Just a day after President Obama’s languid State of the Union speech, during which he touted a recovering economy, the healing power of his signature health care mandate and new spending “investments,” a triple dose of reality gagged White House spin-meisters.
First came news that the federal budget deficit is considerably larger at $1.5 trillion than previously thought. In the Republican response to the president’s speech, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville warned of the catastrophic perils of continued deficit spending and a looming entitlement bubble that threatens to gut the economy. Ryan’s retort proved especially meaningful, when, hours later, the Congressional Budget Office announced that Social Security will have a $45 billion shortfall this year, and will pay out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes through at least 2021 without legislative changes.
Then came the coup de grace, which exposed the Big Lies of Obamacare. In an awkward moment during testimony before the House Budget Committee, which Ryan chairs, Medicare’s independent economic expert conceded that two of the central promises of the president’s health care overhaul will not be kept.
Obamacare, said Chief Actuary Richard Foster, will not hold costs down for most people, and it won’t let everyone keep their current health insurance, even if they like it. Further evidence of the law’s broadly awful effect is news that the administration has granted waivers to hundreds of corporations and politically connected special interests — unions chief among them — exempting them from the job- and profit-killing provisions of the sweeping mandate.
And yet the president sallies forth insistently in the liberal echo chamber, where deficits don’t matter — at least when they’re accumulated by someone other than George W. Bush — where Social Security IOUs are as good as gold and where health care “reform” is the magic pill for all that ails the body and body politic.
Reality, however, intrudes whenever Ryan addresses these issues. His serious-minded counsel stands in stark contrast to the less-than-serious platitudes of a president who seems incapable of accepting the grim prospects for his failing domestic agenda.
Read more on the Outlook and Perspective pages of CSI's Walworth County Sunday e-edition on pages 8A and 9A. and add your comments below.