President Barack Obama's promise Thursday that everything in his jobs plan will be paid for rests on highly iffy propositions.If we had a president dedicated to his job, we wouldn't be in such a mess. If we elect a real president next year, expect the economy to take off.
It will only be paid for if a committee he can't control does his bidding, if Congress puts that into law and if leaders in the future - the ones who will feel the fiscal pinch of his proposals - don't roll it back.
Underscoring the gravity of the nation's high employment rate, Obama chose a joint session of Congress, normally reserved for a state of the union speech, to lay out his proposals. But if the moment was extraordinary, the plan he presented was conventional Washington rhetoric in one respect: It employs sleight-of-hand accounting.
OBAMA: "Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."That's all you need to know. He's not serious, cannot be taken seriously and is seriously in over his head. This was a campaign speech, pure and simple, and he wasted everyone's time.
THE FACTS: Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act, but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near-term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future - the "out years," in legislative jargon - but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.
Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due. Today's Congress cannot bind a later one for future spending. A future Congress could simply reverse it.