econscius

Jay Carney’s $4 Trillion Lie

In Debt Ceiling, Federal Deficit, Government Spending, Obama Administration, Political Rhetoric on August 7, 2011 at 1:20 am

Presidential Press Secretaries are paid to, shall we say, spin.  Sometimes, spin crosses the line to outright falsehood.  Let’s call a spade a spade:  Jay Carney lied Saturday:

“Over the past weeks and months the President repeatedly called for substantial deficit reduction through both long-term entitlement changes and revenues through tax reform, with additional measures to spark jobs and strengthen our recovery,” press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “That is why the President pushed for a grand bargain that would include all of these elements and require compromise and cooperation from all sides.” [1]

Mr. Carney must hope you weren’t paying attention to Debt Ceiling negotiations.  Just a few months ago, Mr. Carney said it is “imperative” that a debt-limit vote not be “held hostage to any other action.” [2]  As reported in April in TheHill.com, “Carney maintained that a hike to the debt ceiling and ongoing efforts to rein in the deficit are both necessary, but not connected. [emphasis added]  “These are both urgent, but they’re not linked.” [emphasis added] [2]

Back in April, it was not just Carney but Jack Lew, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, who said there was no linkage.  Mr. Lew said: “Our very strong view is that the debt limit should be passed as a clean, standalone bill.” [2]

So which was it?  The Debt Ceiling and debt reduction were to be linked or were they not linked?

The fact is the Obama Administration wanted carte blanche to raise the Debt Ceiling without even a dime of deficit reduction.  Democrats and liberal opinion writers pilloried the GOP for months for the Tea Party approach of cutting the deficit in exchange for raising the debt limit.  We were told over and over again how it was unreasonably “taking hostage” the process.  It was also pointed out this was new and unprecedented because in the past, Congresses of either party had always granted “clean” Debt Ceiling increases. 

Only when the Republican caucus appeared to be united about blocking a Debt Ceiling increase and polls showed the public was supportive of the approach of cutting spending or cutting spending/raising taxes [3] did the Administration change its tune from “do nothing” to the “grand bargain” approach.  Going further back, the President had also ignored last year’s recommendations of his Deficit Reduction Committee.

The actual timing of the “grand bargain” was around July 7, three weeks before the Debt Ceiling Deal, when it was reported by Reuters, “Obama and congressional leaders are aiming for at least $3 trillion and possibly more than $4 trillion in budget savings.” [4]  It was not something President Obama had been pushing for “months”.

For Carney to try to ignore history and pretend a $4 trillion deficit reduction Debt Ceiling deal always was Obama’s position and it was the Republicans who wanted a smaller $2 billion in cuts is a blatant distortion.  It is also unfair to claim the GOP was fully responsible a larger $4 trillion deal did not happen as it takes two sides to negotiate.  The Administration does not want to be blamed for S&P’s rating downgrade to the United States, so it is rewriting history. 

 

 

[1] http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/175763-white-house-sap-downgrade-is-why-obama-pushed-for-grand-bargain

[2] “White House officials maintained Friday that the administration wants to see a “clean” increase to the federal debt limit” in http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/156425-white-house-maintains-call-for-clean-debt-ceiling-hike-despite-obama-comments

 [3] http://www.gallup.com/poll/148472/Deficit-Americans-Prefer-Spending-Cuts-Open-Tax-Hikes.aspx

[4] http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/07/us-usa-debt-idUSTRE7646S620110707

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  1. […] on the Left are trying to blame the downgrade not on the party in power but on Republicans (see: https://econscius.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/jay-carneys-4-trillion-lie/).  Never mind S&P’s own words about the growing debt or their repeated warnings in […]

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