Eliot Spitzer turns a few phrases that neatly sum up the Obama Administration’s economic record so far:
…despite trillions in public spending, we are short millions of jobs, are rapidly sliding further into debt, are losing our capacity to borrow at a manageable cost, and are producing fewer of the goods that will generate real wealth.
The remarkable payments to the financial services sector and the auto industry—a quarter-trillion-dollar investment in AIG and GM alone—have produced no structural change at all. We are rebuilding the same edifice—fragile as before.
Alas, rather than proposing bold structural reforms to address these terrifying trends, the Obama Administration is focusing its domestic political capital on costly changes to the health care system and economy dampening carbon restrictions. But Conor, better health care and hedges against climate change are important! Indeed they are. What I worry about, however, is that our reckless fiscal situation is robbing us of the ability to address every important problem that ever comes up in the future.
I’d feel a lot better about spending money on health care, climate change, or any other Obama Administration priority were there significant accompanying spending cuts. Means test social security and Medicare. End the costly, ineffective War on Drugs. Tax college sports rather than subsidizing them. And even that doesn’t get the job done.
The present course is reckless, and that isn’t changed by the fact that President Bush helped bring us to the brink of fiscal disaster, or that the American people support more spending on certain items and oppose tax hikes, or any other apologia for the Obama Administration. Here’s an idea for the GOP: present a sane, centrist plan of specific, pragmatic, sometimes painful cuts to get America’s fiscal house in order, make the case that failing to adopt the plan or some similar alternative is fiscally reckless, and win on that issue because you’ll be correct.
Happily, the Obama Administration’s foreign affairs efforts are more praiseworthy. Nice speech.