November 3, 2009

November 3, 2009 | Commentary on National Debt

Barack Obama: Media Sweetheart and Golf Addict

Barack Obama enjoys wide support from his liberal friends in the media. That allows them to ignore the growing discontent average Americans hold toward a leader who promised so much and has delivered so little. Politico and CBS News reported last week that the president has played 24 rounds of golf this year. Yet no media outlet has accused Obama of spending too much time on the greens and not enough time in the Oval Office.

Pelosicare Unveiled

As the Senate continues to be in the dark about the details of the Senate plan, Speaker Pelosi unveiled a 1990 page bill loaded with mandates, tax increases and a government run public option. Finally, the American people get to see the House version of Obamacare to be voted on as early as next week.

Bugging Out Over Global Warming

The U.S. Forestry Service spent $2.3 million of your tax dollars to finance a research project in Connecticut, "focused on invasive species and their potential control." To name one, "a very strong case can be made that one major forest pest of current concern, the hemlock woolly adelgid, will thrive as the climate changes."

Well, if you're interested in spending money for questionable reasons, you'll love the national energy tax (they call it a "Climate Change" bill) drafted by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Sen. Boxer aims to start committee work on this job-destroying legislation as early as this week. Americans, who increasingly doubt global warming hysteria, would be right to wonder out loud if Senators have read the bill or even know its true costs.

Easy Rides

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that, while the President's stimulus plan contained a tax credit Americans thought was dedicated to buy high-mileage cars, it could also be used to buy golf carts. On this one, Congress and the president shanked one into the woods.

Turtle Stimulus

Some in Florida see U.S. Highway 27 in Tallahassee, Florida as a turtle killer. The federal solution: Waste $3.4 million on an "ecopassage," better known as a "tunnel," so turtles can walk under the highway. Not only is this one of the most wasteful projects that being funded by President Obama's stimulus plan, one wonders how turtles will be guided to their tunnel. This one goes on the Obama scorecard as a triple bogey.

Federal Debt Hits 12 Trillion

With wasteful spending all around, one would think Obama would aim to eliminate these silly projects. Yet he seems unconcerned about the record debt he's handicapping future generations with. Congress is going to have to increase the debt limit before the end of November, or the federal government may run up against the current limit of $12.1 trillion.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would like to insert a debt-limit increase into the Defense Spending bill conference report that has already passed the House and Senate. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) told Congressional Quarterly he may use a parliamentary tactic to remove the debt limit increase. Senators Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) want any vote on the debt limit to include a commitment for debate on legislation to create a commission to reduce deficits.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is frustrated with overspending and has many concerns about raising the debt limit. Sessions told HUMAN EVENTS, "The fact that raising the maximum debt level -- even by historic amounts -- has become routine in Congress should be a giant red flag for anyone who cares about the fiscal health of our country. We need to get our financial house in order, and the best way to do that is to end the irresponsible, unsustainable spending spree that has gripped Washington in recent years. The budget process is geared toward spending more, not less -- virtually ensuring that our debt increases each year."

One simple idea that Congress should consider is a spending freeze. Also, a commission to control long-term Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs would also be a good way to balance the budget, as long as Congress doesn't take the easy way out: increasing taxes. Sessions told HUMAN EVENTS that any, "reform needs to have the teeth to actually reverse this troubling course, but too many in Congress are in denial."

Transparency

Congressman Brian Baird (D-Wash.) is supporting efforts that a bill must be posted online for 72 hours before Congress can vote on it. This has come into focus because of efforts on the part of Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid to hide the details of Obamacare. The American people must be allowed to participate in the health care debate and the extraordinary efforts of Pelosi and Reid to hide the details of the bill are a blow to participatory democracy. They should take a mulligan on health care and start over from scratch.

Obama hasn't taken any action to decrease spending and the $1.4 trillion in debt he's racked up in 2009 has only put the country deeper underwater. This President has spent more time and money on turtle tunnels, the hemlock woolly adelgid and his golf swing than he has on stopping waste, controlling the debt and providing some transparency to the legislative process.

Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Brian Darling Senior Fellow for Government Studies
Government Studies

First Appeared in Human Events