John Boehner told the Wall Street Journal, “I need this job like I need a hole in the head.” The newly-re-elected Speaker of the House gave the candid interview last week, and, ironically, labeled President Obama “ideological,” claiming, also ironically, “he’s unwilling to take on the left wing of his own party.”
In “The Education of John Boehner,” Stephen Moore at the WSJ writes:
Throughout our hourlong conversation, as is his custom, he takes long drags on one cigarette after another.
Mr. Boehner is frustrated that Republicans were portrayed by the press as dogmatic and unyielding in these [fiscal cliff] talks.
The driving passion for Mr. Boehner in these fiscal debates is his conviction that trillion-dollar deficits are sapping the country of its energy and prosperity. When I ask him when the impact of this debt will start to be felt, he says: “It’s already here today. It’s killing our economy. It’s causing investors to sit on their cash. They’re afraid to invest. It’s a wet blanket on top of our economy.”
Which is total hogwash. Investors aren’t sitting on their cash because the U.S. has debt. Investors are sitting on their cash because the markets are volatile, and the markets are volatile because Congress removed regulations that offered so semblance of security. And investors are sitting on their cash because they have no idea what whacky, stupid move Congress will do next.
He sees debt as almost a moral failing, noting that when he grew up in a “little middle-class, blue-collar neighborhood” outside of Cincinnati, “nobody had debt. It was unheard of. I just don’t do debt.”
If he’s not bullshitting, he’s revealing a shocking lack of sophistication. Should families pay rent on apartments until they can put down the entire purchase price of a house? Should businesses expand only through the cash they have on hand?
The WSJ concludes:
Mr. Boehner says that the only way to build long-term economic growth is to reduce the nation’s debt through entitlement and tax reform. But can such a deal be achieved with a president who doesn’t even think that Washington has a spending problem? “He believes in the power of government,” Mr. Boehner answers. “I believe in the power of the American people. It is really that simple.” And really that difficult.
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