Monday, February 23, 2009

More from the 'Financial Responsibility Summit': President Obama's remarks

My administration came into office one month ago in the depths of an economic crisis unlike any that we've seen in generations. And we recognize that we needed to act boldly and decisively and quickly and that's precisely what we did. Within our first 30 days in office, we passed the most sweeping economic recovery package in history, to create or save 3.5 million new jobs, provide relief to struggling families, and lay the foundation for long-term growth and prosperity.

. . . .

Contrary to the prevailing wisdom in Washington these past few years, we cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration or the next generation.

We are paying the price for these deficits right now. In 2008 alone, we paid $250 billion in interest on our debt: One in every 10 taxpayer dollars. That is more than three times what we spend on education that year; more than seven times what we spent on V.A. health care.

. . . .

We'll start by being honest with ourselves about the magnitude of our deficits. . . .

. . . the budget I will introduce later this week will look ahead 10 years, and will include a full and honest accounting of the money we plan to spend and the deficits we will likely incur.


We're not going to be able to fall back into the same old habits, and make the same inexcusable mistakes, the repeated failure to act as our economy spiraled deeper into crisis.

All nice sentiment, but he did not mention once the actual means of stabilizing the national economy: greater tax revenue, higher interest rates, and fewer imports. He talks about cutting unnecessary programs and 'pay as you go' legislation, but those aren't the problem, and he knows it. That said, it's difficult for the public to be an insider to President Obama's real thoughts. It's hard to have access to the real truth as elites see it; their public language always feels pressure to conform to accepted narratives. I thought his remarks today, as technically imprecise as they were, exacerbated this problem and further divided the President from his audience.

The whole of his remarks begin here.

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