Free Markets, Free People

Obama not serious about debt ceiling or deficit

There’s a story out in the Washington Post about Obama’s supposed willingness to make cuts to entitlements, specifically Social Security.   Also out today is a story in The Hill concerning proposals to make much deeper cuts to defense spending than previously proposed.  All of this has to do with the debt ceiling debate.

The question I ask is what is really behind the Obama willingness to cut (or claim to be open to cutting) Social Security.  Is it real or is it just politics?

Combine that with increased cuts in defense and one has to question what the administration is or isn’t really willing to do?  My conclusion?  The Social Security cut proposal is smoke and mirrors.  The defense cuts are real, i.e. that’s where Obama and the Democrats are willing to go and go deep.  Why have I concluded that?  Well, two paragraphs, one in each story, give the game away.

First Social Security:

Privately, some congressional Democrats were alarmed by the president’s proposal, which could include adjusting the measure of inflation used to determine Social Security payouts. But others described it as primarily a bargaining strategy intended to demonstrate Obama’s willingness to compromise and highlight the Republican refusal to raise taxes.

A president running for re-election is not going to condone cuts in Social Security in an election year.   Politics 101.  Not. Going. To. Happen. 

But … he comes from a base constituency which would be fine with deep cuts to defense (disclaimer: there are cuts to defense that can be made – that’s understood – but not at the level they’re proposing).  Here’s the paragraph from The Hill story that tells you how serious Obama is about cutting spending – he gave it away at his “Twitter Townhall” yesterday:

During his first-ever Twitter town hall meeting Wednesday, Obama said the Defense budget is so large that even modest cuts to it would free up dollars for other federal programs.

Of course the budget is “large”, thanks to him we’re involved in our third war.  But that’s not the key takeaway from this paragraph.  Notice what he’s talking about for the dollars freed up by cuts.  Debt reduction?   Nope – further spending.

But it is more than clear that Obama is willing to gut defense and attempt to claim radical spending reductions on the back of the national security apparatus as a means of satisfying voters concerned about debt.  The $400 billion in DoD cuts has already been declared dangerous.  $700 billion would most likely be crippling.  With the first, you would trim mostly fat, but have a good chance of cutting critical muscle (i.e. critical programs such as the F-35).  With $700 billion in cuts, to continue the analogy, you’re cutting through muscle straight to the bone.

Defense spending is not sacrosanct and as I mention above, there are certainly cuts to be made.  But the problem with spending isn’t to be found there.  It is and always has been in entitlements.  President Obama has no intention of cutting Social Security – bet on it.   Unless such cuts for both Medicare and Social Security are made and restructuring of both programs seriously undertaken, what is happening (other than defense cuts) can’t be taken seriously and represents the politics at its worst.

Not that anyone should be surprised, considering the political class we’ve elected to represent us.


Twitter: @McQandO


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7 Responses to Obama not serious about debt ceiling or deficit

  • There really is only one thing Obama IS serious about;
    the fundamental transformation of the United States.  Everything else with him is just going through the motions.

  • Obama not serious about debt ceiling or deficit

    I’d like to meet somebody who genuinely thinks that he is.

    My guess is that Captain Bullsh*t will follow the standard democrat playbook: get the suckers in the GOP to agree to tax increases revenue enhancements NOW in return for a pinky-swearz promise to seriously consider the possibility of frank discussions about potential savings that might be gotten from a decrease in the rate of increase of some entitlement programs later, so long as they don’t negatively impact the most vulnerable among us, including women, children, minorities, the poor, the elderly, the sick, women who are children of sick, elderly minorities, children who will become elderly, sick women, poor children who are the grandchildren of minority elderly poor people, union members, federal bureaucrats, members of Congress, their staffs, their spouses, their spouses’ staffs, their spouses’ staffs’ friends, etc.

    McQ Notice what he’s talking about for the dollars freed up by cuts.  Debt reduction?   Nope – further spending.

    Again, standard playbook: save money here to spend it over there.  Meanwhile, the debt continues to mount.  Because, you know, the country will collapse if Uncle Sugar doesn’t keep spending and spending and spending.


  • During the Carter Administration, we faced these same problems.  One day, an entire fighter squadron at Homestead AFB, FL went to the military personnel office en masse and submitted their resignations.  McDonnell Douglas was building 8 F15s a month and General Dynamics, fewer F16s.  Unit costs were so high, MD offered to sell the USAF 4 F15s for the cost of 5 F16s.  The airlines were raiding military aircraft maintenance.  Senior NCOs extended their enlistments until after the election.  A friend called me and said, “Arch.  You know all those stories about working 11 days a month and making double what the USAF pays?  All those stories about telling the stewardesses you can’t come to their rooms because you have a head ache?  They’re all true!”
    My response would get me banned.

  • Found at PJM…
    Quote of the day
    “We will have to make tough decisions about Defense spending, or even on programs that I like.”*
    -President Barack Obama, Twitter townhall event.
    Kinda says a lot in a few words.  A Kensleyian faux pas.

  • What does all this talk of uninhibited spending tell the average citizen? Consequences of spending beyond all our means doesn’t matter? Why don’t we all run-up as much debt as we can, and just walk away? May that was the Anointed Ones goal all along, to collapse the country from within. Now where have I heard that before?

  • You could delete the ‘about debt ceiling or deficit’
    I wonder if republicans are smart enough to leak Obama’s Social Security cut proposal, or even privately leak something even worse.  Obama proposed to eliminate the COLA?  Eliminate SS for anyone earning over $80k?  Obama is trying to throw Grandma off the cliff!
    Obama is not serious, and is going to demogogue.  Demogogue him back.