WSJ: Was he serious?

posted at 10:12 am on April 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The Wall Street Journal editorial board couldn’t believe what it heard yesterday in Barack Obama’s deficit speech.  Well, believe is probably the wrong word, since Obama offered little of substance other than rhetorical bombs aimed at Paul Ryan, accusing him of trying to kill an entire generation of retirees while offering nothing specific to oppose it.  The WSJ dismantles Obama’s speech in their lead editorial as fundamentally demagogic and as unserious as a President can get:

Mr. Obama did not deign to propose an alternative to rival Mr. Ryan’s plan, even as he categorically rejected all its reform ideas, repeatedly vilifying them as essentially un-American. “Their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America,” he said, supposedly pitting “children with autism or Down’s syndrome” against “every millionaire and billionaire in our society.” The President was not attempting to join the debate Mr. Ryan has started, but to close it off just as it begins and banish House GOP ideas to political Siberia.

Mr. Obama then packaged his poison in the rhetoric of bipartisanship—which “starts,” he said, “by being honest about what’s causing our deficit.” The speech he chose to deliver was dishonest even by modern political standards.

The most dishonest component of the speech, according to the WSJ, was the theme of soaking the rich as the solution to all the problems of the federal budget.  The editors did what the White House apparently cannot — math — and explains why we are facing a spending problem rather than a revenue problem:

Mr. Obama rallied the left with a summons for major tax increases on “the rich.” Every U.S. fiscal trouble, he claimed, flows from the Bush tax cuts “for the wealthiest 2%,” conveniently passing over what he euphemistically called his own “series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs.” Apparently he means the $814 billion stimulus that failed and a new multitrillion-dollar entitlement in ObamaCare that harmed job creation.

Under the Obama tax plan, the Bush rates would be repealed for the top brackets. Yet the “cost” of extending all the Bush rates in 2011 over 10 years was about $3.7 trillion. Some $3 trillion of that was for everything but the top brackets—and Mr. Obama says he wants to extend those rates forever. According to Internal Revenue Service data, the entire taxable income of everyone earning over $100,000 in 2008 was about $1.582 trillion. Even if all these Americans—most of whom are far from wealthy—were taxed at 100%, it wouldn’t cover Mr. Obama’s deficit for this year.

If some readers don’t trust the Wall Street Journal on this point, perhaps they’ll feel more comfortable with CBS, although they attack the plan from the ambiguous spending reductions Obama proposed:

Even if every provision of President Obama’s deficit reduction plan is enacted – and he concedes it won’t be – there still won’t be a balanced budget on the horizon. And the National Debt will continue to expand by trillions of dollars.

The Obama plan is designed to reduce deficit spending over the next 12 years by $4 trillion dollars. If every penny of that $4 trillion in deficits is eliminated, the government’s own budget projections show that trillions of dollars more in deficits would remain in place.

Speaking of which, the WSJ notes that Obama’s one specific plan to reduce spending comes in the form of even greater rationing power at the federal level:

His own plan is to double down on the program’s price controls and central planning. All Medicare decisions will be turned over to and routed through an unelected commission created by ObamaCare—which will supposedly ferret out “unnecessary spending.” Is that the same as “waste and abuse”?

Fifteen members will serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, all appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. If per capita costs grow by more than GDP plus 0.5%, this board would get more power, including an automatic budget sequester to enforce its rulings. So 15 sages sitting in a room with the power of the purse will evidently find ways to control Medicare spending that no one has ever thought of before and that supposedly won’t harm seniors’ care, even as the largest cohort of the baby boom generation retires and starts to collect benefits.

Contrast that to Obama’s insistence that giving seniors a choice in medical coverage was somehow un-American.  Which sounds more un-American to most people outside the Beltway: being allowed to make your own choices, or being told by a 15-member star chamber whether you can or cannot get treatment?

Obama’s speech was fundamentally unserious, a rant that should have been committed to the White House blog rather than in a national address.  If this is what passes for a major policy speech, this administration has completely run out of gas.


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“… this administration has completely run out of gas.”

They have. You nailed it, Ed.

JimP on April 14, 2011 at 11:28 AM

If this is what passes for a major policy speech, this administration has completely run out of gas.

Could we say then that some one’s driving the car (or their party) into the ditch?

Rovin on April 14, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Fifteen members will serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, all appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Sounds like a death panel to me.

UltimateBob on April 14, 2011 at 11:31 AM

He’s an overgrown , spoiled, petulant child. He cares of nothing and no one outside of himself.

His goal is not to help anyone but himself. If that means destroying a country, and it’s people….so be it. He wants power, glory, and to be crowned king.

So yes, he’s serious. Childish, immature, and stupid. But dead serious. It’s his end goal. Will he make it?

capejasmine on April 14, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Amazing how many people appeared stunned or incredulous or “disappointed” by Obama’s speech. What does this say about the level of awareness of Leftism among our commentariat? Not encouraging. Maybe their disbelief is just for public consumption. But, really, how can intelligent, politically alert and supposedly sophisticated people be surprised by this guy’s filthy and exploitive ideological dishonesty at this point?

rrpjr on April 14, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Obama gave the speech he absolutely wanted, intended and needed to give. This speech is the essence of the man and his ideology under pressure. We should be grateful for the speech; it was totally and finally clarifying. Those who can’t figure out the “cipher” of the man by this point and after this speech are to be pitied, as we all are, because, if such incomprehension is widely shared, we’re doomed.

rrpjr on April 14, 2011 at 11:44 AM

It all comes down to one line, towards the end of the ‘speech’:

Indeed, to those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have the obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments.

Nut.
Shell.

mrt721 on April 14, 2011 at 11:46 AM

It is scary to think that he actually believes what he says…

Khun Joe on April 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Far scarier: Voters who do.

publiuspen on April 14, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Are you better off today than you were 2 years ago?

ted c on November 1, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Yep.

crr6 on November 1, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2011 at 11:54 AM

A disgusting and rotting piece of garbage is what this man is…. Thank you DemocRATS and “CENTRISTS” for giving us the Second Coming…

Hey Buckley Jr/Noonan/Parker/RINO CandyA$$e$ – how does it feel to be such shitty people who voted for the worst candidate ever ?

If America re-elects this disgrace for a human being as president, it richly deserves to be known as the most ridiculous country on earth

nagee76 on April 14, 2011 at 12:01 PM

With almost half the US households paying no income tax, BHO represents a real danger to our country. 52% of Americans voted for this man in the last election. I pray they recognize his deep seated Marxist ideology and are repulsed. If not we could be in an uncontrollable tailspin, with class warfare as his rallying cry. He came very close to that yesterday.

d1carter on April 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM

He was serious -in a Saul Alinsky sort of way. Mr. Obama hit upon every single one of the 12 Rules for Radicals in his hateful speech yesterday. He’s really workin’ it for #10. Mostly, he simply lied to the American people. SOB.

1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
2. Never go outside the experience of your people.
3. Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
8. Keep the pressure on.
9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
10. If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
11. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
12. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

redwhiteblue on April 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM

52% of Americans voted for this man in the last election. I pray they recognize his deep seated Marxist ideology and are repulsed.

d1carter on April 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM

They would rather be waterboarded first than admit they were conned.

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM

The weak-kneed Repubs need to start airing some ads outlining our choices. Go with the juvenile boy-king and his Death Panels, or with the Repubs Freedom of Choice.

Start now and pound it into the pathetically uninformed masses out there. After a year of hearing this stark choice: Death Panels or Free Choice, surely even the sheeple will start to get nervous about where Ogabe is headed.

Ogabe on April 14, 2011 at 12:10 PM

rrpjr on April 14, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Even the lefties at Yahoo and Time: On Healthcare and Deficit, Obama Punts (Mostly) and Invites a GOP Fight

slickwillie2001 on April 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

or being told by a 15-member star chamber whether you can or cannot get treatment?

death panel?

ted c on April 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

None of this matters to Obama. There will be no negotiations of any kind. Just the demands of the socialists.

Obama and the democrats will not agree to any new budgets. There will only be continuing resolutions thru the 2012 election. Boehner and the republicans wil vote for every one of them without any meaningfull changes.

Freddy on April 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Run out of gas?

No… the unicorns have stopped working.

ajacksonian on April 14, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Rush is calling Obama’s base “human debris”. He started his show on a rant about this speech, saying that Obama has to shore up his base again, which is “human debris”.

karenhasfreedom on April 14, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Rush is calling Obama’s base “human debris”. He started his show on a rant about this speech, saying that Obama has to shore up his base again, which is “human debris”.

karenhasfreedom on April 14, 2011 at 12:16 PM

“Irksome Bowles” cracked me up!

VegasRick on April 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

This speech is nothing more than the official beginning to his relection campaign. Once again, he is appealing to the lowest common denominator. It worked the first time…

yubley on April 14, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Trolls conspicuously absent from this thread.

Scrappy on April 14, 2011 at 12:24 PM

“… since Obama offered little of substance other than but instead offered rhetorical bombs aimed at Paul Ryan, accusing him of trying to kill an entire generation of retirees while offering nothing specific to oppose it.”

FIFY, Ed.

Dusty on April 14, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Not many independents read the WSJ.

But lots of them read the USA Today which says Obama’s speech was most awesomely awesome.

angryed on April 14, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Once again, he is appealing to the lowest common denominator. It worked the first time…

yubley on April 14, 2011 at 12:20 PM

This, and the LSM blind support, is what makes BHO so dangerous…

d1carter on April 14, 2011 at 12:31 PM

which will supposedly ferret out “unnecessary spending.” Is that the same as “waste and abuse”

Nope; they’ll just not raise the “usual, customary and reasonable (UCR)” multiplier thereby effectively freezing what Dr’s, Hospitals and Nurses earn. And, of course, treatment not completely proven… the same kind of treatment that, when used at City of Hope, has kept me alive well beyond my revised stale date.

Shivas Irons on April 14, 2011 at 12:32 PM

But lots of them read the USA Today which says Obama’s speech was most awesomely awesome.

Anyone not reading that rag as a last resort in a hotel room on a biz trip does not have the smarts to remember what they’ve read.

USA Today? heheheheehehehahahahahahahahahahahaahaaaa

Shivas Irons on April 14, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Once again, he is appealing to the lowest common denominator. It worked the first time…

To get elected as a Dem it’s simply is a matter of Fools foolin’ fools. Dems never question the words of their leaders. Works for the Presidency every once and awhile.

Damn.

Shivas Irons on April 14, 2011 at 12:38 PM

According to Internal Revenue Service data, the entire taxable income of everyone earning over $100,000 in 2008 was about $1.582 trillion. Even if all these Americans—most of whom are far from wealthy—were taxed at 100%, it wouldn’t cover Mr. Obama’s deficit for this year.

This^

I got into a little debate with someone on Lee Doren’s video concerning Paul Ryan’s budget proposal and had to use napkin math to show someone that even if we taxed the rich at 100%, we still would be unable to close the deficit for this year.

And the guy still didn’t get it. Even with the numbers right there in his face. People truly are stupid.

Unfortunately there is a percentage of our population who are so codependent on their liberal leaders that the only way they’ll stop believing the nonsense and start facing reality is by hitting rock bottom.

Unfortunately, that might mean the end of America as we know her.

And this is not hyperbole or paranoid delusions. It’s reality. If we hit that wall and it all comes crashing down and the government uses that as an excuse to gather up even more control of our resources and wealth creators in the country, we’ll never recover.

ButterflyDragon on April 14, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Anyone not reading that rag as a last resort in a hotel room on a biz trip does not have the smarts to remember what they’ve read.

USA Today? heheheheehehehahahahahahahahahahahaahaaaa

Shivas Irons on April 14, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Mock all you want but look at circulation numbers. USA Today is about 3X more than WSJ. And even if you take out all the papers left unread in hotel rooms out of the equation, that’s still a lot of readers.

And especially since they are the dimwitted type of reader, anything they read they believe.

angryed on April 14, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Not 3X, meant 30%

angryed on April 14, 2011 at 12:49 PM

He Lies. And he’s terrible at it. If only the press would dogpile him.

NickelAndDime on April 14, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Roger Simon –over at PJ Media– take on the speech ties in nicely with Ed’s last paragraph.

In part …

No, I think it was a natural response. Biden and the woman were bored stiff. Barack Obama has become the most tedious president in my lifetime. He is like those college professors whose classes you did everything you could to avoid but, if you had to go, sat as far back as possible in order to get a little shut-eye yourself.

But what is it about Obama that makes him so boring? I submit it is something quite simple — he has nothing to say. He is a boring person, the quintessential “hollow man” in the T.S. Eliot sense. He is kind of a socialist, kind of a liberal, kind of a multi-culturalist, kind of an environmentalist, kind of globalist, kind of a budget cutter — but none of them with any real commitment. Basically, he’s a vague and uncommitted person pretending to be otherwise. He is the man that voted “present,” now in the presidency. The fact that he never specified the targets of “hope” and “change” during his election was far from a campaign ploy and more typical than we ever dreamed. There never was a there there. And now, I strongly suspect, there never will be.

We saw that writ large Tuesday in his dull budget speech – so devoid of detail and lacking in anything remotely original or surprising. Despite the titanic deficit crisis, it seemed almost phoned in. (No wonder Biden went to sleep.) But that has been the hallmark of Obama’s administration, disengagement and ennui. Even his signature legislation, the healthcare bill nobody read and nobody wants, reeks of alienation.

We have elected our own Joseph K., except he has nowhere near Kafka’s brilliance, nor the Czech’s dark humor.

Apparently, or so I have heard on the rumor mill, the troops inside the White House are well aware of this disengagement. They talk of how uncomfortable they feel listening to the president discuss sports for the first half-hour of a forty-five minute foreign policy meeting, seemingly unaware (or uncaring) of the urgent matters at hand. Perhaps this accounts for Rahm Emanuel’s quick exit from the administration. Surely, if he remained, bigger things awaited than even mayor of Chicago.

Brass on April 14, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Close to 50% of us take from govt. How many of them can blame their own decisions for their difficulties? Øbama will use class warfare for 2012, counting on human nature to believe what it wants to hear.

Meanwhile, his policies reduce our assets and put more of us on the dole, make more of us fearful about the future. And leading up to 2012, we will see big polarized battles about the budget, unions, etc. It may be an epic election.

jodetoad on April 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

He is kind of a socialist, kind of a liberal, kind of a multi-culturalist, kind of an environmentalist, kind of globalist, kind of a budget cutter — but none of them with any real commitment.

Sorry, Roger. Good piece otherwise, but you don’t “get” Obama. True, he’s essentially a lazy and capricious personality, but that is not to say he’s “kind of a socialist” or “kind of a budget cutter.” You’re mistaking character weakness with ideological indifference.

rrpjr on April 14, 2011 at 1:11 PM

And how, after yesterday’s speech, can one say he has “nothing to say.” He is saying “something” for sure. And it requires a response.

rrpjr on April 14, 2011 at 1:13 PM

If this is what passes for a major policy speech, this administration has completely run out of gas.

Ed: If Obama would actually let us drill for oil, this may not have been a problem.

Mutnodjmet on April 14, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Ed, please consider banning Dave. I despise those who try to exploit tragedies. Many times media report on college student suicides.

rbj on April 14, 2011 at 11:06 AM

NO. You must fight to allow such inanity to expose itself.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 1:56 PM

At least Obama’s got that green crap working for him

Kini on April 14, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Here’s what REALLY ticks me off.

Obama villifies the top 2% of wage earners as the evil “rich”. Millionaires and Billionaires…

The range of salaries in this group?

He lumps together people who make $250,000 (mostly small business owners and middle management) along with those who make up to $1,000,000,000 (Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle 2009).

The small business owner makes .00025 of what Ellison makes and yet they are the same in Obama’s eyes. The are evil greedy piggy banks that he can’t wait to smash…

I’m starting to believe Obama is pure evil.

Fallon on April 14, 2011 at 3:25 PM

President Obama’s “fiscal policy” speech was among the most cynical things I’ve seen in 16 years of covering Washington politics.

It was not a fiscal policy speech. There was no fiscal policy in it. There were broad goals without any of the specific, difficult decisions he would have to make in order to get there. The speech was hollow. A mirage. A phantom.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 4:14 PM

this administration has completely run out of gas.

The administration is still completely full of sh*t though.

xblade on April 14, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Yes, Obama was serious in the sense that his political beliefs compel him to deal with the looming fiscal crisis by engaging in class warfare politics and demogoguery. The problem is that Obama’s approach is not a serious response to what we face.

Phil Byler on April 14, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Obowma will NEVER raise a billion dollars for his campaign.

royzer on April 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Obowma will NEVER raise a billion dollars for his campaign.

royzer on April 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Well, not legally anyway.

slickwillie2001 on April 14, 2011 at 10:39 PM

They never had any gas.

Alana on April 15, 2011 at 1:47 AM

This a blanket comment from my stepfather (yeah he is waiting for that hotair registration open go sign…did we miss it??)

His comment submitted by me:

The left  realize that to control ones property,ie $, is to control the person. They are no different than slavers plying their trade off the Ivory Coast. No matter what ”good” intentions the majority might have we know that the road to HELL is strewn with good intentions. I do not wish to go that route directed by others ignorance and arrogance. A small cadre of the left know exactly what they are doing and thus are intentionally preparing our enslavement. I say to HELL with the entire gang and the donkey they rode in on.
 It is hard to say if Oman is evil or just common stupid. Probably both. The worst of both worlds.What a fine mess our ”independents” have gotten us into. Independents are only people who cannot make up their own minds and make a decision. They tend to wait to the last minute to see how the wind is blowing or what is the ”cool” choice to make. They like to be thought smart so they keep silent until the end when they open their mouths and then leave no doubt that they are simply stupid. I spit on lukewarm ”independents.” G

Sherman1864 on April 15, 2011 at 8:06 AM

Obowma will NEVER raise a billion dollars for his campaign.

royzer on April 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Probably already available thru the healthcare bill (page 1,435-party of the first part something or other) A little cut and paste and voila! “Hey look everybody! I just got a bunch of campaign contributions!”
And don’t look too deep into that. You bunch of bourgeois racists! I love being radical.

onomo on April 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM

<0 and his gang were always nothing but "gas"–no engine, no spark.

This is the fruit of the "no performance required" agenda of affirmative action. Hope everyone really likes it, 'cause the team "bench" for control of the country is now several generations deep with those trained under the same system that gave us <0. The problem is that they've been trained to take whatever they can demand, not to produce or achieve anything.

Ay Uaxe on April 15, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Mr. Obama then packaged his poison in the rhetoric of bipartisanship—which “starts,” he said, “by being honest about what’s causing our deficit.”

Then Obama covered the mic with one of his palms and coughed, cleared his throat, and said, “by being honest about what’s causing our deficit: White people, Christians and the Joooooos.”

He had a quick sip from a glass of unknonw liquid and removed his palm covering the mic and continued on.

Lourdes on April 15, 2011 at 3:33 PM

52% of Americans voted for this man in the last election. I pray they recognize his deep seated Marxist ideology and are repulsed.

d1carter on April 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM

They would rather be waterboarded first than admit they were conned.

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Obama is largely strung together BY those who pay no taxes. He’s their ideal of someone sent to “take it from (name their target here).” It’s really that simple, and includes, even, the various “faith based” groups and organizations who were responsible in last election for pushing Obama down everyone’s gullet, regardless.

Obama is a tool for those whose interests are focused on “getting from others”. To our nation’s peril, he represents a rather parasitic destructive intent to ruin what exists in order to self-satisfy.

Lourdes on April 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM

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