Friday, March 18, 2011

Dems Should Worry About President "Present"

This week the conservative herd all seems to be talking about President "Present." President Obama certainly does seem to be avoiding all the hard decisions, on Libya and everything else while he tosses teeny little chicken bones to his liberal base, as Kimberly Strassel writes: "A quip here about the Wisconsin labor dispute, a gun-control op-ed there. A promise to quit defending the Defense Against Marriage Act."

Yes. But. Shoring up his popularity rating isn't going to cut it for 2012. The president is that he needs to make decisions yesterday on the economy and the budget so that the economy will be in good shape by summer 2012. My guess is that by the summer of 2012 we will see nasty inflation in the 7 percent range, still high unemployment in the 8.5 percent range, increasing interest rates as the Fed starts to panic about inflation. The MSM will do their best to protect the president but I suspect that the American people won't be interested.

The chickens are all coming home to roost on our liberal friends, but they are huffing and puffing like southerners in the 1850s.

Back then, the South became more and more truculent as the political tide turned against it. Hey, they said, slavery is a great idea: let's push it out west! (As in: hey, labor unions made the middle class by championing pensions and health care benefits) Hey, they said, the North will never go to war over secession, because the Northerners were wimps that don't understand war. (As in: Harry Reid saying that the Tea Party will fade away).

The truculence of our liberal friends is breathtaking. But maybe it's already too late. It is now pretty obvious that President Obama should have reversed course on his economic policy, by cutting spending, boosting the economy with tax rate cuts, and cutting the deficit with a quick economic recovery. His actual policy was to let Congress throw money at liberal constituencies in a trillion dollar orgy--understandable after 20 years of Puritanical Republican restraint. Except of course that, in the years of so-called Republican restraint, liberal government workers were all partying with big pay increases and big health care and pension subsidies. Liberals seem to have no idea about what is coming.

My guess is that when the crash comes and the Feds have to cut something like $500 billion a year, the biggest cut will come out of Medicare/Medicaid. Why? Because that's the place where you can do smoke and mirrors. Social Security is a pretty clear-cut program. You get a check every month. You can tell if it gets cut. But with Medicare you can get up to all kinds of mischief by changing the rules on the health care industry and then blaming the doctors and hospitals when the system starts to crack. It's like attacking the oil companies for price gouging when the government's inflation policy starts to bite.

But Medicare cuts won't be enough. That means that liberal government workers are either going to have to take big benefit cuts or big layoffs. All the truculence of the liberal base cannot get around the fact that, when the government starts getting into difficulty selling its debt and paying the interest, the government is going to have to cut programs and cut government employment.

Of course, my theory is that President Bush deliberately staged the financial meltdown to sucker the Democrats into a big debt-ballooning stimulus that would eventually eat the liberals' lunch. Call me a conspiracy theorist!

No kidding! Here's a nickel that says that some headline liberal pundit will push the Bush-Did-It meme out there as President Obama sinks out of sight in the polls in September and October 2012.

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