was giving Obama a platform to look presidential at disaster for the first time (with BP for example it took months before Obama visited the Gulf). Christie’s motivation was not to help his state (it didn’t– New Jersey is much worse off than Long Island) but to help his own reelection chances. Thanks to the Governor’s efforts for five days the Romney campaign couldn’t “buy” coverage and all we saw was that same picture of the Republican Governor and the Progressive President walking arm in arm. The exit polls mentioned the President’s handling of Hurricane Sandy as a big positive and influencer.
The Jewish Vote: Exit polls showed that Obama received 68% of the Jewish vote, the lowest percentage since Michael Dukakas received 64% in 1988. Based on his track record on Israel and the First Amendment that number is way too high. While the Orthodox voters tend to vote more conservatively, the Reform movement which doesn’t have the same theological connection to the Jewish State as the other branches, and the Conservative movement which claims a strong connection abandoned the future of Israel to continue worshipping the “golden calf” of big government. Many Jewish organizations did the same, such as the ADL, the Jewish Federations and the AJC.
The Economy: The “Fiscal Cliff” is coming January first. Increased taxes because of Obamacare (also known as Taxmageddon) and the tax increases that will be coming because of the end of the “Bush tax cuts.” Analysts say this fiscal cliff will drive us back into recession.
What about Grandma? Sorry Folks, but enjoy your grandparents now, because unless someone finds a way to get the courts to strike it down–Obamacare is now the law.
In an August interview with Chris Wallace, Presidential advisor Robert Gibbs admitted the existence of what Sarah Palin called “death panels,” who’s official name is the IPAB.
Gibbs: “If Medicare providers continue to do what we are doing. Right now, under the old program, Chris, if a senior got readmitted over and over and over to the hospital for the same illness, they got paid every single time the senior got admitted into the hospital. Why not strengthen the benefit by adding preventive health care to it and trying to ensure that the patient gets accountable care and treated before they get that disease.”
Wallace: “If the providers don’t do it, then what happens is, under your plan, this unelected board, 15 bureaucrats come in and they decide what, well, you are laughing at it but that is it. The IPAB.”
Gibbs: “I guess I am laughing at your characterization of it.”
Wallace: “Are they an elected board?”
Gibbs: “They are medical professionals, they are people we trust to make medical decisions.”
Wallace: “Are they elected by anybody? They are an unaccountable unelected board that comes in and will make decisions on what the providers and what hospitals have to do and Congress either has to vote it all up or all down.”
There are certain things that will happen in the near future as a direct result of the Obama victory:
Justice Ginsberg will resign. She is the most progressive Justice on the Supreme Court and has been fighting serious illness for years. With a liberal Justice guaranteed to replace her, look for Ginsberg to announce her retirement at the end of the present court year.
Israel will attack Iran before the end of the year. With an unfriendly president, reluctant to place additional sanctions on Iran as commander-in-chief of her biggest ally; look for Israel to strike while the iron is hot. Remember the bomb drawing Netanyahu showed at the UN? It’s getting to that time and now Israel knows it cannot expect political help from America leaving her no alternative.
A fight for the future of the Republican Party. Beginning tomorrow there will be a fight for the soul of the GOP. The issue will be whether the party will be an “almost as liberal as the Democrats” party, or will be dominated by the more conservative members—giving Americans a real two-party system. Look for the apex of the battle to be the vote for Speaker of the House as many conservatives are calling for John Boehner’s head. If the Boehner wing wins out, you may see a third party arise.
Gridlock. During the debate over the stimulus plan, the GOP asked to participate in crafting the stimulus, they were rebuffed and told “elections have consequences.” The same thing happened during the health care debate. Obama has refused to engage the other side of the aisle. That will not change, the gridlock we saw for the past two years will continue.
When I was a child my Mother, of blessed memory, used to tell me over and over that I could be anything I wanted to be providing I worked hard enough. I passed those feelings to my children. As we enter another four years of an Obama presidency I wonder if my kids will be able to say the same thing to their children, or will it be more of a progressive, “when you grow up, you can be the same as everybody else.”
Near the end of the first year of the Obama Presidency, my friend and teacher Barry Rubin told me my predictions about Obama were true. I pray that a year from now he wont say the same thing to me regarding my outlook for the next four years, but fear I will be correct.
So pray for the future of this great experiment we call the American Republic, pray for the future of Israel and as Bette Davis said in All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy flight.
Cross-Posted at The Lid
The DNC Is Plagued By Money Troubles And Obama’s Worst Surrogate
JUST A FEW WEEKS OUT FROM ITS CONVENTION, THE DNC’S FUNDRAISING OPERATION IS IN DIRE STRAITS
In July, The DNC Raised About $10 Million, While Spending $32 Million, Leaving It With Just $15.4 Million Cash On Hand. “Early reports showed the Democratic National Committee spent about $14 million in coordinated advertising with Obama. That’s as the DNC raised roughly $10 million in July while also spending $32 million, leaving the party with about $15.4 million in the bank by month’s end.” (Jack Gillum, “Obama, DNC Spending Exceeded Donations In July,” The Associated Press, 8/20/12)
“The DNC Alone, Meanwhile, Raised Nearly $10 Million In July – Less Than Half The Amount The Committee Collected In June, According To Federal Reports Filed By The Committee Today.” (Dave Levinthal and Tarini Parti, “Obama Campaign Spent More Than It Raised In July,” Politico, 8/20/12)
- “The Committee Spent Nearly $32 Million In July, Leaving $15.4 Million In Its Reserves.” (Federal Election Commission,Accessed 8/20/12)
- “It Also Ended The Month $4.5 Million In The Hole.” (Federal Election Commission,Accessed 8/20/12)
- In June, The DNC Raised $20.5 Million And Spent $12.7 Million. (Federal Election Commission, Accessed 8/20/12)
DNC CHAIR REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) RANKS “DEAD LAST” FOR HER EFFECTIVENESS AS AN OBAMA SURROGATE
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Obama’s Pick For DNC Chair, Became A “Headache” For The Campaign. “Another headache hidden behind the no-drama veil soon cropped up, in the person of the Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Obama’s choice to head the Democratic National Committee. After a long internal debate in early 2011, Obama’s team had picked Wasserman Schultz on her strengths as a battleground-state surrogate and fund-raiser. She was chosen over the former Ohio governor Ted Strickland, but the decision was a close one.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)
- Wasserman Schultz “Grated On Chicago .” “From the start, Wasserman Schultz grated on Chicago. She insisted the DNC hire a handful of her top congressional aides. While she was a tough and effective cable warrior and a serious fundraiser, she tended to do better on MSNBC and struck too harsh a partisan tone when she crossed over to the Sunday shows, they thought.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)
A Focus Group Commissioned By The Obama Campaign On Surrogate Effectiveness Ranked Wasserman Schultz “Dead Last.” “She won the skirmish but lost the war- eventually becoming marginalized. Her fate, to be fair, has been shared by many a party chief in an election year, but by spring some in Obama’s orbit were openly speculating about how much better things might have been under Strickland or Villaraigosa. No sooner had that speculation died down than Wasserman Schultz called Chicago to ask why her national TV appearances, especially on the Sunday shows, had dropped off. The campaign dropped a bomb on her. A focus group, secretly conducted by Binder’s company, was commissioned by the campaign to rank the relative effectiveness of various in-house Obama surrogates. The results, which were made available to me, placed Robert Gibbs at the top. Cutter was second (a later version of the poll placed Jen Psaki, who was soon to return to the fold as Obama’s traveling press secretary, third). Axelrod did pretty well. Plouffe and Press Secretary Jay Carney, not so much. Wasserman Schultz ranked dead last.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)
Oh happy day! Gibbs annouces that he’ll be leaving his post after the State of the Union. This is good news as we’ve always held the opinion that Gibbs was unfit for the position of Press Secretary, acting more like a minster of propaganda.
The departure of Gibbs as the chief spokesman has been rumored for weeks, but it was unclear whether he would stay in another job within the administration or whether he would leave the White House to work for Obama from outside.
Gibbs confirmed this morning that he will leave sometime in early February, after the president delivers his State of the Union speech to the new Congress.
Time to write your “tell all”….