Responsibility is hard to shrug off in a democracy. Voters sleep better by telling themselves that their candidates were no good, that they were choosing the lesser of two evils, or that they were lied to. Even when all three are true, Americans still have to live with their choices, including the choice we made in 2008. The rewards for putting Barack Obama in the White House have been few and there is plenty of suffering yet to come.
Accepting responsibility is not one of the president’s strong points. His fix for the economy has degenerated into pleading for the Buffett Rule to anyone who will listen. Whether or not he has success coercing more tax money, the rule we are going to be living by is not the Buffet Rule but the Sufferit Rule, which dictates that unsustainable debt and deficit means everyone suffers, everyone gets hurt, and everyone pays for the failure to accept responsibility for out of control spending.
The president devoted two of the last three Saturday addresses to haranguing Congress to turn his Buffett Rule scam into law. Long on talk and short on details, what the president wants is funding for projects he can talk up to voters. Even if the Buffett Rule becomes law tomorrow, middle class Americans are not going to benefit any more than they have from the hundreds of billions already misspent in the name of recovery. Mr. Obama says that trickle down economics has failed, but Democratic spending on incomes for targeted groups of unemployed Americans is an unsustainable solution in the extreme.
If you looked for work on Barack Obama’s watch the length of your job search doubled to 10.4 weeks by 2010 and remained at 10 weeks in 2011.¹ The big jump in the duration of job searches began in 2009,² a year in which we spent heedlessly on recovery while adding uncertainty to recession with the campaign for the Affordable Care Act, a bill Labor Secretary Hilda Solis now claims is Two Years Closer to Making More Jobs “Good Jobs.”³ Ms. Solis is helping the president spout nonsense to voters about job creation:
Since this president took office, we’ve added more than 4 million jobs to an economy that was bleeding 800,000 a month under the last administration. That’s a noteworthy achievement.4
Noteworthy achievements the president can boast include sustaining the highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression and sticking us with a health care bill we are trying to figure a way out of. He has not tired of looking for more spending money from the only place he thinks he can get it. Holding out your hand for more money, needing that money, and putting your take to good use are different things. Press Secretary Jay Carney hinted at a use for the revenue expected from turning the Buffett Rule into law:
The Buffett Rule is an important element of that. He [the president] talked about it today, about the need to instill a little basic fairness in our tax code. He also will urge Congress to take longer-term action when it comes to funding infrastructure projects around the country, putting — keeping construction workers on the job, helping rebuild our infrastructure and, again, further solidify the foundation for our economic future.5
Before Mr. Obama signed off on the transportation jobs extension in March, Harry Reid warned that our roadways are falling apart:
A few potholes on the drive to work may be an inconvenience.
But for companies that ship $10 trillion worth of goods across the country each year, disintegrating roads are more than a nuisance.6
If the president paid attention to less partisan sources like the watchdog GAO he would get an entirely different take on what taxpayers buy with their transportation infrastructure dollars and what we got from Recovery Act spending:
However, the long-term impacts of Recovery Act investments in transportation are unknown at this point.7
As with other types of federal spending, the GAO found that proving results is a big problem:
However, federal and state officials told us that attributing transportation benefits to Recovery Act funds can be difficult, particularly when projects are funded from multiple sources and historic performance data are not available for particular projects.8
… DOT [Department of Transportation] has not committed to assessing the long-term benefits of Recovery Act investments in transportation.9
Paying for jobs in the short-term, especially union jobs that steal taxpayer money with Davis-Bacon wage rates, only escalates rapidly growing debt and deficits. Intent on continued spending in the name of a recovery that exists mainly in the hearts and minds of Democrats, the president is threatening Congress over his Buffett Rule fleecing strategy, demanding that lawmakers go on record even though congressional votes are already public information for anyone interested enough to check.
The president admits raising taxes will not solve our problems:
Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule won’t do enough to close the deficit. Well, I agree. That’s not all we have to do to close the deficit. But the notion that it doesn’t solve the entire problem doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it at all.10
Mr. Obama’s time in Illinois was well spent. Illinois taxpayers were fed the same line of reasoning by Springfield lawmakers in 2011 when our income tax hike went to a pension payment and businesses began fleeing for the exits. Responsible Illinois voters had little recourse in a notoriously Democratic state, but Americans have a chance to decide on a better president this year. Even if we blunder again, we have the Sufferit Rule to fall back on. The Sufferit Rule requires no congressional vote, and is already paid for because it requires no funding. Even if the wealthy are fleeced into poverty, when the money runs out the Sufferit Rule will make sure everyone feels the pain caused by our overwhelming debt and skyrocketing deficit. If we keep it in place, allow it to do its work, and suffer mightily enough, perhaps we will finally learn our lesson, a legacy even Barack Obama can be proud of.