Paul Ryan: Where's Your Budget, Mr. President?
During the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, President Obama reportedly warned Republican leaders not to call his bluff by sending him a bill without tax increases. Republicans in Congress ignored this threat and passed a bill that cuts more than a dollar in spending for every dollar it increases the debt limit, without raising taxes.
Yesterday, Mr. Obama signed this bill into law. He was, as he said, bluffing.
Nevertheless, the president still hasn't shown us his cards. He still hasn't put forward a credible plan to tackle the threat of ever-rising spending and debt, and his evasiveness is emblematic of the party he leads.
Ever since they abused the budget process to jam their health-care takeover through Congress last year, the Democrats have simply done away with serious budgeting altogether. The simplest explanation—and the president's real bluff—is that they don't want to commit publicly to the kind of tax increases and health-care rationing that would be required to sustain their archaic vision of government.
The president's February budget deliberately dodged the tough choices necessary to confront the threat of runaway federal spending. It was rejected unanimously in a Senate controlled by his own party.
Since then he has offered a lot of rhetoric but no real plan to avoid a spending-driven debt crisis. His speeches and press conferences are no substitutes for actual budgets with specific numbers and independently verified projections of future deficits and debt. Meanwhile, it has been over two years since the Democrat-controlled Senate passed any budget at all. This is a historic failure to fulfill one of the most basic responsibilities of governing.
This leadership deficit has thrown the federal budget process into chaos at the worst possible time.