The speech has already been characterized as pathetic and not by people on the right either. If I had to sum it up I’d call it just a rerun of an old ideas that have already been cast aside. He even took the time to slam Paul Ryan’s Plan the way Democrats attack every conservative plan. Republicans throwing grandma under the bus.
I’d call it laughable, except that it’s from the president of the United States. That makes it serious.The president spent the first third of the speech hammering Paul Ryan’s budget.
In the speech at George Washington University, he positioned his spending plan as a more “compassionate” alternative to one introduced last week by Ryan. He applauded Republicans for putting a plan on the table to address entitlements, but the praise stopped there.
“The way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime,” Obama said, calling the GOP plan “deeply pessimistic.” He suggested Republicans were giving up on basic functions of government.
“It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them,” Obama said of the Republican plan. “It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors.”
That’s nonsense of course on two fronts. Paul Ryan’s budget does no more than cut spending back to 2008 levels before the Obama administration decided to put federal spending on steroids. So no cuts will keep roads from being fixed or keep kids out of college. It’s the kind of rhetoric that I thought Pres. Obama promised to end. Silly me.
And current seniors will not be hurt at all by the Ryan budget. Plus Ryan’s budget preserves the system for a new generation.
But what really stunned me was when the young President promised to cut spending … right after he got done
spending … errr, investing.
We will make the tough cuts necessary to achieve these savings, including in programs I care about, but I will not sacrifice the core investments we need to grow and create jobs. We’ll invest in medical research and clean energy technology. We’ll invest in new roads and airports and broadband access. We will invest in education and job training. We will do what we need to compete and we will win the future.
In the meantime, let’s raise taxes on the rich.
But where Obama departed most sharply from Republicans was his call for rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the most well-off Americans — meaning a tax hike for households making more than $250,000, or the top 2 percent of wage-earners. Republicans and Democrats had agreed to extend all the Bush tax cuts for two years, but Obama said Wednesday, “I refuse to renew them again” for the top tier.
“The most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. I don’t need another tax cut,” he said.
As for tackling Medicare and Medicaid see “Obamacare”. That’s right, the same debates conservatives won last year, resurrected.Call it progressivism on Viagra.
Republicans were naturally outraged.
Ryan said he was “very disappointed” with the president, calling his speech “excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate and hopelessly inadequate.”
“What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner in chief,” Ryan said. “Rather than building bridges, he’s poisoning wells.”
Having met with the president Wednesday morning before the speech, Boehner said that he made clear to the president that if the government is going to do something credible and meaningful, “raising taxes will not be part of that.”
He said after the address that the president’s plan did not measure up to Ryan’s.
“More promises, hollow targets, and Washington commissions simply won’t get the job done,” Boehner said.
I’ll have video of the speech and Ryan’s reply later.