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Posted at 10:02 AM ET, 01/24/2011

A Republican intervention

By Jennifer Rubin

President Obama has spent the last month or so navigating his way back to the center of the political spectrum. He agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts, hired some business-friendly advisors, and globbed on to Jeffrey Immelt. But he has not cured his spendaholic tendencies.

His progress in creating a more moderate image will flounder if, as expected tomorrow night, he proposes more and more spending. Still not shaken in his belief that government spending "creates jobs," he is unwilling to stay out of the till -- or begin to pay off the balance on his credit card.

Imagine if we were talking about Obama's own, personal finances:

Obama: Yeah, I've overdone it. I'll slow down.

House Speaker John Boehner: No, you have to stop.

Obama: Well, "stop" is such a harsh word. I still have to "invest," you know. [Winks twice]

Boehner: But, you don't have any more money. You're maxed out. You can call it whatever you want, but the bank is going to cut you off.

Obama: But I've got expenses! I just those love those Volt cars.

Boehner: But you're spending beyond your means. Sure you've got lots coming in the door, but you should be using all that to pay the credit card bills. If you want Volts, you have to cut back on something else.

Obama: Cut back?! I've cut back to the bone.

Boehner: There are the mohair coats, the billion-dollar gifts to your pal Hosni, the gold-plated --

Obama: Hold it right there. I'm not going to renege on my promises to pay all my friends' doctors' bills.

Boehner: But you've got hundreds of millions of "friends." Listen, you had a nice lifestyle in 2006, right?

Obama: I was doing okay.

Boehner: So let's just start there. You can spend whatever you did then. No more.

Obama: What?! But I have so much more money now! I've been doing pretty well, even in this recession thing that's all Bush's fault.

Boehner: Listen to me. You have to pay off what you owe. Besides, you just said you were doing all right in '06.

Obama: I don't think I can do it.

Boehner: You're going to have to. I want to see a budget, or I'm getting the credit cards and cutting them up.

Obama: You wouldn't dare!

Boehner: Just watch me.

Alas, it's not so funny when he is spending our money, our kids' money, and their kids' money.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 10:02 AM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 24, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

When columnists and bloggers start printing their imaginary conversations, no one is served. And that would include the author.

Posted by: MsJS | January 24, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Fat chance! His radical leftist ideology, incompetence and narcissism have made a mess of things, both domestic and foreign.
Ironically, only when he "governs" as GWB or in a center right fashion does have any success. Who, but the most sycophantic followers, will put much faith in the prattle of his teleprompter at the SOTU?

Posted by: DocC1 | January 24, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Obama: Raise the debt ceiling and print me up some more money, or it's going to get very hard to keep shipping bulk cash in to Afghanistan, and harder still to keep showering billionaires with tax cuts.

Boehner: I strongly believe in showering the three-dozen richest families in the country with tax cuts and defense contracts. I'll make some Very Serious About Deficit speeches, and then we'll compromise.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | January 24, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

when the GOP drops it's obsession with making the irresponsible Bush43 tax cuts permanent, then maybe, just maybe, a few more Dems will get serious about spending cuts. oh, right, most of those Dems are retiring or did not get re-elected last November. The Dems still standing seem to think filling the Medicare Rx donut hole was their great contribution to America, when the real abomination was the original unfunded Bush43 Medicare RX plan.

and now the Dems are going to spend more money to create new Rx meds because they think BigPharma is not doing enough?

Try an imaginary dialog between Grassley and Lugar on ethanol subsidies...

Posted by: K2K2 | January 24, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to see how we are going to make any fiscal progress at all until the Left gets over the obsessive idea that keeping the money one earns is a "gift" from the government. One cannot imagine an attitude more conducive to irresponsible spending than the notion that profligate politicians have an unbridled right to other peoples' money.

It is hard to find an example in which that philosophy of government has produced anything other than widespread poverty. Of course, when poverty knocks it can always be blamed on "bad luck" or "those evil corporations." And it is, every time.

Posted by: meta-materialist | January 24, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Congress controls the purse strings. The public elected the new House to cut up Obama's credit card. His foolish call for more spending tomorrow night will allow the Republicans to take the high ground of fiscal responsibility. "Investments", my ***.

Posted by: eoniii | January 24, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I'll tell what's a hoot and a holler - Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, two unfunded wars, and unfunded expansion of Medicare, and an economy built entirely upon houses of sand. That's Republican Fiscal Responsibility (TM). You betcha!

Posted by: willows1 | January 24, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

eonii - Quite true. It will give them an opportunity. What's not clear is what they will do with that opportunity. I'm guessing they'll cut taxes and defund the NEA.

Posted by: willows1 | January 24, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I guess Cheney only uttered half what he meant when he said, "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

Deficits don't matter...when the GOP creates them. It's like Obama took office in year one and nothing preceeded him. Say, what happened to that huge surplus Clinton gave us?

Posted by: rgray | January 24, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Too bad "his" credit card didn't start out with the balance Bush's did!!!

Posted by: danw1 | January 24, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"It is hard to find an example in which that philosophy of government has produced anything other than widespread poverty."

Norway. Socialism. 3.5% unemployment. Zero poverty.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 24, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse


Where do you stand on drilling offshore and in ANWR? I ask because over 30% of the Norwegian government's revenue comes from the petroleum sector, and Norway drills nearly everywhere it can on both land and sea.

Posted by: Inagua1 | January 24, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Washington just doesn't "get It". Once agaoin we bring a Corporate Head(GE)to figure out why we don't have jobs.GE is one of the reasons. 25K jobs eliminated in US and sent to China.If you want honest answers and results Mr. President you need to recruit "feet on the ground" CEOs and presidents of small mfg companies.With due respect Mr.Immelt don't know crap about the condition of manufacturing in the United States. Most of us don't trust the priorities established by our elected officials and large corporations.I have been a CEO of a small mfg company for 14 years. We are associated with an industry that saw at least 400 companies fail over the last 3 years.Not all failed because of China, however a majority could not meet the pricing China offered. I once had 120 employees ,now I employ about 75. Good people lost their jobs. There has to be a reference point between the un-employment rate and the amount of work allowed to go off-shore. Corporations must support local small manufacturing and be provided tax incentives that match the value of the jobs kept here. tax credits to the consumers for buying US products. We need changes now. This country made it's name on our ability to produce. Every year we lose that resource. Get the "small guy"around a table Mr. President,he will get you answers.

Posted by: hcljr | January 24, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

These columns leave a lot to be desired. They're not well written; clever; sometimes not factual; etc. They're just bad.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 24, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The American People have already told Obama his credit cards are to be cut up. They tasked Boehner with the job of actually doing it.

Still pretty good, though.

Posted by: sold2u | January 24, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I think that the Republicans should invite Suze Orman, Gail Vaz-Oxlade ("Til Debt Do U$ Part" TV series on CNBC), Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey to attend one of the upcoming House hearings on the national deficit and debt and see what light they would shed on things. I can just see Gail right off the bat asking for all of the government credit and debit cards so she could cut them up, and then giving the various agencies little glass jars with their budget money in them!

Posted by: coffeetime | January 24, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Give one example of enacted, not proposed, but actually passed example of Republican fiscal restraint and then you can criticize, until then, democrats remain the most fiscally responsible party (which is scary enough).

Posted by: ChicagoIndependant | January 24, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Once more : Possessive "its" takes no apostrophe! If Jonah's so smart, why can't he remember that one little rule, huh, huh? George Will's right: he's an idiot! Oops, wrong blog, sorry, heh-heh, never mind... :)

Posted by: aardunza | January 24, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

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