The truth of politics in 2006 holds true in 2011

Of the many things that can be said about the upcoming debate on the American debt ceiling increase, there many be nothing more important than what has been said by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Obama (as a Senator).

These are their words, uncut.

Here is a bit of fact to go with this video.

  • Democrats took control of the Senate and House in 2006. President Obama was elected in 2008.
  • The national debt went from the $9 trillion that Sen. Harry Reid thought “will weaken our country” (1:25 in the video) to the current $14 trillion – with an immenent increase to over $15 trillion according to conservative estimates from Democrats for 2012.
  • Under former-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Obama the national debt has increased 50% (including the projection for 2012) in 3 years.
  • Majority Leader Reid started 2011 battling to allow only $6 billion in budget cuts for the 2011 budget, and then raising the compromise to $38 billion.
  • Majority Leader Reid actively supported the Obama Stimulus, cost ~$814 billion and increasing, the Health Care Reform, cost $1.1 trillion, neither of which acheives any of the goals that they were promised to attain.

    But what did President Obama think about the debt ceiling?

    On March 16, 2006, a then mostly unknown Senator Obama stated the following on the floor of Congress

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here’. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

    Facts:

  • Senator Obama voted against a debt ceiling increase in 2006.
  • He did not vote at all on the increase in 2007 ($850 billion) or 2008 ($800 billion), when Democrats controlled Congress and he was actively seeking the Presidency.
  • Senator Obama did vote for the TARP (an increase to the national debt of $700 billion)
  • President Obama actively promoted the Stimulus (currently at least $814 billion added to the debt) – which has failed every criteria it was established to do
  • President Obama actively promoted the Health Care Reform (cost $1.1 trillion in debt) – which is debatably unconstitutional, and costing tens of millions if not billions of dollars in courts around the country as the constitutionality is determined. The Obama Administration has thus far refused to have the issue appear before the Supreme Court immediately, saving potentially billions.
  • Since President Obama has taken office the national debt has increased 40%, and average of 13% per year. If current projections from the White House are correct, the deficit will increase to in excess of $15 trillion for 2012, lowering the annual increase to 12.5% per year.

    What is the response of the White House to the above?

    White House press secretary Jay Carney

    “What I can tell you then is that the President, as David Plouff said yesterday, the President regerts that vote. It was a mistake. He realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of the economy and the global economy that it is not a vote, that even when you are protesting an Administration’s policies you can play around with, and you need to take very seriously the need to raise the debt limit so that the full faith and credit of the United States Government is maintained around the globe. Consequences, as Secretary Geithner, and many others including the Speaker of the House, Senate Minority Leader, Congressman Ryan have pointed out the cnsequenses of failing to raise the debt ceiling would be Armegeddon-like in terms of the economy.”

    Thus the question is raised. What does President Obama truly think?

    In 2006 Senator Obama believed that a higher debt ceiling weakened America, President Obama thinks its a necessity. Senator Obama felt that a higher debt meant America could not pay its bills, President Obama has increased the bills that America cannot pay consistently in the trillions each year he has been in office, and projected forward. Senator Obama felt that debt increases were “reckless”, President Obama feels that debt increases are mandatory.

    Senator Obama stated clearly that keeping the debt ceiling low was a definitive sign of leadership, President Obama feels that a higher debt for America is par for the course – and the only option for America.

    With such divergent positions the further question must be asked, what has changed from 2006 to 2011?

    America is still involved with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In fact we have added to that with Libya (another action that President Obama differs with his opinion as Senator). America is still holding detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

    Unemployment remains higher than when President Obama took office, and far in excess of the promised levels of the Stimulus. Foreclosures on mortgages remain near all-time highs (attained after the Stimulus under President Obama), with numerous economists and industry professionals seeing the potential for yet another wave of increased defaults and lower home values.

    There is more Middle East unrest than prior years had, with revolutions and regime changes. Yet the US has failed to support several attempts at democracy in most of these nations. US policy on this unrest is best described as chaotic, leading to higher oil prices and international insecurity.

    So the most clear difference has been that Democrats retain control over the Senate and the Presidency. Nothing else is evident in the dramatic and complete reversals of Senate Majority Leader Reid and President Obama. With the national debt worse than ever before, these politicians have taken positions diametrically opposed to their earlier beliefs solely because they now maintain power.

    “America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” – then-Senator Obama in 2006

    The truth in 2006 has not changed 5 years later.

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  • About the Author

    Michael Vass
    Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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