MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough says President Barack Obama has “a very big problem” with his liberal base over America’s debt crisis, and predicts that he will have to be much more specific if he hopes to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
In an exclusive Newsmax interview, the former Republican
congressman from Florida said the Democratic base simply wants Obama to push for higher taxes and to close loopholes on oil companies.
“But raising taxes on millionaires and oil companies alone is not going to take care of America’s debt crisis,” Scarborough said Wednesday afternoon.
Scarborough said that shortly after taking office Obama declared Social Security was the No. 1 threat to a long-term economic recovery. But “now it’s an afterthought,” Scarborough told Newsmax.
Obama in January 2009 told the Washington Post: "What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further. We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else's."
Scarborough noted that the president proposed a failsafe measure that would call for Congress to re-examine its spending and revenue policies, if the debt isn’t falling as a share of the economy by 2014.
“I find that remarkable that the president and some people on Capitol Hill, using the president’s own words, want to kick the can down the road another three or four years,” Scarborough said. “The fact is that if you look at the front page of The Financial Times today, there’s a screaming headline saying the International Monetary Fund and other countries [are] saying that America’s failure to get serious on its debt problem is going to cause a worldwide recession.”
Scarborough predicted that even left-leaning journalists “will probably say he wasn’t specific enough.”
Scarborough, known for his time in Washington as a small-government conservative who was part of the Republican takeover of the House in 1994, added that: “When it gets to the point that the French are lecturing American presidents and congressmen and senators on spending too much money, there’s a serious problem. And the question is whether Washington is going to face down that problem and pass real spending cuts.”
But Scarborough remained open-minded that President Obama may provide more specifics in the days and weeks to come, as raising the nation’s debt ceiling and formulating a 2012 budget loom.
“The president stuck his foot in the water,” the MSNBC host told Newsmax. “It’s certainly not significant enough for me or probably other small-government conservatives. But who knows, maybe it’s a start.”
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