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There’s something sad about a man so carelessly revealing himself as entirely inadequate to the moment. Government spending is an existential threat to the United States. Whether or not anyone at the White House knows this, the viziers decided to shove the sultan out on stage with a pitifully unserious speech retreating to all his lamest tropes – the usual whiny, petty, and unpresidential partisan snippiness, and the ponderous demolition of straw men even he barely bothered to pretend he believed in:
Politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse – that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices.
Yeah, right. Why don’t we start by eliminating whatever dope got paid to write that sentence?
This speech failed Rich’s “What’s yours?” test. In fact, it more or less declared to the world that this administration has no plan, and has no plan to plan on getting a plan anytime soon. But America is not Greece. There is no Germany to bail us out. Only we can do it. And the president just signaled to the world that that’s not going to happen. Here’s one example of his and his speechwriters’ hideous laziness:
If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them… South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science.
That last bit is true – but it’s nothing to do with money. According to the most recent OECD figures (2007), the Koreans spent $5,437 per primary-school pupil; we spent $10,229. For education as a whole, the Koreans spent $7,325 per pupil; we spent $14,269. They not only “outpace our kids in math and science”; they do it by only spending half as much.
That’s the problem, and whichever hack speechwriter put those ridiculous words in the president’s mouth surely knew it. As did the president. We spend more than anyone but the Swiss on education, and by any rational measure at least half of it is entirely wasted: That model is why this country is dying, and the president just went on TV and bragged to the world he has no plans to change it.
The whole speech was like that, a litany of brain-dead slapdash rhetorical questions that for sentient beings are no longer rhetorical: My fellow Americans, do we want an America where our most lethargic and mediocre youth are denied a leisurely half-decade acquiring a fraudulent six-figure credential in some worthless pseudo-discipline simply because we can’t afford it?
Well, it’d be a start.
Back in February, Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, promoted the White House’s allegedly draconian budget cuts in The New York Times.
Saying Obama was going to cut the 2012 budget to the bone, Lew droned on about the “difficult” cuts to “important” programs and the “many tough choices and deep cuts” in the proposed budget.
All told, the White House’s brutal, Depression-era austerity plan would have snipped a couple of billion from our multi-trillion dollar federal budget.
Finally. A serious budget plan. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposal has the head-in-the-sand crowd horrified. A Washington Post columnist called it “radical… irresponsible… extreme.”
Ryan’s plan offers some great things: less spending than President Obama wants; a path to a balanced budget; repeal of Obamacare; an end to corporate welfare. And it would make the social safety net sustainable rather than open-ended and going broke.
It even inspired President Obama to say he’d come out with his own deficit plan, although he reportedly “will not offer details,” just “goals.”
We calibrate California’s decline by its myriad of paradoxes. The nation’s highest bundle of gas, sales, and income taxes cannot close the nation’s largest annual deficit at $25 billion. Test scores are at the country’s near bottom; teachers’ salaries at the very top. Scores of the affluent are leaving each week; scores of the indigent are arriving.
The nation’s most richly endowed state is also the most regulated; the most liberal of our residents are also the most ready to practice apartheid in their Bel Air or Palo Alto enclaves.
We now see highway patrolmen and city police, in the manner of South American law enforcement, out in force.
I’ve often said that I wish there were some humane way to get rid of the rich. If you asked why, I’d answer that getting rid of the rich would save us from distraction by leftist hustlers promoting the politics of envy. Not having the rich to fret over might enable us to better focus our energies on what’s in the best interest of the 99.99 percent of the rest of us.
Let’s look at some facts about the rich laid out by Bill Whittle citing statistics on his RealClearPolitics video “Eat the Rich.”
This year, Congress will spend $3.7 trillion dollars. That turns out to be about $10 billion per day. Can we prey upon the rich to cough up the money?
It’s time for a 21st-century retirement age. If 40 is the new 20 and 50 is the new 30, why shouldn’t 70 be the new 65?
The last time Washington politicians tinkered ever so gingerly with the government-sanctioned retirement age, Ronald Reagan was in office and Generation X-ers were all in diapers. Since then, American life expectancy has increased by half a decade and continues to rise – while the “traditional” retirement age (established eight decades ago) has only recently begun phasing up to 67 and the official “early” retirement age (established four decades ago) remains stuck at 62.
There is simply no good reason 21st-century workers should operate under obsolete 1930s-era expectations and 1970s rules.
Someone once said that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. That may have been true when he said it, but today taxes are mostly the price we pay so that politicians can play Santa Claus and get reelected.
That’s not the worst of it. We may think of taxes as just a source of government revenue. But tax rates are a big political statement on the left, whether they bring in any revenue or not.
For more than 80 years, the political Left has opposed what it calls “tax cuts for the rich.” But big cuts in very high tax rates ended up bringing in more revenue to the government in the Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush 43 administrations.
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