Diary

On debt limit battle, it’s Obama and the establishment versus middle class Americans

“We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation. Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.”
–Vice President Joe Biden at an Alexandria, Virginia event to promote more government deficit spending, July 16, 2009.

Two years ago today, Vice President Joe Biden admitted the absurdity of the Obama Democrats’ position on the federal budget: we must burn down the village to save it. Or as he put it, the United States is going broke, and to fix it, we need to borrow and spend more money we don’t have.

That has been the Obama Doctrine since his election, right up through his most recent budget blueprint, which plans to add $13 TRILLION to our existing federal debt over the next decade.

Only someone who hates your kids and mine would plan to take $13 trillion more from our kids and grandkids over the next decade to spend on his pet projects.

But the sad truth is, many in the GOP establishment are not that far off from the Obama Democrats’ position in support of an endless sea of red ink.

The establishment cannot comprehend what conservative and Tea Party “wackos” find so alarming about a bankrupt US, or a generation for the first time handing over a weaker America to our kids than the one we inherited.

A significant part of the disconnect comes from politicians being so far divorced from the problems of daily life. Understand: there is no jobless/growthless recovery inside the Beltway. Here, it is morning in America. DC-area unemployment was just 5.7 % in May 2011. Forty-four states have higher unemployment than that, including 24 states with unemployment at least 50% higher; just six states have a lower rate than the DC area. The only major metropolitan area with housing prices rising over the last 12 months? The Beltway. In short, politicians live in Fantasy Land. (The Beltway is recession-proof because it takes a cut of every Federal tax dollar generously [and naively] sent here by Americans, but that’s an essay for another day.)

Living as they are in boom times, you can almost forgive politicians for not understanding that there are desolate downtown streets TODAY in York, PA, Naples, FL and San Jose, CA, to name just a few places where many people are struggling.

This creates opportunity, but also great danger for Republicans. If the GOP screws this up, they risk a credible conservative “spoiler” for the 2012 presidential race, as well as an imperiled House majority—not to mention primary defeats for some high-profile incumbents.

Nor will a phony deal protect the establishment from voter wrath. We know that “guaranteed” spending cuts promised six or more years from today are 100% fictitious; that “savings” in years 2 to 5 are mostly spurious; and that even “cuts” in years 0-2 can be gamed, as we saw in the bogus budget deal earlier this year.

There is another way. Daily, relentless truth telling to the American people that the days of eating our kids’ seed corn truly must end; that our future will be grim and jobless and growthless unless we rein in federal spending and end the war on job creators; and that everyone under 50 is going to have to save more for their own retirement.

The best hope for all of us is unleashing private sector economic growth—not phony bubbles—but real growth through innovation, increased productivity and good old hard work. We may even have to turn off the television once in a while. And we need adults in Washington who put the future of our nation ahead of their own power and greed.

That means a debt deal that cuts current spending now, not just through unenforceable and completely phony out year reductions. It also means amending the U.S. Constitution to limit federal spending to a sustainable portion of the private economy. And sure, replacing corporate welfare with pro-growth, lower corporate tax rates would be great. Who knows? Perhaps Obama’s Government Electric (GE) would even pay some U.S. taxes for a change.

Joe Biden is right about one thing. Absent extraordinary voter mobilization, “We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation.” If Obama is given a blank check now to keep weakening America with ruinous debt, we’ll retire the establishment of both parties on Election Day 16 months from now.

The writer is co-author of the page-per-day 2012 Obama Calendar, which will debut in October.