Barack Obama gave a strongly-worded speech in 2006 in which he denounced increasing the national debt limit.
In his own words then:
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies…”
Source (page S2237)
Well, Obama seems to have had a change of heart since assuming the Presidency. He has raised the debt ceiling three times in his Presidency so far:
- February 2009: He raised the debt ceiling by $789 billion
- December 2009: He raised the debt ceiling by $290 billion
- February 2010: Just three months later, he raised it by a whopping $1.9 trillion
Ok, so politicians have changes of heart. They’re only human after all, right? Well, Obama has not only changed his mind, but he has gone bigger and badder on the debt limit than any other President in history.
Not only did he preside over the single largest debt ceiling raise in history, but he now wants unlimited power to raise the debt ceiling all by himself.
The Liberal Counterargument
You’re likely to run into two different rebuttals from liberals when you mention Obama’s debt ceiling turnaround.
First Counterargument: But Bush (and other Presidents) raised the debt ceiling too!
Conservative Retort: The first counterargument is a tu quoque or “you too” logical fallacy. Just because Bush did it too doesn’t make it right for Obama to do it. This distracts from the fact that Obama made a complete 180 on the debt ceiling.
Second Counterargument: Liberals will read this and point out that the idea of giving the President the power to unilaterally raise the debt limit was first proposed by Republican Mitch McConnell in 2011.
Conservative Retort: We’ll explain the McConnell thing in a minute, but this liberal argument is a red herring. Instead of admitting that Obama backtracked, the above counterargument points the finger at something someone else did.
The original point of the post is that Obama went from pontificating against increasing the debt limit to presiding over historic debt limit increases. Liberals frequently change the subject when confronted with unflattering facts.
When it comes to McConnell’s 2011 actions, liberals fail to mention that the proposal was a temporary thing; not a proposal to give debt-raising power to the President forever. Additionally, McConnell chose this avenue to avoid going over the fiscal cliff back in 2011.
His reasoning at the time was that this was his last resort since it looked like no agreement could be reached. McConnell did not want republicans to take the blame for a sagging economy. So, his idea was to give the President debt-raising power for the rest of his term.
Admittedly, McConnell’s reasoning is debatable since republicans get blamed for everything no matter what they do. Obama has both the bully pulpit and the media backing him. Conservative republicans should stand strong and demand spending cuts. It is immoral to pass this great debt down to future generations that had nothing to do with any of this.