Speechworld vs. Realworld
The widening gulf between Obama’s rhetoric and reality
The Democrats seem to have given up on budgets. Hey, who can blame them? They’ve got a ballpark figure: Let’s raise $2 trillion in revenue every year, and then spend $4 trillion. That seems to work pretty well, so why get hung up on a lot of fine print? Harry Reid says the Senate has no plans to produce a budget, but in April the president did give a speech about “a new budget framework” that he said would save $4 trillion over the next twelve years.
That would be 2023, if you’re minded to take him seriously. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, did. Last week he asked Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, if he’d “estimated the budget impact of this framework. “No, Mr. Chairman,” replied Director Elmendorf, deadpan. “We don’t estimate speeches. We need much more specificity than was provided in that speech.”
Hmmmm. There IS a term for managing something that involves finance without a budget: mismanagement!
In Realworld, political speeches would be about closing down unnecessary federal bureaucracies, dramatically downsizing or merging others, and ending makework projects and mission creep. The culture of excess that distinguishes the hyperpower at twilight would be reviled at every turn. But instead the “hugely persuasive” orator declares that there’s nothing to worry about that even more government can’t cure. In Speechworld, “no hill is too steep, no horizon is beyond our reach.” In Realworld, that’s mainly because we’re going downhill. And the horizon is a cliff edge.
Any hope of that? Not under the current regime apparently:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Small Business Committee on Wednesday that the Obama administration believes taxes on small business must increase so the administration does not have to “shrink the overall size of government programs.”
First observation here: Why don’t we have the government shrink? Must be a version of “Too big to fail.” That would be consistent for Geitner, et al.
I think we’re getting to the real root of the problem on this one!