Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on June 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Today’s OOTD goes back more than a year, which I’d normally skip as too far out of date to matter. However, since we get this one from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, I think I’ll make an exception. In the State of the Union speech in January 2010, Barack Obama assured us that he would treat the federal budget just like the family budget:

Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. (Applause.) Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.

Just “like any cash-strapped family,” eh? Let’s turn to the family purse manager and find out what he thinks of the family-based approach when asked at Dartmouth when the US would return to budget surpluses:

You know, I know it sounds terrible to say it this way, but that’s not the right objective for the government. Government is not like a family. It’s not like a business even. It’s different in that context. We think about a family as having to balance its budget and businesses over time of course have to generate enough revenues to do that. But for a government, it’s perfectly reasonable to borrow at a modest level of income to finance things that improve the long-term growth potential of the country.

Geithner’s right. It does sound terrible to say it that way, which is probably why Obama said the exact opposite to the country while apparently tasking Tim “We’re not a family!” Geithner to keep operating outside a budget.   Nevertheless, Obama’s statement remains very popular at the White House, with it being quoted in ten different places on the official site.  In fact, Obama or his spokesman has said something almost identical three other times this year:

  • February 26, 2011 weekly address: “Just like any family, we have to live within our means to make room for things we absolutely need.”
  • April 21, 2011 town hall in Reno: “Just like any family on a tight budget, America has to start living within its means.  And for a long time, Washington acted like that rule didn’t apply to the federal government.”
  • February 17, 2011 press briefing: “It’s important that we address the budget like any family would  — got to live within your means in order to have the money you  need to invest, to pay for your child’s education, to fix, as the President — I’ve heard him say anyway — fix a leaky roof or a broken boiler.”

It’s one thing to say it.  It’s apparently another thing entirely to mean it, and Geithner’s approach resembles Obama’s economic policy much more closely than Obama’s own words do.  If Obama wants that rule to apply to the federal government, as he asserted in April, maybe he should start with Turbo Tax Timmy.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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Just Words!

JimK on June 28, 2011 at 8:09 AM

words…just words

cmsinaz on June 28, 2011 at 8:09 AM

jinx!

cmsinaz on June 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Why would we listen to anything a tax cheat has to say?

SagebrushPuppet on June 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Why sure it’s like family. Just ask the Corleones….

apostic on June 28, 2011 at 8:12 AM

Whatever the audience needs to hear…the bible still is the most clear on this subject, you judge the actions not the words.

right2bright on June 28, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Progressive ivy league Ruling Class elites lie?……who knew, right?

And yes ivy league is lower case in Tims’ honor.

PappyD61 on June 28, 2011 at 8:15 AM

I cannot recall him ever telling the truth. Seriously, can anyone name something he hasn’t lied about in the past 6 months?

Naturally Curly on June 28, 2011 at 8:20 AM

I cannot recall him ever telling the truth. Seriously, can anyone name something he hasn’t lied about in the past 6 months?

Naturally Curly on June 28, 2011 at 8:20 AM

“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

That was more than six months ago but it’s so profoundly true that it eclipses time.

The man is a traitor to the United States.

turfmann on June 28, 2011 at 8:26 AM

They are both so full of bull manure that their eyes have turned brown.

Yoop on June 28, 2011 at 8:27 AM

Budget? What budget?

visions on June 28, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t

Does this new found fiscal restraint include Worf’s globetrotting on the taxpayer dime?

darwin-t on June 28, 2011 at 8:33 AM

These people wonder why the citizens have zero faith in them and their ability to lead our nation. I feel like I share none of their values and find myself shaking my head in disbelief most of the time these people are speaking to us.

Keemo on June 28, 2011 at 8:35 AM

These people wonder why the citizens have zero faith in them and their ability to lead our nation. I feel like I share none of their values and find myself shaking my head in disbelief most of the time these people are speaking to us.

Keemo on June 28, 2011 at 8:35 AM

You are cursed by the twin demons of attention and caring.

Extrafishy on June 28, 2011 at 8:37 AM

The question was about regaining surplus.Did I miss the answer?

docflash on June 28, 2011 at 8:40 AM

Odamna: Tell ‘em what they want to hear. Then, do whatever you want to do.

Will we make it to 2012?

Crusader Rabbit on June 28, 2011 at 8:42 AM

To quote from the King Crimson song:

Talk, it’s only talk
Arguments, agreements, advice
Answers, articulate announcements
It’s only talk

Talk, it’s only talk
Babble, burble, banter
Bicker bicker bicker
Brouhaha, balderdash, ballyhoo
It’s only talk
Backtalk

Talk, talk, talk, it’s only talk
Comments, cliches, commentary
Chatter, chit chat
Conversation, contradiction, criticism
It’s only talk
Cheap talk

Talk, it’s only talk
Debates, discussions
These are words with a "d" this time
Dialogue, duologue, diatribe
Dissension, declamation
Double talk, double talk

Talk, talk, it’s all talk
Too much talk, small talk
Talk that trash
Expressions, editorials, explanations
Exclamations, exaggerations
It’s all talk

Elephant talk, elephant talk, elephant talk!

NeighborhoodCatLady on June 28, 2011 at 8:48 AM

“…and there are things governments have to do, only governments can do, you know, education’s one of those things…”

Really? Only government can do that?

pappy on June 28, 2011 at 8:51 AM

The Obama Plan:

Support family values.
Overwhelm the system with entitlements until families are on the street.
Insist Marxist ideology is the only path to saving the family unit.
Eat Lobster and Arugula in the White House.

csdeven on June 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM

The govt doesn’t have a budget which is why ‘we the cash strapped govt’ doesn’t live within a budget. The liar in chief is just telling us nice words while he is getting us so deeply in debt, we who are alive today will never ever be free of it, and neither will our children. This includes the children of the msm and those in the governing body who think they are all excluded somehow.

Kissmygrits on June 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM

NeighborhoodCatLady on June 28, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Adrian Belew’s on tour with Tony Levin & Pat Mastelotto! Gonna see him?

Akzed on June 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Adrian Belew’s on tour with Tony Levin & Pat Mastelotto! Gonna see him?

Akzed on June 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Unfortunately I found out about the tour the same day that they were in the area. And I was on-call that week.

Hope there’s an album that comes out of this!

NeighborhoodCatLady on June 28, 2011 at 9:11 AM

“…if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan!” -Dumbo

search4truth on June 28, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Hope there’s an album that comes out of this!
NeighborhoodCatLady on June 28, 2011 at 9:11 AM

I’m going to the Annapolis show, buying tix today.

Akzed on June 28, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Obama’s lies are for the useful idiot media.

AnotherOpinion on June 28, 2011 at 9:20 AM

But ED: Obama IS treating government spending like his family budget!!!

Have you forgotten that he just sent Michelle on a $500,000 vacation???

landlines on June 28, 2011 at 9:22 AM

Seriously, can anyone name something he hasn’t lied about in the past 6 months?

Naturally Curly on June 28, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Something about not getting between Michelle and a tamale, that probably wasn’t a lie.

Oldnuke on June 28, 2011 at 9:39 AM

We think about a family as having to balance its budget and businesses over time of course have to generate enough revenues to do that. But for a government, it’s perfectly reasonable to borrow at a modest level of income to finance things that improve the long-term growth potential of the country.

Keynesian fools……

We’ve tried it their way for over a century, and are now witnessing the near collapse of our entire nation. Isn’t it time to admit that Keynesian economics have failed?

UltimateBob on June 28, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Here’s another one of Timmy’s greatest hits: Geithner: Oil Release Not Political Move

slickwillie2001 on June 28, 2011 at 9:57 AM

This from little Bammie: “Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years.”

Well duh, of course. The 2010 budget was the prog wet-dream, full of worthless failed stimulus, and ballooned welfare spending because of the depression.

Freezing at 2010 levels would be a disaster. We need to unearth a US budget from the 2002-2006 period and reprise it. Our country did pretty well those years, and the federal government seemed to get by.

slickwillie2001 on June 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

How can we tell when Obama is lying? It’s when he makes a speech.

RebeccaH on June 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Tiny Tim: “…But for a government, it’s perfectly reasonable to borrow at a modest level of income to finance things that improve the long-term growth potential of the country.” And Ed said: ‘Geithner’s right.’

No it is not right. Hey, Timmah, riddle me this –

The Fed Gov takes in 2.2 trillions a year currently, running a deficit of (at least) 14 trillion as of speaking, and projected on the book for a wopping 65 trillion liability in all the social programs.

How do you call that borrowing at a modest level?

Sir Napsalot on June 28, 2011 at 10:25 AM

•February 26, 2011 weekly address: “Just like any family, we have to live within our means to make room for things we absolutely need.”

Does this mean that I can tax the oldest kid (who is gainfully employed and living on her own) to help pay for the youngest, who needs a car for his summer job? And the middle child, who just graduated with an degree in English and now wants to go to culinary school?

disa on June 28, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Spread this around.

Schadenfreude on June 28, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Obama’s family:

“Deep Fried Fat Burgers and French Fries for us,
$Trillion-debt and carrots for you.”

Lourdes on June 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Spread this around.

Schadenfreude on June 28, 2011 at 1:11 PM

EXCELLENT VIDEO!

Lourdes on June 28, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Related:

So much for the health kick… Michelle Obama tucks in to fat cakes and French fries on trip to Botswana

Lourdes on June 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM

He’s doing exactly what he always does.

Saying one thing to appease the idiot masses, then tanking the country as fast as he can, behind the closed doors of the oval office.

capejasmine on June 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM