Thanks for all your comments on the speech in the previous post. Lots of great ones. Here’s my take:
IS ANYBODY RUNNING THIS COUNTRY??
We have some big problems in the United States. They are:
1. The deficit
2. The three wars we are involved in: Afghanistan, Iraq and the battle against Islamist terrorism.
3. The mortal threat posed by the development of nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea.
Obama treated these issues like they are being faced by Bhutan instead the United States, and it should be left to the leadership of Bhutan to solve them. He pretended that the biggest problems facing the United States have something to do with not spending enough money.
I’m doing a piece for POLITICO tomorrow in which I’ll discuss this in detail.
But I’ll offer a few comments here.
You can only erase a $1 trillion annual deficit by tackling entitlements. Social Security is generally held to be the “easiest” of the entitlement nightmares to fix. Here’s what Obama said:
We should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.
That is, we need to solve the Social Security solvency crisis BY USING MAGIC.
Notice how instead of saying how he will fix Social Security, he describes the ways in which he will REFUSE to fix. That’s where the passion is.
Obama also made clear the tough medicine prescribed by his own deficit commission is stuck in a pillbox with an adult-safe cap. He embraced none of their specific recommendations.
The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.
Really? They concluded you need to cut spending to reduce the deficit? At least we are all now aware of this.
Paul Ryan in his response wasn’t much better. Yes, he focused on the deficit, which was good. But he too was unwilling to upset anybody’s evening with some specific ideas.
I wish at least Obama went to church more often. Then at least I could feel that perhaps he was trying to solve our problems through prayer.