Friday, August 19, 2011

What are words for, when no one listens anymore?

During his Midwest swing of not-campaigning, President Obama promised a "very specific" plan to create jobs and control the deficit. Charles Krauthammer takes a guess:
He will propose: spend now, cut later. That’s going to be in the speech, I guarantee it. It will be: You’ve got to have stimulus now, perhaps tax cuts, surely spending on the roads and bridges and all of that stuff. That you hear about endlessly.
Undoubtedly. Ace thinks this is all a setup to go "full Truman" so Obama can rail against the "do-nothing" Congress.
So here is the plan: He will "challenge" the Republican House to pass a new "stimulus" plan which is (this is my gloss; this he did not say) unpalatable by design to the GOP. That is, his challenge is designed to be rejected.
My emphasis added. In other words, this jobs plan is designed to save one job in particular.

But let's put that speculation aside for now since my question is more prosaic: can Obama put forward a "very specific" plan for the economy without putting it on paper? This has been the knock against Obama since his budget was unanimously voted down in Congress and the head of the CBO famously said: "We don't estimate speeches." Obama talks and talks and talks, but actual budget plans with numbers prove elusive from this President.

In my opinion, Obama can't bring any real pressure on Congress without an actual Excel spreadsheet showing the income and expenses. Another speech will be dismissed by Congressional Republicans out-of-hand as grandstanding and campaigning - not leading. But, by the same coin, I don't see how Obama could possibly present a credible plan with realistic numbers. Despite his Warren Buffet-inspired bit about getting the rich to pay their "fair share" even a 100% tax on the rich won't close the gap on this Administration's spending binge.

So will Obama finally take on entitlement spending which will overwhelm the entire budget in only a decade? Ha-ha, not a chance: "Mediscare" is like crack to Democrats. There is no way that Obama will head into the 2012 without his "protector of entitlements" shield.

So - realistically - after two-and-a-half years of useless Keynesian spending stimulus, there's no combination of income increases and expense cuts that can bridge the yawning deficit gap that remains. Which is why Obama won't put numbers to paper. Time for another speech.

Missing Persons, indeed.

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