Politico has either transformed itself into The Onion, or its editors have decided to take water-carrying to new lows. In their “Politico 44”, they refer to the President who signed the biggest federal budget and the largest federal deficit into law as “Barack the Knife” on the occasion of the first meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform today. The Washington Post takes a decidedly more skeptical view of the event:
A presidential commission will convene Tuesday at the White House to address what leaders of both parties agree is one of the greatest threats to the country’s economic future: the rising national debt.
Official forecasts suggest that without sharp changes in federal spending or tax collections, the United States could enter into a downward spiral of indebtedness that by the end of this decade would erode the country’s ability to educate its children, care for the elderly or mount a robust national defense.
Republicans and Democrats alike say the fiscal challenges have been too long ignored. But with the two parties feuding over health-care reform, Wall Street regulation and a host of other issues — and the economy still uncertain after a deep recession — there is considerable doubt that they could join hands to fend off a still-distant potential crisis. …
The gulf between the two parties is vast. No budget commission has managed to spur action since 1983. And a host of interest groups is lining up to rally the public against any solution that involves higher taxes or cuts to favored programs — particularly Social Security, which members of both parties consider the ripest target for compromise. Even supporters of the commission are not optimistic: House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), a vocal advocate, said the most he expects is “a good message with regard to the magnitude of the problem.”
The true problem isn’t the “vast” gulf separating the two parties. It’s that both parties managed to run up federal spending by almost doubling it in ten years, from a FY2001 budget of $2 trillion to an FY2010 budget of over $3.8 trillion. That massive expansion took place in an era of low inflation, which means that the increase came almost entirely in real spending.
With that in mind, and with former SEIU chief Andy Stern among the participants — the man who left his union swimming in red ink — what priority does anyone expect for a “Barack the Knife” approach? The entire exercise has been concocted to allow Congress to make unpopular changes while ducking responsibility for its actions. Spending cuts that took us back to FY2001 or even FY2007 levels wouldn’t require that kind of artifice.
Barack the Knife and Dickie the Moocher want an excuse to hike taxes, not cut spending. The two of them pushed spending over a trillion dollars a year higher in the past three years. If they wanted to cut spending, Democrats wouldn’t be passing massive expansions of federal government like ObamaCare and the upcoming cap-and-trade bill. Andy Stern wouldn’t be sitting on that panel to find ways to reduce the bureaucracies that pour dues into his union’s pockets, especially now that his pension and retirement count on boosting membership.
Now that Barack Obama is back in town, the line forms on the Left, babe — to get that taxpayer-funded gravy train rolling.