Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Pay-go redux: Can Obama rein in federal spending?

The President in his Saturday address says the country must get ready to go line by line in the federal budget to cut record deficits and make America stronger. But Republicans smell a trap: middle class taxes.

(Page 2 of 2)

Yet the president’s Saturday radio address follows a new, more conservative tack by the President as he’s engaging growing fears and anger among voters – as well as intraparty feuds over his handling of the economy and healthcare.

Skip to next paragraph

"It's easy to get up in front of the cameras and rant against exploding deficits. What's hard is actually getting deficits under control. But that's what we must do," Obama said in his radio address. "Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.”

To be sure, the President’s message isn’t just to assuage angry voters.

Wall Street worries

“Investors want to know [that] the White House is serious about fiscal responsibility, and failure to convince them could hit the dollar and bond markets,” Reuters reports.

The legislation, Obama said, is a return to the “common sense” pay-as-you-go rules of the 1990s, which created budget surpluses.

“It was the abandonment of this rule that allowed the previous administration and previous congresses to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and create an expensive new drug program without paying for any of it,” Obama said.

In a post titled “Bend it like Obama,” Jacob Sullum, of the conservative Human Events blog, writes: “Pressing Obama to confront the contradictions in his own proposal – between spending restraint and huge new subsidies, between amplifying and blocking price signals, between promoting choice and impairing competition – might not yield agreement. But it could produce a little clarity.”

David Sirota at the Coloradoan has the liberal take, saying that exempting military spending from budgetary discipline makes a mockery of the national debate.

“For 30 years, Republicans and conservative Democrats have precluded factual debates about spending priorities,” writes Mr. Sirota. “They've done this for three reasons: They seek to protect defense-industry campaign contributors; they fear an electoral backlash against cuts to mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare; and they are afraid to antagonize the wealthy with pragmatic tax legislation to shore up these mandatory programs.”


Follow us on Twitter.