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The Hard Choices the Obama Team Refuses to Make

Both Glenn and Michelle (in her Buzzworthy column) linked posts addressing comments Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made recently about the budget.

Suggesting that the government may have to raise taxes on the middle class, Geithner contended that to “bring these deficits down” requires “some very hard choices.”  Why can’t the Administration make such hard choices by cutting government spending even if that means defying the various interest groups which helped secure the President’s election last fall.

As “Jefferson,” commenting to Michael Silence’s blog (linked by Glenn) wrote:   “if I want to lower my annual widescreen plasma TV outlays, I don’t negotiate a volume deal with my local electronics retailer, I just stop buying them.

Congressional Republicans lost their majority, in large part, because they refused to make the hard choices voters elected them to make, to stand up to interest groups and lobbyists and hold the line on government spending.  Democrats did well these past two election cycles in large measure because the people had lost confidence in Republicans’ abilities to make such choices.

Now, we see Democrats refusing to make such choices and contending that their only “choice” is to make a very hard choice, Obama’s campaign promise notwithstanding, and raise taxes on the middle class.

Will we ever elect politicians who choose to cut spending?

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32 Comments

  1. How do taxpayers respond when “hard choices” means a massive tax increase while the NEA hands out moneys to support Gorrila porn and “Perverts Put Out”?

    Comment by V the K — August 3, 2009 @ 5:07 am - August 3, 2009

  2. Why can’t the Administration make such hard choices by cutting government spending even if that means defying the various interest groups which helped secure the President’s election last fall.

    You’re asking why they don’t run the government responsibly. That’s not why Chairman Obama and the incompetent criminal element are in power. They’re in the game to destroy freedom, capitalism and control the ignorant Proles.

    We’re in the middle of a “teachable moment” wherein the American people are finding out, 9 months too late, why you don’t elect liberals to do the adult work of running and protecting the country. Unfortunately, we all get to suffer.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 3, 2009 @ 5:32 am - August 3, 2009

  3. [...] UPDATE: Refusing to make the hard choices. [...]

    Pingback by Instapundit » Blog Archive » ABC NEWS: Geithner Won’t Rule Out New Taxes For Middle Class. Hey, wait, I thought Obama promised … — August 3, 2009 @ 9:16 am - August 3, 2009

  4. The lady in PA had it right when, in a town hall meeting, she asked Arlen Specter and Kathleen(?) Sebelius how the feds could run our health care system when they can’t run a cash for clunkers program.
    And looking at some of the so-called clunkers on tv, those cars would have been worth more than 4500 bucks. I used to sell cars. I know, I know. But we were and are held in higher esteem than congress.

    Comment by Bosslowrider — August 3, 2009 @ 9:20 am - August 3, 2009

  5. TIME FOR A CITIZEN’S REVOLT:

    CONSUMERS: Avoid ALL unnecessary purchases.

    SMALL BUSINESS: REFUSE TO HIRE NEW EMPLOYEES until after 2010 or 2012.

    FARMERS: DOUBLE YOUR PRICES TO THE MARKET.

    The HEARTLAND must RECAPTURE AMERICA.

    SCREW CITIES & POLITICIANS WHO PANDER TO THEM.

    Comment by VladtheImpaler — August 3, 2009 @ 9:38 am - August 3, 2009

  6. Democrats did well these past two election cycles in large measure because the people had lost confidence in Republicans’ abilities to make such choices.

    While it’s true that some voters stayed away from these past elections (congressional and presidential) out of disgust with the GOP/McCain/Bush, Palin likely mitigated this to a degree and Democrats were in control of Congress. People who voted for Obama (and his coattails) aren’t interested in anyone’s ability to make responsible economic and policy choices and that disqualifies most Republicans. Voting for Obama was itself an irresponsible choice to anyone who was paying any attention, but not to those who fell prey to the symbolism, the aura, the tingling sensations. Republican losses are due to being outnumbered by those who seek their philosophically opposite goals.

    Comment by Ignatius — August 3, 2009 @ 9:46 am - August 3, 2009

  7. Hard choice – raising taxes? Taking other peoples money is the easiest thing in the world.

    Spending other peoples money on buying votes from your constituent groups is serving the peeps.

    Don’t ya gettit?

    Comment by Bandit — August 3, 2009 @ 10:44 am - August 3, 2009

  8. “Will we ever elect politicians who choose to cut spending?”
    Probally not. Reagan couldn’t do it, bush couldn’t do it – Clinton did – bush II couldn’t and Obama probally won’t.

    Safety net and military programs are popular and the population wants them. Politicians just have to pay for them.
    The hard choices will not be what to cut – because that won’t happen.

    The hard choices are which taxes to raise.

    Comment by gillie — August 3, 2009 @ 10:53 am - August 3, 2009

  9. gillie, can you link to a single spending cut (real, not phonied up or moved to another program or under another name) from Clinton? Over the years I found about half a dozen actual programmatic spending cuts under Reagan (some of which, of course, came back under later Presidents), but I’m unaware of *any* under Clinton. We had budget surpluses *not* due to spending cuts but to the money coming in faster than expected and even Congress wasn’t able to spend it all.

    Comment by JorgXMcKie — August 3, 2009 @ 11:37 am - August 3, 2009

  10. It proves again my fundamental belief that all of liberalism is based on selfishness; in this case the selfish desire to have the government take money away from other people in able to provide the liberal with health care, education, and all the other things they demand government buy for them.

    Comment by V the K — August 3, 2009 @ 11:55 am - August 3, 2009

  11. Dead spot on. The past two elections have not been an embrace of Democrats. Instead, it was a repudiation of Republicans who themselves repudiated their 1994 Contract with America.

    And as far as Clinton cutting, he didn’t cut jack till the Republicans took Congress and caused Dick Morris to tell Clinton to “triangulate”.

    Comment by Don — August 3, 2009 @ 12:14 pm - August 3, 2009

  12. Safety net and military programs are popular and the population wants them. Politicians just have to pay for them.

    And BJ didn’t spend on them. He gutted the military as much as he could.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 3, 2009 @ 12:33 pm - August 3, 2009

  13. # 8
    Clinton spending shrank 4% compared to GDP
    Reagan grew by about 5% compared to GDP
    http://chartingtheeconomy.com/?p=409

    #9 Thats your fundamental belief?!?!? Yow. I would hope that your foundations weren’t built on sand….
    And you totally ignore my point which is the populace wants the saftey net, wants a strong defense and they even want earmarks.
    Unless you want to run the economy like george bush, you have to raise taxes.

    Comment by gillie — August 3, 2009 @ 12:39 pm - August 3, 2009

  14. Yo gillie, you liberal Democrats just don’t get freedom and liberty do you? Reagan freed millions of eastern Europeans. He freed millions of former soviet citizens from tyranny. Bush 43 freed 45 million arabs and muslims. What exactly did Clinton and Obamteleprompter get for their over spending? Liberal Democrats give little weight to freedom and independence. It’s why they prefer socialism and communism. Equal suffering, equal misery. Liberal Democrats.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — August 3, 2009 @ 1:12 pm - August 3, 2009

  15. http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/barack_obama_laughingstock.html

    The new Obama posters. After 6 months, not so nice.
    We are about to see if we have an independent press and whether we still have free speech.
    Has Obama brought us together yet?

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — August 3, 2009 @ 1:13 pm - August 3, 2009

  16. Clinton spending shrank 4% compared to GDP
    Reagan grew by about 5% compared to GDP

    But of course, when we talk about Obama, where spending has quadrupled and GDP has collapsed, gillie supports and endorses that.

    So since Gillie supports and endorses exactly contradictory positions, what we can clearly say is that gillie’s attempts to use economics are nothing more than pathetic smokescreens for complete and utter servitude to the Obama Party.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 3, 2009 @ 1:36 pm - August 3, 2009

  17. The electorate is going to have a stark choice in 2010 and 2012. The Republicans I think have learned their lesson about spending. Obama’s Democrat spending will be fresh in the voters minds next year. The Republicans can rail against out of control spending saying they have learned their lesson, while the Democrat wasteful out of control spending will still be underway.
    The cash for clunkers program that is being hailed as a great sucess by the state run media……I think those not buying new vehicles are going to be jealous. The businesses not benefiting are going to be jealous. So a few benefit, many will be upset and remember when voting.
    A conservative said…..where’s the “cash for shoes”, “cash for RV’s”, cash for boats”, cash for tv dinners program? huh huh?
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/barack_obama_laughingstock.html

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — August 3, 2009 @ 2:28 pm - August 3, 2009

  18. Still waiting for any member of the Obama cult to cite an example of a society that successfully taxed itself to prosperity.

    Comment by V the K — August 3, 2009 @ 2:44 pm - August 3, 2009

  19. V the K, you know…..
    USSR
    Communist China
    Peoples Republic of Vietnam
    Peoples Republic of Cuba

    It is only the imperialist nation of America that has and had held those peoples nations down. For the sake of Corporate profits.
    (sarc) (for the benefit of leftists who have no sense of humor and are ignorant of basic history)

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — August 3, 2009 @ 2:48 pm - August 3, 2009

  20. Here’s an easy way to spot politicians who won’t make hard choices. Take the budget they’ll have influence over and ask them to rate it top to bottom. A candidate’s opinion as to what’s highest and lowest priority should be the entry ticket to the role of serious politician. If an official were willing to say the priority level of everything, he can just look and see what’s needed to bring expenses in line with revenues and start from the bottom until you’ve got the requisite number of cuts.

    Very few of our current crop of politicians would be willing to say out loud what their priorities are. We should make them. Were they all to, I suspect a lot of consensus cuts would emerge, making spending cuts easier and tax hikes less likely.

    Comment by TMLutas — August 3, 2009 @ 3:12 pm - August 3, 2009

  21. Here’s a poster that has been plastered all over Hollywood: Obama as The Joker, a la The Dark Knight. Yes, Hollywood. Yep, the honeymoon is over.

    Comment by Ignatius — August 3, 2009 @ 4:12 pm - August 3, 2009

  22. After traveling on AMTRAK I have to say that I think that some money should be used to upgrade the system. It would be much better than spending money on a cash for clunkers scheme or forcing people into small cars that will kill lots of people in motor vehicle accidents.

    I experienced the differences with taxes imposed by the province and federal government in Canada. Goods in Montreal were a lot more expensive than in other parts of Canada because of the tax structure. On top of that the continued trap is that the taxes are not incorporated in the displayed price.

    From what I understand your Feds could be looking at a VAT the same as in GB and if that happens, unless State sales taxes are revoked then you will be paying a lot more for goods and services.

    Here in Australia the GST replaced a raft of State taxes but the States did not remove all of those taxes and so we continue to have to pay extra for some things including the price of our petrol.

    It would seem the cheating Tim has something in mind and that he is using the softening up technique that I have seen used over and over again in Australia when we hear the meme about how we do not have high taxes like other nations (er I do not think so).

    In case you are interested we pay per person in an household a surcharge on our taxes for the government health scheme that is currently called Medicare (or is that Medibank?). Until Krudd took over the Howard government reformed some of the inbuilt inequity that comes from trying to close out the private insurers by allowing our contributions to be tax deductible – that has now been reversed. So now we are paying double for our insurance. When I was working I had to pay the levy on my income which was about 1/3 of my husband’s income, with the effect that per household we are paying more for a population that does not work – and in some cases they are willingly not working.

    The wrong form of expenditure includes money being wasted on wind farm schemes and giving money away for pink batts etc. etc. On the other hand spending on infrastructure such as a good rail system, either interurban or interstate is an investment in the future.

    Comment by thestraightaussie — August 3, 2009 @ 5:47 pm - August 3, 2009

  23. Why can’t the Administration make such hard choices by cutting government spending

    I hope that’s a rhetorical question.

    Because he wants to drastically grow government and shrink the private sector. It’s why his administration has been so heavy handed with anyone who deviates from the strict restrictions placed on stimulus dollars, bank bailouts, etc… It’s why his stimulus does almost nothing for the private sector, and goes almost entirely to government, and government sponsored union jobs.

    He has a plan, his plan is to make government permanently bigger, and the private sector a much smaller segment of the economy, and he is following his plan. There was even a story some time back about Democrats plan to make government so big that Republicans could not campaign on cutting taxes by making it impossible to cut taxes based on a leaked Democrat memo, or some video proof or something to that effect.

    Comment by American Elephant — August 3, 2009 @ 5:56 pm - August 3, 2009

  24. I agree with Don. Republicans voters became fed up with Big Government Republicans. We did it with Bush I also because he forgot his promise not to raise taxes.
    Remember Pelosi’s comments (which she has conveniently forgotten) to her fellow Dems to the effect that Republicans voted for Dems because they no longer trusted their own politicians?

    Comment by Man — August 3, 2009 @ 5:59 pm - August 3, 2009

  25. Clinton spending shrank 4% compared to GDP
    Reagan grew by about 5% compared to GDP

    CONGRESS WRITES THE BUDGETS DUMB*SS!

    Reagan had Democrat congresses.
    Clinton had the Republican Revolution and their Contract with America

    Comment by American Elephant — August 3, 2009 @ 6:00 pm - August 3, 2009

  26. AE liberal Democrats mostly go to public schools. They aren’t taught what the executive brance is responsible for and what the legislative branch is responsible for. Don’t be too hard on the lefties, they are just ignorant about how a constitutional republic works.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — August 3, 2009 @ 6:15 pm - August 3, 2009

  27. V said:

    It proves again my fundamental belief that all of liberalism is based on selfishness…

    V, I feel the need to improve on that thought:

    It proves again my fundamental belief that all of liberalism is based on selflessness… selflessness with OTHER PEOPLES MONEY!

    BTW, I finally discovered just what it is about Obama that bugs me…. He’s a Cylon!

    Why is it the college set can find it in their hearts to lampoon Obama (even though they more than likely voted for him) but the “adults” over at SNL just can’t seem to muster the though.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — August 3, 2009 @ 7:15 pm - August 3, 2009

  28. #17
    If the economy improves Obama will be in a second term and we will have Dem majorities for next few decades
    If it does not, it will be battle.

    Time will tell!

    Comment by gillie — August 3, 2009 @ 8:18 pm - August 3, 2009

  29. if? IF? I thought ole Obama, ole Mr Perfect was gonna wave a magic wand and fix everything?
    IF?
    I thought he was gonna get all the europeans to help in Afganistan and send troops and rebuild that country?
    I thought he was goona get a grand partnership to end the slaughter in Darfur?
    I thought he was going to bring new thinking to N Korea and solve that trouble spot?
    I thought he was gonna keep unemployment under 8%?
    IF?
    These liberal Democrats don’t sound too confident.
    Do you wish you’d have nominated some one with a little more experience? Some one who would have picked a better VP who wasn’t an embarrassment? Someone who would have picked a Treasury Sec who wasn’t a tax cheat? boobs.
    I can never get any liberal Democrats to answer any of my questions.
    Guess I should pre screen them or give them to pre selected “journalists” to ask them. hehe
    ( Who’s having fun?)

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — August 3, 2009 @ 9:21 pm - August 3, 2009

  30. BTW how’s that second hundred days thing going? hehe
    Unemployment report due out this Friday.
    Anyone want to make bets on 9.8 10.2 10.5% un employment?
    Ole Barack “Jimmy Carter” Obamateleprompter.
    Let’s all have a beer summit!!!!!

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — August 3, 2009 @ 9:23 pm - August 3, 2009

  31. Unless you want to run the economy like george bush, you have to raise taxes.

    Well, more people were allowed to keep the money THEY earned and we had record revenue flows into the treasury. Sounds good to me.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 4, 2009 @ 12:29 am - August 4, 2009

  32. Unless you want to run the economy like george bush, you have to raise taxes.

    Because raising taxes and spending lavishly on government worked so well in the states of Michigan, California, New York, and New Jersey.

    Comment by V the K — August 4, 2009 @ 7:16 am - August 4, 2009

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