Calling the President Out*

*His expression, not mine.

Healthcare Reform and the Budget Deficit Blues
Friday, September 11, 2009

President Obama swears up and down that he’s not going to allow healthcare reform legislation which increases the deficit. I don’t believe him. I don’t think he knows how much healthcare reform is going to cost us. I think he’s well on his way to demonstrating complete and potentially devastating incompetence in the fiscal management of our government.

However, I could be wrong. But, just in case I’m not, here’s a way he can overcome my concerns. In yesterday’s prime time speech before a joint session of the Senate and House, President Obama said the following… “If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out.” It was bold talk that should go both ways. And so I’m asking the President to put his career where his mouth is.

I want President Obama to pledge that, if it is determined by his own Administration while he is in office that a deficit is resulting from healthcare reform legislation which he signed, he will resign. My father always taught me that if someone really meant what he said, what he promised, he should be willing to put it in writing. I agree and I’m asking President Obama to do the right thing. He’s a standup guy. Why shouldn’t he?

You know, now that I think about it, it’s hard to figure out precisely what caused a given dollar of deficit, so let’s give the President a break. I’ve got a better idea.

Let’s ask the President to pick a number which is the maximum deficit he will allow while he’s in office, whatever the cause. Pick a number. A big, scary number that couldn’t possibly happen, that would spell end of the US government as we know it. All I want him to do is promise that, if the deficit exceeds that number, he resigns.

Now, how can he possibly decline to make such a commitment? He’ll mock the idea, of course, trivialize and ignore it. You know why? Because the one thing he knows for sure is that he doesn’t have control over the deficit, that he’s promised so much to so many that will negatively impact our national solvency for years to come, that he can’t possibly accurately anticipate how much it’s all going to cost or how he’s going to fund it.

If only Congress would pass meaningful balanced budget legislation, with the flexibility to handle true crisis situations, I’d let President Obama off the hook. In the meantime, I’m doing precisely what he would do were the situation reversed. I’m calling him out – but not holding my breath or leaving my wallet where he can get to it.

-wf


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