Anyone remember Obama’s Pay-Go law? 

Over the weekend, President Obama took a shot at Senate Republicans for holding up an extension of the regimen under which Americans can collect unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks.

But at Hot Air, Jimmy Bise points out that Republicans aren’t actually blocking the extension. They’re demanding that it be paid for with corresponding spending cuts. Their position is strangely similar to another one, expressed in February. I’ll just eliminate the suspense now and tell you that this is what President Obama said when he patted himself on the back for signing the “pay-as-you-go” law:

It’s pretty simple. It says to Congress, you have to pay as you go. You can’t spend a dollar unless you cut a dollar elsewhere. This is how a responsible family or business manages a budget. And this is how a responsible government manages a budget, as well.

It was this rule that helped lead to balanced budgets in the 1990s, by making clear that we could not increase entitlement spending or cut taxes simply by borrowing more money. And it was the abandonment of this rule that allowed the previous administration and previous congresses to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and create an expensive new drug program without paying for any of it. Now in a perfect world, Congress would not have needed a law to act responsibly, to remember that every dollar spent would come from taxpayers today – or our children tomorrow.

But this isn’t a perfect world. This is Washington. And while in theory there is bipartisan agreement on moving on balanced budgets, in practice, this responsibility for the future is often overwhelmed by the politics of the moment. It falls prey to the pressure of special interests, to the pull of local concerns, and to a reality familiar to every single American – the fact that it is a lot easier to spend a dollar than save one.

That is why this rule is necessary. And that is why I am pleased that Congress fulfilled my request to restore it. Last night, I signed the “pay as you go” rule into law. Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.

Please forgive the president: He’s probably just “overwhelmed by the politics of the moment.”

And in Massachusetts, the site of that centuries-old battle, voters handed Obama a stinging rebuke that spoke directly to the health care debate. They replaced the recently deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., a champion of health care reform, with a Republican who had campaigned against Obamacare.

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Doug Graham

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