Republican...Leadership? (Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Pat Caddell asked a rather interesting question on Fox News the other day: “Does this guy have any idea what he is doing?” Referring to the President, of course, he expresses frustration (much as he did with Jimmy Carter) with wondering why “his guy” was not willing to take a leadership role and get something accomplished. Watch the entire video.

Pat Caddell On Obama: “Does This Guy Have Any Idea What He Is Doing?”.

Another issue he mentions is that the two parties–as a whole–are showing how little they really know what they are doing. Now other than the fact that this a subject that is popular with your humble author, it bears exploration. In what way are the Democrats…AND the Republicans illustrating exactly how little they know about what they’re doing when it comes to budget?  I’ll offer ten points on why I don’t believe that either Party, nor any of its leaders, are taking budget talks seriously:

  1. They are talking about reforming the tax code as a part of a comprehensive debt reduction plan.–moronic. Unnecessary. Cut spending.
  2. They are not serious about finding efficiencies and cuts in military spending–they are there. Everyone knows they are there. Republicans should put them on the table.
  3. They are talking too much about entitlements, and not enough about current spending.–long term deficits: entitlements. Short-term deficits: other stuff. It’s pretty simple. Cut spending.
  4. Republicans brought abortion into the mix (not the current talks, but the previous ones on the 2011 budget).–not a fan of abortion…certainly not a fan of Planned Parenthood…but when you’re talking budget issues, you should focus on the things that can actually affect the budget.
  5. No serious talk of cost of Federal Employees. Salaries, benefits, pensions, etc.–NEVER discussed as an important point in budget discussions. Local Governments, State Governments, and school systems across the country HAVE to look at their employees pay and total compensation packages, and when they do, they receive a huge amount of hell from both sides of the budget issue…but if they have to make cuts they have to make cuts. Our Federal Government has to do the same. That goes for employees and contractors.
  6. The President hasn’t even mentioned or alluded to his debt commission–why bother with the debt commission if you’re going to ignore all of it?
  7. And lastly, why not bring up the fact that the United States Federal Government is involved in things domestically that it shouldn’t be involved with…like entire Departments of the Federal Government that shouldn’t exist as Departments at all because they are not core functions of the Federal Government (Education, Energy, Labor, etc), and the States can handle them.
  8. And speaking of, why not bring up the approximately $550B dollars in State aid…that’s right…$550B dollars in transfer payments to states…EVERY YEAR.
  9. And while we’re speaking of Federal Aid, what about the $45 Billion in Foreign Military and Economic assistance that we give away every year.  That should at least warrant a glance, shouldn’t it?
  10. Yachts and corporate jets? REALLY?  That’s your position.  That the evil rich folk aren’t paying enough.


I’ve said it before: AUSTERITY. It’s required. These are times that require a serious look at the budget, and NONE of these guys are taking it seriously.  Contrast this with British cuts last year:

The New York Times asked whether Armageddon would ensue if similar cuts were enacted here:

In case you missed it:

The British plan includes a few increases, notably for the government-run health care system. Almost all other departments would face a freeze or cuts, resulting in an average reduction of 19 percent; 490,000 public jobs would be eliminated. Even the military and support for the royal family would face reductions. The austerity program is the most drastic in Britain in 60 years, and it is difficult to envision something at the same scale in the United States. Some economists say it would also be ill-advised, because such a quick contraction of government spending by the United States would reverberate forcefully across the world economy and risk another recession.

Average deduction of 19%.  490,000 jobs.  And this 19% is WITH INCREASES to their health care system. Personally, I’m not a fan of a NHS (or tax hikes), but I’m not British, so I don’t get to call that shot. They prioritized and they cut DRASTICALLY, because they looked at what was happening in Greece and other parts of Europe.

The difference between the British approach to the budget (similar-sized deficit from a percentage of GDP standpoint, and over a similar amount of time)?

They took this stuff seriously.  They cut support for the ROYAL FAMILY.  Wonder if Congress is entertaining cuts to itself? They seem to THINK they’re royalty; maybe they’d take Her Majesty’s example to heart.

All that to say: these guys (the U.S. Congress and White House) are NOT really serious about cutting the budget.  EVERYTHING they do is politics now.  The only reason that Republicans in Congress are holding the lines on taxes is because they believe that their political futures depend on it.  And it does.  And, for the same reason, Obama is picking on yacht owners and corporate jet users, because he’s pandering to the “working class” (because as everyone knows, people who fly corporate jets don’t really WORK).

It’s all pandering.  They’re not even close to serious…none of them are. It’s a joke, and everyone knows it.

Well, we’re done joking.  Both parties and their leaderships have already been deemed useless by me, and many like me.  As Caddell says, that sentiment is going to continue to grow, and grow, and grow, if they don’t look around and take their jobs seriously.

Better Question: “Are these guys really serious?”
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