It was an opportunity lost. President Obama motorcaded to George Washington University and delivered his speech on deficit reduction. He has been forced to show his hand because Rep Paul Ryan released his Path to Prosperity several days ago. Obama ignored the recommendations from his original Deficit Reduction Commission and has ignored, to date, the Gang of Six now working together in the Senate. At the last minute, having not consulted them previously, Team Obama leaned on the Gang of Six for speech material. They were unprepared to help out the President since they are having difficulties reaching consensus themselves.
President Obama has been missing in action on the deficit and this was his chance to show a serious and thoughtful plan for reduction. Instead what the listener received was a campaign speech attacking the GOP plan and using the standard Obama straw men arguments. The Democratic talking points of the mean Republicans starving Granny and the poor while nursing homes would close and leave the elderly citizens homeless were all there. It was depressing to listen to the sham.
Instead of inspiring the nation to rise and accept the challenges we all face, he mocked the GOP plan and even Vice President Biden fell asleep in the audience. The Ryan plan is bold and innovative. The President's plan is neither.
The college audience seemed uninspired. The only applause he received during the speech was when he announced he would let the tax cuts expire and the "rich" would be expected to pay higher taxes. Obama's initial joke that he was happy to be at the university and give the students an excuse to skip classes fell flat. No big laugh there.
It seemed fitting that Obama opened with a joke. He is not serious about working on our national debt. The called for a commission and then ignored their recommendations. He has ignored the Gang of Six. He mocks the GOP plan and now he calls for yet another commission to be formed. This is ridiculous and a waste of valuable time.
It took 24 very long and tedious minutes for the President to begin to actually talk about policy. One Democratic consultant even called the speech a kick off speech for the Obama re-election campaign.
It is embarrassing to hear the President proclaim we must live within our means as he continues to spend like a drunken sailor. The man blamed the Bush tax cuts on our economic fall and yet he tripled our debt in eighteen short months. There were no real nuts and bolts in the speech and very few details. It seemed as though the speech was serving as a do over for the pathetic budget offered during the State of the Union address.
One economic expert said after the speech, "It is easy to be patriotic with other peoples' money" in response to President Obama calling his renewed taxation efforts "patriotic".
While Obama is fond of saying he doesn't need another tax cut, it is not true for the average taxpayer. While low income folks don't pay federal income tax, the middle class is the first to feel the pinch of additional taxation. With the added determination that the cutoff for "rich" is an annual income of $250,000 and higher, now small business owners will also feel the immediate pain.