In his best impersonation of a fiscal conservative, President Obama last week called for $1 trillion tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans as part of an effort to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next dozen years.
In a 40-minute speech that was more about kicking off his 2012 re-election campaign than anything substantial in terms of reduction specifics, the President - after racking up colossal deficits during his first two years in office - warned that the country needs to adopt a "process now to get our fiscal house in order."
Apparently not satisfied with the recommendations submitted by his Deficit Reduction Committee a while back, the Commander-in-Chief wants to eliminate the Bush era tax cuts - beginning with those individuals making $200k and above - keep Medicaid and Medicare - and stop me if you've heard this one before - convene a panel on tax reform.
To exactly no one's surprise, Obama blasted the GOP plan unveiled last week by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., labeling it as un-American. Ryan's proposal calls for cutting the top tax rate on individuals and corporations from 35 to 25 percent, while privatizing Medicare with "premium supports" paid to insurance companies, and turning it into a block grant program much like welfare reform in the 1990s.
Last week, Obama tossed out boilerplate phrases like "greater efficiency" as the best avenues to trim Medicaid and Medicare costs as well as an appointed 15-member commission (this in addition to the 30 or so Czars that already exist in his administration) to recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending.
So let me understand this. An unelected panel will convene to divine ways to reform these two entitlement hulks in ways that no one until now has conceived of or proposed?
And when it came to not addressing the third leg of the entitlement stool - the pending actuarial nightmare known as Social Security - Obama punted on the issue so far down the field, he may yet get a tryout with an NFL team should the threatened lockout force the use of replacement players.
Also lacking in last week's campaign whistle stop was any potential effect on job creation or what those proposed tax hikes would mean.
On the plus side, the President realizes the dire need for spending cuts. But it's obvious he wants to do it via tax hikes and, as a matter of course, growing the size of government. After all, you can only stay in character for so long.
The battle lines have been drawn for 2012.
Sit back and enjoy the show.
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