Flanked by emergency medical personnel, Mr. Obama made his usual threat of Armageddon if automatic spending cuts go forward on March 1. Americans can expect more such melodrama in the coming days, so as a public service we thought we’d break down the President’s three biggest political tricks.
• The Washington Monument ploy. “If Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place,” he moaned, “it will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job creating investments in education and energy and medical research.” His parade of horribles went on for several minutes. All of this wreckage from a 5% cut to domestic agencies and a 7% cut to the military.
• The recession scare. Mr. Obama warned that the sequester will “hurt our economic growth [and] add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls.” But hasn’t Mr. Obama been telling us that the economy is coming back and the stock market is up?
• A tax increase disguised as “tax reform.” Mr. Obama isn’t proposing to substitute other spending reforms for the blunt instrument of the sequester. He is actually demanding another tax increase on top of the one he just beat out of Congress. His trick is to pretend that this is “tax reform” that would eliminate loopholes, but this is the same President who insisted on more than $30 billion in tax breaks for big business (including $12 billion for the wind industry) in the fiscal-cliff deal.