Got your attention, didn’t I?
It’s not that I agree with Obama when he said to John Boehner that the US doesn’t have a spending problem.
But it’s all in how you look at it. If you believe certain things, you can really convince yourself we don’t have a spending problem—or at least we wouldn’t if only—if only!—we could implement certain solutions.
For example, a person who had maxed out on his/her credit cards to the tune of twenty thousand dollars would appear to have a spending problem. But if that person could come up with the money, he/she wouldn’t have a spending problem. So you could reframe the whole thing and call it a cash-flow problem, or maybe a revenue-raising problem.
One remedy might be for that person to win the lottery. Another might be to get a really really good job.
Another might be to rob a bank.
If one (or all!) of these things happened, that could mean there wouldn’t be any spending problem at all.
Obama thinks we have a revenue problem. What’s the solution? Well, we could print more money, but that would raise problems of its own. Or, we could stimulate the economy more and more and more, and then (according to a certain school of thought) that would raise employment and productivity and incomes and thus the government would obtain more revenue through taxes without even raising the tax rate—although of course raising the rates would make it even better. The left—and Obama—believe that we could raise the tax rates more and more and more—and have people finally pay their “fair share,” which would be defined as whatever the government needs to take to make up for its non-existent spending problem—and voila! No spending problem.
I know, I know; Obama is ignoring the evidence that there is a very real spending problem, one that can’t be wished or away or banished rhetorically (see this, this—“the US is ‘the healthiest horse in the glue factory'”—and this.)
The real question for Obama is: does he actually believe what he professes to believe? Does he think that if he implements these solutions it will solve our fiscal difficulties, and therefore that there’s no real “spending problem”? Or is he lying, and is it really that he’s just not interested in the spending problem? Is creating a more “fair” society (i.e. income redistribution) his first and greatest priority, and is he intent on seizing this opportunity to do so, calculating that subsequent presidents can just bloody well deal with the deficit if they’re so inclined?