"This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You"
When I got a spanking as a kid my father always used to say that it hurt him more than it hurt me. I knew he was full of shit, even at the age of five. And I know it now:
Faced with growing annual budget deficits and a national debt into the trillions of dollars, Obama has said his latest budget proposal would save $400 billion over the next decade, including through a five-year freeze on some discretionary spending and cuts to programs that he says even he cares about.
Quite the sacrifice, wouldn't you say? More from Jack Lew:
"We are reducing programs that are important programs that we care about, and we're doing what every family does when it sits around its kitchen table: we're making the choices about what do we need for the future," Lew said on CNN's State of the Union.
Uhm, what do you mean "we" dude? The government is not like a family figuring out how to cut back on expenses. (If it is Dad is a real deadbeat because he decided to give up half his income last December to some rich frat boys.) And this isn't really about programs President Obama "cares about" or about how "tough" it is for him. President Obama will not have to personally worry about these things and neither will his children, so the idea that he "cares" is just a tiny bit abstract in this context. This is about actual human beings and their ability to survive now and build a decent future.
The main problem with all this, of course, is that he willingly signed a tax cut extension for the wealthiest people on the planet just two months ago even as they are making money hand over fist as it is, so any talk about "shared sacrifice" rings just a little bit hollow now. If he wants to be honest about this and admit that he's catering to spoiled plutocrats and Wall Street Demi-Gods because he truly believes that he needs to sacrifice ordinary Americans on the alter of their egos, that's one thing. But blowing smoke about how this hurts him just as much as the college kid who has to drop out in a terrible labor market --- but he's willing to make the sacrifice and so should we --- well, it is too cynically cheap for words.
Oh and by the way, that's Obama's opening gambit. Look what the other side has come back with:
Republicans are already basically rejecting it out of hand. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday on Fox News that the plan will offer "paltry savings."
"It looks like to me that it is going to be very small on spending discipline and a lot of new spending so-called investments," he said.
How do you think that's going to go?
Update: I am watching Obama's pal the "savvy businessman" Jamie Dimond on Fareed Zakaria right now whine and snivel like a tired toddler about how unfair everyone is to rich bankers and I want to put my foot through the TV. He makes weepy John Boehner look like Clint Eastwood in "Hang 'Em High" by comparison. The fact that the world economy was brought low by people with such spoiled character and mediocre intellect is not surprising. But it's truly stunning that they are still calling the shots. We desperately need political leadership that has the imagination and guts to confront these people instead of kowtowing to them or we are truly doomed.