If you look at conservative reaction, Barack Obama is sure a mean sob for telling the truth about about conservative economic policies. There has been a considerable amount of whining on conservative sites since Barack Obama said in private (with a live mic he was unaware of) the same thing he says in public. For example, here’s an account from an editorial in The Washington Examiner which isn’t entirely honest and places the episode in as bad a light as conservatives can. First they whined about his budget speech on Wednesday and then moved on to Thursday:
Obama then spent Thursday evening regaling an audience of Democratic donors with what he thought were off-the-record insider jabs about his recent budget negotiations with House Republicans, including this cheap shot at Ryan: “When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure he’s just being America’s accountant, that he’s being responsible, I mean this is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill — but wasn’t paid for. So it’s not on the level.” The reality is that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars under President Bush were regularly funded by Congress, claiming tax cuts must be “paid for” is a hoary piece of Democratic class-warfare demagoguery, and the prescription drug plan Ryan supported cost half as much as the Democratic alternative then on the table. Such fact-free commentary is to be expected from blind partisans, but not the president of the United States.
Rather than engage in any form of honest discussion of the issues, conservative prefer to pretend they are victims. Of course the editorial cherry picks statements out of context and fails to report the full argument in order to falsely claim Obama was giving “fact-free commentary.” Obviously the wars were paid for. That is not the issue. The problem is that Bush paid for two wars without raising money to offset the costs, and ran much of them off the books to make it appear he did not run up the deficit as much as he did.
Similarly George Bush passed a prescription drug bill without consideration of where the money would be taken from, and even threatened to fire the chief Medicare actuary if he testified before Congress about the true cost of the plan. On top of this, the plan was structured to primarily provide corporate welfare to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, costing taxpayers far more than the actual benefits to Medicare beneficiaries would cost.
The concept here is simple. Democrats such as Obama practice real world economics where you can spend money on needed programs, but you must also account for where the money is coming from. Republicans practice Voodoo Economics based upon the borrow and spend principle. To them deficits do not matter when they are spending the money, but the deficit is suddenly the number one issue when a Democrat is in office and trying to fix the damage they caused.
Once you consider real world economics, you realize that saying tax cuts must be “paid for” is hardly an example of class warfare. It is just common sense. You cannot simultaneously cut taxes and increase spending as the Republicans did.
There is nothing wrong with Obama saying all of this in private. He should be saying it even more often in public.