So we come to the fork

Keep feeding the voracious Washington beast? Or put it on a diet?

It's as if, after the iceberg, the captain of the Titanic was announcing a pool party.


While unemployment has remained around 9 percent at best and the national debt has ballooned by more than a third under this president, the White House has added seven employees and some $4 million more in salary since Mr. Obama took office.

"No recession for Obama's 454 White House aides: They'll make $37,121,463 this year," blared a Los Angeles Times blog after the annual release of the White House payroll last week.

More than 140 Obama aides make over $100,000, 11 more than under the Bush administration.

No wonder Mr. Obama is addicted to raising taxes: The mushrooming costs of just his White House are but one small part of a federal behemoth whose hunger knows no bounds and who will eat us all alive if unchecked.

Reports this past week also indicate that staff raises at the White House far outpace either inflation or raises elsewhere in the country.

Meanwhile, the White House Council of Economic Advisers claims the stimulus bill saved or created 2.4 million jobs at a cost of $666 billion -- or about $278,000 per job.

When the president says he wants to create jobs, take a pass. Others can do it much less expensively.

Yep. No recession at 1600 Pennsylvania. And these are the people we're depending on to cut the deficit by Aug. 2? Pass the lifeboats!

Much preferable, and much more sane, is the approach of those, such as South Carolina's Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Jim DeMint, who, with other conservative leaders around the country, have signed the "Cut, Cap, Balance" pledge.

The pledge -- put forth by a broad and growing group of grassroots organizations around the country -- would provide "significant spending cuts, a statutory spending cap and a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution as preconditions to raising the federal debt limit," Haley said.

The pledge would require any rise in the nation's debt limit to be tied to substantial spending cuts and congressional support for a balanced budget down the road.

Don't we, in fact, owe that to our descendants?

"Instead of taking the easy way out and raising the debt limit," Haley said in a statement, "it's time for politicians to make the same tough decisions we're making in South Carolina."


Even better, though not likely to gain as much steam, is our own Rep. Paul Broun's bill to actually lower the debt ceiling instead of raising it. The Georgia congressman's logic is unassailable -- which means it won't go anywhere in Washington: A family with out-of-control debt would cut back, not seek even more credit.

Talk about a fork in the road: Some in Washington -- the president and congressional Democrats -- are yearning for more money. And in a recessionary economy! How counterproductive is that? Meanwhile, Republicans want spending cuts. That's the choice being made as the White House and Congress meet to hammer out an agreement to deal with the debt ceiling deadline.

Republicans come to the table with a mandate, delivered by voters last November, to get control of federal spending. Mr. Obama is banking on that mandate to ebb with time -- and on selling class warfare in order to raise taxes on couples earning more than $250,000. In the process, he's trying to convince voters that soaking the rich will solve our problems. It won't. You could confiscate all their wealth and still have a debt problem.

Especially when government operations continue to increase their spending.