Black Conservatives Critique Obama's Deficit Control Plan
Washington, D.C. – President Barack Obama today laid out his plan for dealing with the ballooning federal deficit. Members of the Project 21 black leadership network fault the President for a lack of leadership on this issue and question the lack of innovation, prudence and detail of this new deficit-reduction strategy.
"We expect from our President the ability to lead and make tough choices," said Project 21 member Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Obama's failure has been his inability to recognize — pure and simple — that our country's spending must be controlled, especially entitlement spending, and that the path to higher revenues is tax reform."
Key tenets of the Obama deficit reduction plan, delivered during a speech at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., include cutting defense spending, reducing spending on Medicare and Medicaid (something already pledged as a part of Obamacare), breaking a commitment to continue Bush-era tax rates by seeking increased taxes on businesses and Americans considered to be wealthy, and ambiguous lower rates of domestic spending.
"The President has failed yet again to provide responsible leadership in addressing our spending crisis," said Project 21 member Dr. Phillip Johnson, a member of the board of directors of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Michigan. "Instead of outlining concrete methods by which we can significantly reduce spending on entitlement programs, and other major drivers of our debt, the President has timorously chosen to postulate the same old, worn-out liberal ideology that somehow raising taxes on the rich will solve all of our fiscal problems. This irresponsible and frankly non-sensible approach is just further proof that the President is not as committed to deficit and debt reduction as he says he is, and that is horrifically unfortunate for all Americans."
Although he said otherwise today, Obama has previously chosen not to embrace the recommendations of his own deficit reduction commission that recently suggested cutting $4 trillion by 2020. His 2012 budget is also expected to double the deficit over the next decade.
"Today, President Obama essentially proposed increasing our debt limit to finance the continued massive expansion of the federal bureaucracy. Of course, his speech included the standard threats of doom, gloom and no credit for Americans if we don't pass off these debts to our kids and grandkids," said Project 21 member Ak'bar Shabazz, a small business owner. "Carrying such levels of debt is completely unsustainable and threatens to doom our economy and its currency in the future. The best way to prevent exposure to this risk is to drastically reduce the level of federal spending well beyond the symbolic $4 trillion over 12 years that he has proposed. The long-term risk to Americans should take priority over the short-term risk to Wall Street."
"Obama and his allies have had things largely their way for two years, and all they did was add to the federal deficit with out-of-control spending. What he is proposing now to curtail the debt seems to be nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on a Titanic of his own creation — all the while complaining about how much it will hurt," said Project 21 member Kevin Martin, a Navy veteran and environmental contractor. "The reckless spending and policies of the last two years saw the poor and middle-class bearing the brunt of the recession through job losses, declining home values and higher food and gas prices. It's time for change. All government spending outside of national security should and must be on the table for cuts."
According to a Washington Post report, today's speech comes only after months of deliberation among White House staff about having the President take a leadership role in tackling the issue of the deficit and debt. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) criticized Obama in television interviews this morning for trying to get credit for a process that was started by conservatives. In the speech, however, Obama demonized the Republican budget proposal as fundamentally changing America and changing the government's "basic social compact."
"President Obama confirmed two things," said Project 21 member Stacy W. Swimp, a youth development organization leader in Michigan. "First, Obama is a socialist. His so-called fiscal concepts are openly hostile towards free enterprise. He believes hard-working entrepreneurs are entitled to acquiesce to distributions. Legislation of giving is an anti-American ideology. Second, he places the best interest of banks and bondholders above American citizens. Raising the debt ceiling serves only the interest of the former. Contrary to the 'gloom and doom' propaganda of liberals, America is not destined to be a 21st century Greece by choosing to end reckless spending and force a long overdue adjustment process that will reasonably impose some losses on many banks and bondholders. America: behold the pale horse, President Barack Obama."
"It's clear that Obama was dragged to the table against his will to participate in what is perhaps the most pressing problem facing our nation. So I guess it's no surprise that he's taken the low road and found enemies in corporate America and rushed to the liberal cure-all of taxing them and his defined wealthy among the population. Here again, the remedy to everything is cutting defense, raising taxes and class warfare. Am I missing something here, or shouldn't Obama have a better financial recovery and debt reduction plan that that?" asked Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "Republicans and Obama reached a legislative accord to continue the Bush-era tax rates. Many top analysts believe it is on the strength of their continuation that we are witnessing a modest recovery. For him to now just push that agreement aside shows him to be either disingenuous, untrustworthy or the worst kind of ideologue willing to destroy growth in the pursuit of his progressive agenda."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).