I bet this is what he thought all his townhalls as president would be like back in the heady days of Fall 2008, when the Great Liberal Realignment was upon us and the golden age of a permanent Democratic majority was set to begin. Ah well. Some people are grumbling on Twitter that the questioner’s a plant, but I doubt it: He’s a former Google employee, now retired because he’s apparently rolling in dough, who’s showered Democrats with a cool $300,000 in campaign cash since 2000. If anyone’s gung ho to be soaked in the name of progressivism, it’s this guy. The One gives him the usual shpiel about how important it is to make sure we pay for investments in infrastructure and public education, as if America’s budgetary problems would be largely solved if only we had a few hundred billion more in new revenue to pour into schools and bridges. The real problem, of course, is the sinkhole we know as our entitlement system, a.k.a. welfare for the middle class, which is working out smashingly these days in Greece in case you hadn’t heard. Here’s a fun passage from Mark Steyn’s latest to help frame the comments you’re about to see from Captain Fiscal Responsibility:
As its own contribution to the end of the world as we know it, the Obama administration has just released a document called “Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction.” If you’re curious about the first part of the title — “Living Within Our Means” — Veronique de Rugy pointed out at National Review that under this plan debt held by the public will grow from just over $10 trillion to $17.7 trillion by 2021. In other words, the president’s definition of “Living Within Our Means” is to burn through the equivalent of the entire German, French, and British economies in new debt between now and the end of the decade. You can try this yourself next time your bank manager politely suggests you should try “living within your means”: Tell him you’ve got an ingenious plan to get your spending under control by near doubling your present debt in the course of a mere decade. He’s sure to be impressed.
A few months ago Krugman described the federal government as “an insurance company with an army.” Dead right, alas. And the older the population gets, the starker those priorities become. If The One wants to jerk around with education talk to sell tax increases, that’s fine — it’s smart politically, at least — but if he were honest he’d explain that (a) increasingly those new tax dollars will need to be diverted to the elderly, not to schoolkids, and (b) absent entitlement reform, the Clinton tax rates simply won’t generate enough revenue to solve this problem long-term. You could in theory solve the problem via the GOP’s cuts-only approach if you were willing to cut very, very, very deep; you could also solve it with serious reform plus new taxes. But Obama’s position for the election, for all intents and purposes, is option number three: Tax hikes on the rich for “fairness” purposes plus some minimal reform to paper over the problem for another year. It’s the opposite of leadership but darned good electoral strategy, and that’s what’s important. Exit question: Is he really down to 36 percent? Click the image to watch.