In the final press conference of his first term, President Barack Obama made the following claim: “America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up.” Major Garrett of CBS News and Chuck Todd of NBC questioned why Obama was unwilling to negotiate. But no one thought to question Obama’s basic premise–that the debt is someone else’s fault.
A few very simple questions might have sufficed:
1. Mr. President, in four years, have you ever proposed a budget that reduced government spending and debt?
2. If you are concerned about our debt, why did you sign a fiscal cliff deal that adds $4 trillion to our deficits?
3. Is “Congress” as a whole is the problem, why has the Democratic Senate not passed a budget since 2009?
4. As a member of Congress, serving four years in the Senate, why did you vote for increased spending?
5. If raising the debt ceiling is an imperative for our nation’s economy, why did you vote against raising it?
The questions are worth asking, even if there are no good answers.
UPDATE: Garrett did note Obama’s prior vote against raising the debt ceiling, but did not ask for explanation.