Illusionist in Chief

I've long argued that the basic premise behind liberalism is that you, as an individual, aren't capable of taking care of yourself properly. You need help. You need to be protected from your own mistakes, and further inured from being hurt by the countless others out there who are equally inept at life. Its a confederacy of dunces out there -- a mass population of the victimized, vanquished and violated. You need help, you poor thing. You can see this now at work in every aspect of the Obama presidency. Government has stepped in to remake industry and finance with your tax dollars to ensure that the UAW keeps their jobs and that banks don't have to suffer the penalty of making bad decisions. On the horizon are massive new rules on what you can eat, what cars you can drive, how much heat you can have in the winter and how much air conditioning you can use in the summer. And don't forget the impending health care entitlement, which is going to force you into a massive government-run insurance program. You need the government to provide -- and ration -- health care, because you just aren't capable of getting the coverage you need on your own. You are helpless, after all -- so in the great spirit of paternalism, the government is going to treat you like the child you are give it to you. For your own good, of course.

Remember, people! You are s-t-u-p-i-d!

And further proof is how Obama is saying one thing and doing another -- talking about "balanced budgets" and "being fiscally responsible", and yet embarking on the runaway spending that will result in crippling deficits for years to come. He has packages his health care reform as a "public option" -- that will preserve private insurance. But that's also a lie -- everyone knows that this is just a feint to a single payer system that ultimately forces out private insurance. Once there is a government (read "tax-payer" funded) option on the table, employers who are now footing the bill for their employee's insurance will quickly dump it. Why not have tax payers foot the bill? It's clear that Obama believes that the most important thing about universal health care is the "universal" part. The "health care" aspect -- meaning the quality of care -- is really secondary. Again, this is in line with the left's cornerstone belief that equality of access is more important than the outcomes it produces.

Today's Wall Street Journal has more on the Obama deception machine and its worth reading: Some things in politics you can't make up, such as President Obama's re-re-endorsement Tuesday of "pay-as-you-go" budgeting. Coming after $787 billion in nonstimulating stimulus, a $410 billion omnibus to wrap up fiscal 2009, a $3.5 trillion 2010 budget proposal, sundry bailouts and a 13-figure health-care spending expansion still to come, this latest vow of fiscal chastity is like Donald Trump denouncing self-promotion.

Check that. Even The Donald would find this one too much to sell.

But Mr. Obama must think the press and public are dumb enough to buy it, because there he was Tuesday re-selling the same "paygo" promises that Democrats roll out every election. Paygo is "very simple," the President claimed. "Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere."

That's what Democrats also promised in 2006, with Nancy Pelosi vowing that "the first thing" House Democrats would do if they took Congress was reimpose paygo rules that "Republicans had let lapse." By 2008, Speaker Pelosi had let those rules lapse no fewer than 12 times, to make way for $400 billion in deficit spending. Mr. Obama repeated the paygo pledge during his 2008 campaign, and instead we have witnessed the greatest peacetime spending binge in U.S. history. As a share of GDP, spending will hit an astonishing 28.5% in fiscal 2009, with the deficit hitting 13% and projected to stay at 4% to 5% for years to come.

The truth is that paygo is the kind of budget gimmick that gives gimmickry a bad name. As Mr. Obama knows but won't tell voters, paygo only applies to new or expanded entitlement programs, not to existing programs such as Medicare, this year growing at a 9.2% annual rate. Nor does paygo apply to discretionary spending, set to hit $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2010, or 40% of the budget...

The real game here is that the President is trying to give Democrats in Congress political cover for the health-care blowout and tax-increase votes that he knows are coming. The polls are showing that Mr. Obama's spending plans are far less popular than the President himself, and Democrats in swing districts are getting nervous. The paygo ruse gives Blue Dog Democrats cover to say they voted for "fiscal discipline," even as they vote to pass the greatest entitlement expansion in modern history. The Blue Dogs always play this double game.

The other goal of this new paygo campaign is to make it easier to raise taxes in 2011, and impossible to cut taxes for years after that. In the near term, paygo gives Mr. Obama another excuse to let the Bush tax cuts he dislikes expire after 2010, while exempting those (for lower-income voters) that he likes. In the longer term, if a GOP Congress or President ever want to cut taxes, paygo applies a straitjacket that pits those tax cuts against, say, spending cuts in Medicare. The Reagan tax reductions would never have happened under paygo.

The main political question now is when Americans will start to figure out Mr. Obama's pattern of spend, repent and repeat. The President is still sailing along on his charm and the fact that Americans are cheering for an economic recovery. But eventually they'll see that he isn't telling them the truth, and when they do, the very Blue Dogs he's trying to protect will pay the price. And they'll deserve what they get.

Obama is betting, of course, that we are all too dumb to see past the charm offensive, and that he can keep peddling his programs with a wink and a nod, talking about fiscal discipline all the while enacting the biggest expansion of government largess since...well...since forever.

Watch the shiny thing...see how it moves back and forth...isn't it pretty?