Obama to Republicans: Don't do as I say about cutting spending
If you didn't know anything more about this, you might think the Republicans were being heartless and unfeeling. At least that is what the President and most Democrats* hoped you would think.
In actuality, Republicans were just following what the President himself signed into law by Executive Order in February of this year. Remember PAYGO?
In case you don't, Paygo was a budget tool that simply said that Congress must pay for what it spends. In other words, if new spending is proposed, it must be offset by either cutting somewhere else or adding new taxes. (Even Paygo is pretty much smoke and mirrors as far as any real cuts go.)
In Obama's own words about Paygo (my emphasis), "Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.... After a decade of profligacy, the American people are tired of politicians who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility. It’s easy to get up in front of the cameras and rant against exploding deficits. What’s hard is actually getting deficits under control. But that’s what we must do.”
If you dig deeper than the mainstream media into why Republicans were against extending unemployment, you find out that Republicans were in fact willing to extend benefits to 99 weeks, BUT ONLY IF THEY WERE PAID FOR!
Rep. Camp said it well, "I support, and Republicans have supported, extending unemployment benefits, but we must not do so at a cost to the deficit, to the economy and to future generations. Our inability to get our fiscal house in order isn't just damaging future generations; it is wreaking havoc on jobs today."
So we find most Republicans* wanted to utilize unused Stimulus funds to pay for the unemployment benefit extension, which was in accordance with the President's own Paygo law.
Since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even said that unemployment benefits were "one of the biggest stimuluses to our economy... It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative", wouldn't this bill seem a perfect use for those unused funds? They could extend the unemployment benefits without raising the deficit, which is what the President asked for with Paygo in February and still touts as recently as the G-20 last month.
But most Democrats didn't want to use Paygo. Of course we didn't hear anything about heartless Democrats blocking the passage of unemployment benefits because they wouldn't use existing Stimulus funds.
The President himself didn't want to pass it using Paygo, which is why when it comes to Obama, don't pay any attention to what he says about controlling spending. No, it makes better political hay to slam those unfeeling Republicans for not wanting to help the unemployed by increasing the deficit (even though it could be avoided).
The President is absolutely correct when he said, "American people are tired of politicians who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility." I know I am.
I just wish he followed his own advice.
*The House and Senate version passed with some crossover votes on both sides.