Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

December 14, 2012

Operation humiliation

(Continued)

So if the White House doesn't need a deal, why would it want one? Because it is secretly spoiling to cut entitlement spending? Because Obama wakes up every morning wondering how he can cut the deficit today? Because weeks after sweeping to re-election, he is brimming over with modesty?

Obama loves to praise himself in public for his alleged courage in private discussing possible entitlement changes with Boehner during the fight over the debt ceiling. But he never says specifically what these changes were, let alone makes the case for them. He is always in favor of tough choices - in theory.

It has been rich to hear Democrats say that Republicans have to go first on entitlements, when House Republicans have passed the Paul Ryan budget twice. The president has the unique power to support any serious entitlement reform and instantly make it a matter of bipartisan consensus, because Republicans will endorse it and Democrats will grumble and go along. All the evidence is that he simply has no interest.

The Republican budget wonk and blogger Keith Hennessey carefully analyzed the numbers in the Geithner offer and figured, between the phantom savings and the new spending, it is a net spending increase. The new "balanced approach" is more taxes coupled with more spending.

The president is in a particular fever to raise tax rates, so that the Republican counteroffer of $800 billion in revenue through tightening up the tax code is dismissed out of hand. Why would the president want to increase any tax rates when the economy is still weak, and when he is said to be interested in pursuing tax reform next year that will presumably cut them right back down again?

It doesn't make sense as economics or policy. It does as the triumphant finale of Operation Humiliation.

(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate

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