04/12/2011 03:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Real Story of the Budget Showdown

Tomorrow, President Obama is going to give a speech on reducing the deficit. And I hope he lays out specifics instead of working with the Republicans to spring a secret deal on the public at the last minute. We need a debate on debt and what it means.

We heard last week about the brinksmanship of the Democrats and Republicans, how they almost shut the government down due to partisan disagreements. But as with so much in Washington, the real story is one of insiders colluding against us, the public. Here's Assistant Leader Democrat Jim Clyburn on my show last Friday, after I asked him where that $40B in cuts was coming from:


"Speaker Boehner is a consummate legislator and he knows full well if he starts identifying the cuts those special interests out there who may feel threatened by them will rev up their friends here in the body and may cause him some pain and suffering. So I think he's right not to identify those cuts and just deal with the topline number. So I'd have to defend him on that."

Now that's the real story. Neither Democrats nor Republicans would let anyone know what the cuts were until the decision had been made. And why? Because if people had a chance to see what was on the chopping block, they might not like it. Clyburn pretended like it was only those mean special interests who would oppose cuts. But come on. We know the lobbyists made sure their favorite programs were preserved. They managed to sneak into the budget funding for a failed DC voucher program, funding for a private and public audit of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at the behest of the banks.

It's only we the people who weren't at the table.

These fake debates are an outrage. We were only hearing about a topline number, along with a few hot button distractions like PLANNED PARENTHOOD and ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. Look, A SHINY THING OVER THERE. It is as you saw two doctors arguing over your prognosis, but all they would tell you is whether you needed one white pill or two white pills. Of course you'd want to know what the sickness is!

The politicians aren't telling us the truth, probably because we aren't asking. Well I did ask, and I got a Democratic leader defending a Republican leader's secrecy. That's the real story of the budget showdown.

As the debate over the debt ceiling heats up, it's time for we the people to ask what the deal actually might turn out to be, not complain over an arbitrary number that has no meaning.

President Obama came to DC to change the way politics is done, to take it out the back rooms. He hasn't so far stopped the insider self-dealing. I hope that tomorrow, he starts.

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