If there is one moment which shows how unfit Barack Obama is to serve in the times he does, it was when he proposed $53 billion for high-speed rail. Anyone proposing such spending when crafting an annual budget with a deficit higher (in constant FY 2000 dollars) than the entire national budget in 1990 simply can’t be serious about confronting our fiscal mess, particularly given polls showing an increasing concern with the federal government’s spending binge (and the concomitant explosion of debt) and the results of last November’s elections.
The president’s budget budget, as Karl Rove wrote yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, “is not a serious governing document. It’s a political one, designed to boost his re-election chances.” And new kinds of politicians seeking to change the way Washington operates are supposed to put governing ahead of politics. Or so I thought.
High-speed rail may be a fine (and dandy idea), but, well, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie understood, in nixing a similar idea which could also facilitate travel, you shouldn’t build something you can’t afford. And we don’t have the money to pay for the numerous programs the federal government has long supported.
House Speaker John Boehner recently got into some hot water for calling it like it is:
Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. . . . And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We’re broke. It’s time for us to get serious about how we’re spending the nation’s money.
If you’re going to get serious about addressing the nation’s fiscal problems, you’re going to need to make tough choices. And not proposing new spending initiatives when the federal deficit is larger than the economies of most nations.
UPDATE: Calling the president’s enthusiasm for high-speed rail “serious case of policy delusion“, Joel Kotkins says his advocacy of more federal spending on this initiative shows just how out of touch he is with our nation’s fiscal reality and the national mood:
Perhaps nothing so illustrates President Obama’s occasional disconnect with reality than his fervent advocacy of high-speed rail. Amid mounting pressure for budget cuts that affect existing programs, including those for the inner city, the president has made his $53 billion proposal to create a national high-speed rail network as among his top priorities.
Read the whole thing. Via Instapundit.