Obama's way or the highway

Obama's way or the highway

December 10th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the fiscal cliff at the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers, in Washington D.C.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

"Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual. (Applause.) You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit; reforming our tax code; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do."

- Barack Obama, Nov. 6, 2012

Let's put this message from our just re-elected, feeling-his-oats, my-way-or-the-highway president to the loyal opposition is clear enough once into plain English:

I won the presidency going away with more than 50 percent of the vote. My side has a mandate. Your side just has the House of Representatives.

Now here's how it's going to work. We raise taxes now on those making good money. Right. Now. By Christmas. During this lame-duck session of Congress. And I don't want any trouble about it, you hear? And we'll talk about making cuts to government spending later (if ever).

No, no, no. I don't want to hear about it. So what if the federal government is spending $3.54 trillion a year right now, and was spending only $2.73 trillion in 2007? What's $810 billion between friends, except maybe nearly a trillion dollars, which is just most of the deficit for this year? You don't know how these things work. Elections matter. And I won.

You folks went and told the media that you have no idea what I want as far as spending cuts. Let me be clear: I have been clear. As far as spending cuts go, I want higher taxes.

No, no, no. We want you people in the House, you obstacles to progress, you, you ... Republicans to pass that bill from the Democratic Senate -- the one that would avoid the fiscal cliff all the talking heads are talking about. That splendid piece of legislative craftsmanship would raise taxes just on those whose taxes need raising -- the undeserving rich, or at least anybody making six-figure salaries. Otherwise they'd just invest it or spend it or hire folks or waste it some other way -- instead of letting the government have it. Even though when it comes to spending, government has no peer. Our record proves it.

But I'm a reasonable man. A fair man. An open-minded man. Once this bill is safely passed, signed, sealed and delivered, and on the lawbooks and in the Internal Revenue Code, I would be more than willing to sit down and talk about a framework of parameters and guidelines and negotiations and contingencies that might very well envision spending cuts maybe.

Trust me.

No, no, no. You get nothing in writing. Elections matter. Now I get to write the rules. And the first rule is: I get the taxes I want now, and we can talk about your strange ideas -- like spending cuts -- later. You just forget all that talk about taxes being too high. You just shut up about how all those taxes that are supposed to affect only the rich, like the Alternative Minimum Tax, have a way of soaking the middle class, too. Don't try to confuse me with your history, economics, statistics and all those Republican tricks. We won, you lost, so pay up.

No, no, no. We're not talking about Social Security here. Not gonna happen. Don't you know that Social Security pays for itself? Not even the government's own Office of Management and Budget may believe that, but that's one of our talking points, and if you noticed the election results, I'm very good at sticking to my talking points.

So what if spending rises every year no matter how much I talk about reining it in? Don't worry about it. I'll take care of everything.

Oh, and we need to raise the debt limit, too. Quick. As my press secretary said just the other day, any talk of raising the debt limit only by the same amount federal spending is cut is "entirely inappropriate."

Now, then, you vote the way I tell you to, and I won't have to hurt you. You see what I did to Mitt Romney for the past six months? Don't make me go back into campaign mode -- much as I enjoy it.

Remember: Elections matter.

Except for the House of Representatives, of course. Because that's how these things work. My (White) House, My Rules.

- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette