The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Over the past four years and especially in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, the prevailing meme used to explain Barack Obama's many economic failures has been that he is impotent in the face of an "obstructionist" GOP Congress. Over the past 48 months, as unemployment remained far too high, deficits skyrocketed, and debt burgeoned to over $16 trillion, Obama supporters used the evil specter of Grover Norquist and his no-tax pledge as an excuse for Obama's failed economic leadership. They, along with a compliant MSM, characterized the Tea Party as "intransigent" because they had the temerity to suggest that spending and debt must be cut before taxes are raised yet again.

Obama, of course, is blameless in all of this. The debt limit talks in 2012? Speaker John Boehner was the problem. The lack of action (no budget in almost 4 years) in the senate? Minority leader Mitch McConnell was impossible to deal with. I guess from the point of view of the Left (and the President himself), there should be no opposition to Barack Obama, because ... well, just because.

In any event, the fiscal cliff is approaching, and once again Obama supporters and their extension within the MSM are suggesting that the GOP is unwilling to compromise.

In reality, it may be that Obama's hard left supporters may be even more unwilling to compromise than the GOP. Investor's Business Daily reports:
Two days after the election, Obama's favorite economist, Paul Krugman, set the tone for the intransigent left in a column titled: "Let's not make a deal." Boiled down, his advice to Obama was this: Don't give in to any Republican demands, even if doing so would "inflict damage on a still-shaky economy." After all, Obama would be better positioned to "weather any blowback from economic troubles."

Krugman's advice may be disturbingly cold and calculating, but he has plenty of company on the left.

Robert Kuttner, co-founder of the liberal American Prospect magazine, suggests Obama should just sit it out, let all the Bush tax cuts expire, the automatic spending cuts kick in and expect public pressure to force Republicans to give in entirely.

The left-wing Daily Kos called any kind of "grand bargain" between Obama and the GOP a "Great Betrayal."

And several Democratic lawmakers have suggested that the correct approach would be to let the country go over the fiscal cliff, since that will only strengthen Obama's position. "It's a hand Democrats are looking forward to playing," according to the liberal Huffington Post "news" site.
Here's the problem. When Obama and his supporters on the Left use the word "compromise" they mean capitulation. They want to raise taxes now, but postpone any meaningful and specific modification of the many things that actually have caused our economic pain:

1) cuts to on-budget spending (the driving force of our yearly deficits)
2) restructuring of our tax code (as tax revenues continue to drop while fewer and fewer people pay any income taxes at all)
3) restructured of social security (as insolvency rapidly approaches)
4) restructuring of medicare (as bankruptcy rapidly approaches)
5) modification to Obamacare as its unintended side effects (all bad) begin to become known

If meaningful and specific modifications to the five items noted above were proposed by Barack Obama, there is little question that the GOP would accept tax increases. Why not make those recommendations, Mr. President? Unfortunately, Barack Obama has never suggested any meaningful and specific modifications to the five items above. But that's what "leading from behind" is all about, isn't it?

Update (11/15/12):

It's interesting to note that Ohio reported 6,450 new jobless claims in the week after the election, due in large part to layouts in manufacturing. Ohio's new unemployment claims are second only to (drum roll, please) Pennsylvania, with 7,766 new claims. Recall that Obama ran thousands of ads in Ohio dishonestly suggesting that Romney was a destroyer of jobs while he was at Bain capital. It's quite convenient that these numbers appeared just after, rather than just before, the election. Why am I not surprised.