Monday, July 25, 2011

Is Obama Purposely Trying to Derail A Debt Limit Increase?

I'm really starting to think that Obama got hold of some polling data that showed that the GOP would get most of the blame for not raising the debt limit and he is operating under that assumption.  How else do you explain his rejection of a framework, agreed to by Boehner, McConnell and Reid, where there would be an abbreviated debt limit increase followed by a committee to look at long term savings?  Isn't any delay of apocalypse a positive?  Not to Obama who probably thinks that agreement would be the worst outcome for him as he would then have to deal with this issue again in an election year, which would take away from his time campaigning and fundraising.  He would rather have the outcome be between two choices:

  1. No debt limit increase - He believes that the GOP would be blamed for his which will give him a polling boost.  Also, he can then blame any negative economic data on this ad nauseam during the 2012 campaign.  See Obamacare, increased regulation and his constant talk of higher taxes have nothing to do with the recovery taking much longer than usual, it's all the Republicans fault because they wouldn't close the loophole for corporate jets.
  2. A debt limit increase using his framework with increased taxes.  He knows that if he gets the GOP to accept this, he comes out the winner.  The Republicans pretty much swore on the bible during the 2010 campaign that they won't increase taxes, and if they agree to this deal, the GOP base will know their politicians lied right to their faces and will probably not turnout in as great of numbers in 2012.  On top of that, the Democratic base will like the fact that Obama stood up to the Republicans and won.  All this talk of a "grand bargain" is a bunch of crap and was simply used by him in order to get tax increases on the table.  If the President really cared about medicare reform, he wouldn't have raided it to the tune of $500 billion to fund his pet project, Obamacare.
I'm actually not sure which choice he would rather have as he has been a very difficult negotiating partner who continually moved the goalposts.  What the Republicans should do is pass a short term debt limit increase, with the most reasonable cuts they can find.  Have the Democrats kill it.  Then it will more likely be their problem if a debt limit increase is not passed.  My guess is that the Senate will cave and force Obama to veto.  We'll see what happens then.

On the bright side of all this is that to some Democrats Obama's extremely cynical style of governance is pretty transparent.  Here is what Dan Loeb, a contributor to Obama, Dodd and Reid just wrote:

There has been much said about who is allegedly the "adult in the room," but President Obama has yet to speak to Americans as adults, insisting instead on his preferred technique -- stirring up class warfare.

Scaring senior citizens about the possibility of not receiving their Social Security and Medicare checks, lambasting the corporate jet industry, and calling for higher taxes on managers of private partnerships is not a constructive approach to handling a multi-trillion dollar problem that will have a multi-generational impact.

It's increasingly difficult to avoid that conclusion that while Washington burns, President Obama is fiddling away by insisting that the only solution to the nation's problems -- whether unemployment, the debt ceiling or deficit reductions -- lies in redistribution of wealth.

Perhaps the difference between President Obama and many Americans is that the president sees prosperity as a sign of "unfairness" that needs to be corrected by government via higher taxes and increased regulation. Perhaps a plan that led the way forward by expanding oppportunities rather than redistrbuting incomes and emphasizing growth and prosperity for all would be met with less political resistance.

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