Tuesday, July 19, 2011

If It's Not On Paper, It's Not Real

You know how deeply a meme has penetrated when it is repeated in blog comments. It's a sure sign that something, probably not based in reality, has gained traction in the common mind; therefore making its own reality.

From Jay Bookman's blog this morning:
Jay, I have never seen any details regarding this “proposal.” Do you have a link?

Even Speak Boehner began parroting the line this morning. And they are right. The one thing President Obama has not done is roll out flowcharts, power points or even Paul Ryan like fancy commercials with scary spiraling graphs.

He has done nothing at all! All those meetings! All those negotiations! And nothing! What disdain our President shows for the process.

Except he has.

Press conference - July 11, 2011

President Obama said the Republicans need to come to the plate and work to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years.
Washington Post Report - July 10, 2011

Two of President Obama’s top advisers said he will continue to press for a far-reaching, $4 trillion deal to cut the deficit when he meets with congressional leaders on Sunday evening, despite new opposition from Republican leaders to such a compromise.
Obama Speech - April 13th

So today, I’m proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years.  It’s an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission that I appointed last year, and it builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget.  It’s an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table -- but one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future.
Also from the April 13th speech

But like the commission, the White House estimates that spending would account for the bulk of deficit reduction. Obama says he wants $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in additional tax revenue

He also said he supports a "debt failsafe" trigger that would be activated if Congress fails to enact fiscally sound budgets. His target: Annual deficits that are no more than 2.8% of GDP, on average, starting in the second half of this decade. Of late, annual deficits have been close to 10%

Cut non-security spending over the next decade in a manner recommended by his debt commission. The commission set 2012 non-security spending at 2011 levels, and by 2020, would allocate only slightly more than the 2012 amount.

 The April 13th speech in particular was heavy on specifics and called for $4 trillion in deficit reduction, primarily through spending cuts. In any other setting this would be seen as an austerity plan similar to the one implemented recently by the British Tory government.

But because it isn't on paper, it isn't "real". And these people expect us to continue to take them seriously?


Charlie said...

The devil is in the details, and the president has refused to engage in the details from his bully pulpit.

Thus, he can say whatever he wants. And he can contradict that in his very next speech.

I've negotiated quite a few contracts in my day, and even with close friends & associates, I never, ever, do it verbally. Putting it in writing gets everyone on the same page, quite literally.

When everything is verbal, with little detail provided, things can mean different things to different people.

The part of this that WAS in writing from Obama was the Simpson Bowles report. It had a supermajority of support from his own commission. Yet he refused to even TALK about that, much less submit it to Congress for a vote.

That alone has continued to reinforce the impression that he's not serious, nor "negotiating" in good faith.

griftdrift said...

I've always heard we want government run more like a business. So the Chief Executive is supposed to deal with the devils in the details? That's not been my experience in business. Usually they give a broad outline of their goals then delegate to their lieutenants to deal with the devils in the details. In other words, exactly what Obama has done.

And when he has laid out specifics, he has absolutely used elements of Bowles Simpson.

If we really need pie charts and line graphs to get a deal done, I suppose we could buzz up Perot. That's a concession I'll make if that's what it takes.