No Plan, No Problem! Obama Isn’t Serious about Reducing the Deficit

The following came in from the National Republican Congressional Committee:

President Obama referred to the deficit 11 times in his State of the Union speech and stated that reducing spending is key to “win the future”:

"We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That's how our people will prosper. That's how we'll win the future. (Applause.) And tonight, I'd like to talk about how we get there.'" (“Obama’s Second State of the Union,” The New York Times, 1/25/2011)

But Obama’s speech offered little in the way of specifics, even as the Congressional Budget Office announced record deficit projections of $1.5 Trillion for FY2011:

"The ledger did not appear to be adding up Tuesday night when President Barack Obama urged more spending on one hand and a spending freeze on the other. …

“Obama offered far more examples of where he would spend than where he would cut, and some of the areas he identified for savings are not certain to yield much if anything.” (Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Obama and His Imbalanced Ledger,” Associated Press, 1/26/2011)

“The budget deficit is now estimated to have widened this year to $1.5 trillion, the CBO said. …

“If the nation continues on its current path, the CBO said, the total national debt will rise from 40 percent of GDP in 2008 to 70 percent by the end of 2011, reaching 77 percent of GDP by 2021.(Eric Wasson, “CBO: Deficit widened to $1.5 trillion this year,” The Hill, 1/26/2011)

Obama’s vague platitudes drew criticism from Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee:

“Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Thursday that his panel might have to take the lead in solving the nation’s long-term budget problems. …

“Significantly, Conrad, who has announced he will not seek reelection in two years, did not defend Obama when he spoke. He said his panel might have to take the lead on the budget if the White House did not conduct a budgetary summit with lawmakers.” (Erik Wasson, “Dem, GOP suggest at hearing that Obama is failing to lead in budget crisis,” The Hill, 1/27/2011)

Other left-leaning and independent commentators echoed Conrad’s concerns about Obama’s lack of seriousness regarding deficit reduction:

“The state of the union is ... leaderless. …

“The president talks the talk about fiscal responsibility. But the evidence suggests he's not willing to spend the political capital to translate that talk into action.” (Ruth Marcus, “The State of the Union Is Leaderless,” Real Clear Politics, 1/28/2011)

“President Obama entered office promising to be a different kind of politician - one who would speak honestly with the American people about the hard choices they face and would help make those hard calls. Tuesday night's State of the Union Address would have been the moment to make good on that promise. He disappointed.(Editorial Board, “A Disappointing State of the Union address,” The Washington Post, 1/25/2011)

“It was a teachable moment -- and Barack Obama didn't teach…

“What we got were empty platitudes. We won't be "buried under a mountain of debt," Obama declared. Heck, we're already buried. We will "win the future." Not by deluding ourselves, we won't. Americans think deficits are someone else's problem that can be cured by taxing the rich (say liberals) or ending wasteful spending (conservatives). Obama indulged these fantasies. …

“Obama's expedient evasion is the opposite of presidential leadership. It maximizes short-term approval ratings while running long-term risks.” (Robert Samuelson, “Obama’s Empty Evasion,” Real Clear Politics, 1/27/2011)

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