If there’s one thing every American can agree on right now it’s that we’ve got serious challenges in this country, and that time isn’t on our side. Action needs to be taken, soon.
Just to cite a few things: everybody’s holding their breath waiting for the federal debt to catch up with us. It’s not if, it’s when. Many young people are basically giving up on the American dream. Seniors and those approaching retirement are concerned about the safety and sustainability of entitlements.
Working Americans and those who employ them are frustrated by the growth and reach of government. And the nearly 14 million Americans who can’t find work are wondering how it got so hard to land a good-paying job in what’s supposed to be the most prosperous economy on earth.
All these people know we’re in rough shape. They live it every day. And, frankly, a lot of them have given up hope that lawmakers here in Washington are interested in doing anything that would help. But the truth is, there is some good news to report out of Washington. And that’s the growing bipartisan consensus not only about the existence of these problems but also about the proper solution. Just about everybody agrees that comprehensive tax reform would help turn this economy around, strengthen entitlements, spur innovation and economic growth, and create jobs.
The problem is, we’ve got a president who seems more interested in pitting people against each other than he is in actually doing what it takes to face these challenges head-on and to solve them in a bipartisan manner. And if anybody had any doubt about that, the president’s relentless focus on this so-called Buffett Tax over the past few weeks should have dispelled it.
This entire debate has been very illuminating for a lot of folks. It’s revealed a lot about this president. By wasting so much time on this political gimmick that even Democrats admit won’t solve our larger problems, it’s shown the president is more interested in misleading people than he is in leading.
Now, I know that may sound a little strong to some, but just step back and think about what’s going on here. We’ve got a $15 trillion debt. Some call it the most predictable crisis in history. We have the largest tax increase in the history of the country looming, that will hit every single American who pays income taxes in less than 9 months.
Well, President Obama looked at the options in front of him, sat down with his political advisors, and he said, you know what, let’s go with the poll-tested tax increase on investment and job creation that won’t fix anything and won’t pass anyway, instead of actually doing something about the debt and the deficit.
Same thing on gas prices. The president looked at $4 a gallon gasoline and he said, let’s go with the poll-tested tax on energy manufacturers, which would increase the price at the pump, instead of actually doing something to solve the problem.
Isn’t this precisely the kind of thing President Obama campaigned against in the first place, politics as usual? But that’s all we get. The worse our problems get, the less serious he becomes. The more people coalesce around a bipartisan solution, the more he focuses on something that’s completely irrelevant or that has no chance of passing.
We’re in a crisis here, and, sadly, it’s all politics all the time.
Somewhere along the way, this president seems to have forgotten why he was elected. For him, it’s not about jobs or the economy. It’s about his idea of fairness, about imposing it on others. And if we lose more jobs in the process, so be it.
Just take the Buffett Tax. Any time the president proposed anything in the past, he told us how many jobs it would create, whether it was the FAA bill, the highway bill, the Stimulus, you name it. Apparently those days are over. Nobody’s even claiming this thing creates jobs. It’s all about the president’s idea of fairness now.
Well, I think Americans are tired of the blame game. They want their president to solve problems, not point fingers. They think their president should spend his time working out a solution between the two parties instead of running around the country trying to distract people from his own inability to get the job done, instead of running around lecturing everybody on fairness.
The president is using two arguments in favor of the Buffett Tax: first, he says it’s a matter of fairness. And second, he thinks the government would do a better job of investing the money than the people he hopes to take it from.
On the first point, I think most people have heard enough about this president’s notion of fairness to know it doesn’t match up with theirs. To most people, what’s fair about America is that they can earn their success and expect to be rewarded for it. Nobody ever crossed an ocean or a desert to come here for government health care. People come here because they think that everybody here has a shot at something more than that.
As for the president’s second argument, well, you tell me: what about the way government spends the money it gets from taxpayers makes anybody think it would do a better job with the money it hopes to get from this tax? It’s completely ludicrous. I mean, until Washington can show that it’s a better steward of taxpayer dollars or that it knows how to invest in a winner, it shouldn’t expect people to hand over another penny.
Here’s my point. We’ve got serious problems to address and this president is not behaving seriously. There’s a need, and a growing desire, on both sides to do something. The president needs to step up and provide the serious leadership he promised, and that Americans have every right to expect.