Saturday, March 21, 2009
The Blame Game
This quote from Obama in the New York Times caught my attention:
“With the fiscal mess we’ve inherited and the cost of this financial crisis, I’ve proposed a budget that cuts our deficit in half by the end of my first term,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s why we are scouring every corner of the budget and have proposed $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade.”
I wonder how long will this "we've inherited" line actually play? Does Mr. Obama truly hold previous administrations 100% responsible for our current situation? Didn't he say the other day that "I'm responsible, the buck stops with me"? He was referring to the AIG bonuses, but isn't that part of the "fiscal mess" in which we find ourselves? Geithner is in no way responsible for that fiasco?
The point is, it's time for Obama to quit blaming the previous administration for everything, accept the responsibility for the economy, and fix it. He wanted the job, he wanted the responsibility, he campaigned for it, so stop blaming everyone else and take care of it.
Most of us learned in elementary school that blaming someone else does not solve the problem or make it any less your responsibility. You own it now, Mr. Obama. You won it.
Which brings us to the budget, speaking of a financial mess, and the proposals Obama can't blame on Bush. Obama has proposed a $3.6 trillion dollar budget, historically huge by all accounts. Yesterday the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a frightening assessment of the Obama budget proposal. They expect another $1 trillion dollar increase over the already predicted $3.6 trillion dollar proposal.
Some Democrats on Capitol Hill are already demanding changes in the proposal and some think, gasp!, that he's over reaching. Trying to do too much.
There are many things in this budget that are troubling, one of which is the cap and trade proposal. This policy will inevitably make energy costs soar to frightening levels. The anticipated revenue to the government from energy providers is expected to exceed $645 billion over 8 years. Do we think those costs won't get passed on to the consumer?
And don't forget that higher energy costs don't just appear in your electric and fuel bills, but also at the grocery store, among other places.
In September 2008, Obama said “And I can make a firm pledge: under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase – not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes" [emphasis mine].
Yet in November 2008, Obama signed the SCHIP expansion bill which incresed the federal excise tax on tobacco by 156 percent.
It's all just "words," right?
With his words, is Obama laying the groundwork for an excuse when this administration spreads too thin and fails to achieve its glorious promises and utopia for all? "What a great president he could have been if only he hadn't inherited that pesky economic crisis! It's all George Bush's fault!"
Drop the blame game and the finger-pointing, Mr. Obama, and get to work.
Update: Ed points out that Cap 'n Trade will probably get pushed back to 2011 and that the focus this time will be on health care.