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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

So Good

I was at the gym late today, exercising and watching CNN on a wall monitor. The CNN feed was set to close-captioning and the cable network was running the President’s daily campaign speech at some gathering someplace. As I watched the closed captioning, I saw the phrase “everyone has to do their fair share.” It seems that the President has decided that “fair share” is the centerpiece of his campaign and uses the phrase ad nauseum, He then implied to his audience that if everyone just did their "fair share" (i.e., that “the rich” paid higher taxes) we’d be well on our way to “solving the problems that we face with the deficit and the economy.” Not. Really. True.

As I noted in a previous post, the “Buffet Rule” taxes President Obama is proposing will raise $5 billion dollars in a year when the President insists on spending 1000 billion (1 trillion) dollars more than we have. So the Buffet taxes will eliminate one half of one percent of our yearly deficit under Barack Obama.

In the same speech, the President railed against “the other side” for proposing a deficit reduction plan that would “gut” government programs for the elderly, for education, for healthcare, for infrastructure, blah, blah. Okay, so what cuts would the President propose? Crickets.

The spending cuts proposed by Paul Ryan are relatively modest by any reasonable measure. They will sting, but are certainly not draconian. Like it or not, spending cuts are what we need to begin to dig our way out of the hole that President Obama has dug for us.

But there was something far more telling in the President’s daily campaign speech. He proposed nothing substantive of his own. He criticized, and criticized some more. He tried to frighten his audience into believing that grandma would starve, schools would stop teaching, bridges would fall down, we’d all die of bubonic plague (okay, I exaggerate) if we make any cuts to his big government model. He did not cite his own record, or his economic accomplishments, because there are none. He did not cite his job-building legislation or programs, because they don’t exist. He never mentioned Obamacare, because the public as a whole doesn’t like it. But fairness, that’s something he can wrap his prodigious oratorical talents around.

So let’s talk fairness.

Given the problems that we face, is it “fair” for a President to disengage from the legislative process to campaign full time for the entirety of 2012. Is it fair for a President to give lip service to crippling national debt and atrocious employment numbers, but offer no new programs to address these significant national problems? Is it “fair” for a President to avoid discussing an economic recovery that is so anemic that it's the worst in U.S. post-recession history. Is it “fair” for a President to criticize his opposition’s programs but offer no substantive programs of his own. Is it fair that women and minorities have suffered the most under Barack Obama’s economic policies?

I know, if only we all did our fair share … Maybe the President ought to begin doing his fair share, by trying to lead rather than divide, by avoiding pitting one group of Americans against another, by … oh, never mind.

After all, there are only six months until the election. It wouldn’t be fair to ask Barack Obama to do his job as President of the United States when he’s so good at being a candidate.