Economics, Pethokoukis, Taxes and Spending

Is this the real reason why Obama is worried about the sequester’s defense cuts?

Image Credit: The U.S. Army  (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

Image Credit: The U.S. Army (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

President Obama seems to pride himself on a deep understanding of the Republican/conservative mind. He thinks he knows the other side’s arguments at least as well — probably better — than they do. And perhaps he does, though I doubt it. And here is just one bit of evidence of why I doubt it (via the NYTimes):

With Congress unlikely to stop deep automatic spending cuts that will strike hard at the military, the fiscal stalemate is highlighting a significant shift in the Republican Party: lawmakers most keenly dedicated to shrinking the size of government are now more dominant than the bloc committed foremost to a robust national defense, particularly in the House.

That reality also underscores what Republicans, and some Democrats, say was a major miscalculation on the part of President Obama. He agreed to set up the automatic cuts 18 months ago because he believed the threat of sharp reductions in military spending would be enough to force Republicans to agree to a deficit reduction plan that included the tax increases he favored. “Fiscal questions trump defense in a way they never would have after 9/11,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. “But the war in Iraq is over. Troops are coming home from Afghanistan, and we want to secure the cuts.”

This is not an outcome Obama wants, though maybe not for the military readiness reasons he talks about. As I mention today in my new National Review column: “On first take, one might think the president would be a fervent fan of the sequester’s roughly $500 billion in defense cuts. When combined with the Budget Control Act’s spending caps, defense spending as a share of GDP would decline to 2.4% over the next decade, according to the Heritage Foundation. That’s roughly what Britain and France spend today. Such a paltry level seems to be what formerly great military powers spend on 21st century armed forces. A Europe-sized military for America to go with a soon-to-be Europe-sized welfare state. Now, Obama would surely love to use any “peace dividend” as a de facto future funding source for Obamacare, universal pre-k, high-speed rail, or whatever other spending ideas the White House’s Keynesian cooks whip up. Under the sequester, however, that $500 billion is used for deficit reduction.”

14 thoughts on “Is this the real reason why Obama is worried about the sequester’s defense cuts?

  1. ” He thinks he knows the other side’s arguments at least as well — probably better — than they do.”

    Probably, though he always gets it wrong. His Higness is mightily impressed with himself:

    Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/04/obama-i-can-do-any-job-better-than-the-people-i-hire-to-do-it/

  2. As I mention today in my new National Review column: “On first take, one might think the president would be a fervent fan of the sequester’s roughly $500 billion in defense cuts. When combined with the Budget Control Act’s spending caps, defense spending as a share of GDP would decline to 2.4% over the next decade, according to the Heritage Foundation.

    LOL…You already spend more than the next 40 countries combined and almost all of the revenue that comes in as income taxes on military related activities. You have a $1 trillion dollar program that builds planes that can’t fly as effectively as the cheap planes that are being replace. If you don’t think that the military can’t use some serious cuts you are not very rational. But what is even more disturbing is the outright lie of $500 billion in cuts. In fact there will be little cut this year and the end of the wars and the repatriation of the troops from Japan, Germany, Korea, etc., will lead to serious cuts that will leave your defence capabilities as good as they are now.

    Such a paltry level seems to be what formerly great military powers spend on 21st century armed forces.

    You mean former empires. Read the history books. You are supposed to have a Republic, not an Empire.

    A Europe-sized military for America to go with a soon-to-be Europe-sized welfare state.

    Europe spends far too much on the military. What you need to do is to look to the Founding Fathers about the idea of a standing army during peace time. Remember them?

    Now Obama would surely love to use any “peace dividend” as a de facto future funding source for Obamacare, universal pre-k, high-speed rail or whatever other spending ideas the White House’s Keynesian cooks whip up. Under the sequester, however, that $500 billion is used for deficit reduction.”

    The Keynesians are idiots. But so are the conservatives who have chosen national socialism as a path to power.

  3. I don’t think O had any deeper strategy about the sequester than dealing with the crazies by kicking the can down the road. Obviously you run out of road at some point. What’s different today is that the broad electorate now realizes that the House Rs are being steered by the crazies in their ranks. There is no way the Rs win a showdown.

    • The “crazies” are the ones who think it’s fiscally irresponsible for the federal government to be borrowing over $4 billion a day. The “crazies” are laughing at Obama’s promises of doomsday if a piddly $40 billion is shaved off this yr’s bloated $3.7 trillion dollar spend-a-thon.

    • “What’s different today is that the broad electorate now realizes that the House Rs are being steered by the crazies in their ranks.”

      “Broad electorate” = low information voters who slurp up the spoon-fed propaganda served up by Obama’s Palace Guard in the media.

      • “They’re back. We refer to the global investors once known as the bond vigilantes, who demanded higher Treasury bond yields from the late 1970s through the 1990s whenever inflation fears popped up, and as a result disciplined U.S. policy makers. The vigilantes vanished earlier this decade amid the credit mania, but they appear to be returning with a vengeance now that Congress and the Federal Reserve have flooded the world with dollars to beat the recession.”
        —- Wall Street Journal May 29, 2009

        Think I’ll take low-information voters over the wrong-information kind like you.

          • Obscure my a**. The Journal has been committed over the last four years to the idea that inflation was about to break out any minute now. Keep saying it, of course, and you will be right eventually. Meanwhile we’ve lost four years of letting China finance an effective (Keynesian in this case) recovery.
            You’re going to have to tell me what OFA is. I’m just a low information voter who caught Rush Limbaugh saying last week that the Fed was pumping $85b/month into the stock market and thought “El Rushbo, you high-information idiot. You don’t know the difference between stocks and bonds?”

          • I really don’t know what Rush or, to a lesser extent, the Journal’s inflation predictions have to do with Obama’s piss ant sequester pillow tears. I guess, like most liberals, you think mentioning Rush wins the argument. Fox News up next?

            “Meanwhile we’ve lost four years of letting China finance an effective (Keynesian in this case) recovery.”

            Yes, worst post WWII recovery in history = Obamanomics.

            My point exactly. You apparently would keep shoveling good trillion$ after bad. Works out nicely that it tends to land on Obama voters.

            “You’re going to have to tell me what OFA is.”

            Right. They tell you to deny all connection at the seminar?

          • “You’re going to have to tell me what OFA is.”

            Right. They tell you to deny all connection at the seminar?‘…

            Maybe he thinks OFA is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals…

        • And we can go back to the mid-2000s and find Paul Krugman worrying about the imminent tipping point and massive inflation that was going to come from the large Bush deficits and national debt– which were certainly bad, but have been dwarfed by the last few years.

          Worrying about the deficit and inflation is a pastime of the opposition.

  4. Well, I know offal when I read it. My apologies on El Rushbo. I assumed that you, being conservative, have never had an original thought. You should tune in for the yucks. He can’t…He just can’t…. He just can’t explain why the Rs would want to go mainstream.

    • “I assumed that you, being conservative, have never had an original thought.”

      Ok, whatevs. Now give me some more regurgitated Krugman.

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