Last week, the president again played Henny Penny, warning Americans that the sky will fall if Republicans don’t derail the automatic spending cuts Obama himself demanded to break an earlier stand-off. If the cuts kick in, the president claims, the poor will go hungry, thousands will be thrown out of work, the country will be left more vulnerable to attack.
Those are the pronouncements of a campaigner, not a leader. A leader would have reassured the American people the economy won’t collapse if Washington is forced to cut a meager 3 percent from discretionary spending, and empathized that for most households, such belt-tightening is routine. A corporate CEO would be laughed onto the street if he made the claim Obama did that in a $3.6 trillion budget, he can’t find $85 billion in savings. Squeezing budgets is a basic job skill in private sector C-suites.
Instead of threatening to fire first responders and defense workers, a leader would have offered, say, to chop the $24 billion in ineffective green energy subsidies. Or he might have set aside the $50 billion in new spending contained in his State of the Union address.