President's Budget is More of the Same
Shortly after his inauguration, President Obama released his first budget proposal to the American people and Congress. During his announcement, the president promised that he would cut the deficit, we inherited, by half by the end of my first term in office.
Recently, the president released his fourth budget proposal, but it is clear that he has failed to meet his promise and provide the spending cuts that the American people have overwhelmingly demanded. The proposed budget contains over $1.33 trillion in deficit spending for the current fiscal year, up from $1.3 trillion in 2009, and increases spending every year for the next 10 years.
This years proposal continues the presidents trend of unserious budgets. Last years budget was voted down 97-0 in the Senate. Not even a single member of the presidents own party supported it!
His budget claims $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but it is mostly more Washington-style accounting gimmicks and tricks. The first $1.2 trillion in savings comes from last summers debt ceiling compromise which was pushed primarily by conservatives and House Republicans. An additional $617 billion in savings comes from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first is double counted. The second is money built into a government accounting formula, but was never going to be spent. These arent real spending cuts.
Moreover, if the president is so concerned about jobs, why has he included $1.9 trillion in tax hikes? Even after passing more than 20 tax increases since taking office, the president is still asking for more of Americans hard-earned dollars. Economists of all stripes agree that raising taxes during a recession and weak recovery is the wrong policy, but that doesnt seem to matter to the president. Hes more worried about asking individuals and families to pay their fair share.
The budget also fails to seriously tackle the entitlement crisis facing America. Instead of addressing the rapid increase in Medicare spending, which has doubled in the last decade, President Obama wants to strengthen the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and shift responsibility away from himself and members of Congress. IPAB is a board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats created by his massive health care overhaul that will cut reimbursements to providers and put Washington between patients and their doctors.
Nor does the president plan to rein in the costs of Medicaid or Social Security. Medicaid will be expanded by more than 15 million individuals in 2014 but theres no plan here or elsewhere to control the costs of this vast expansion. Social Security will need huge tax increases or benefit cuts to support it in its current form, yet the president continues to support the failed pay-as-you-go scheme which is a bad deal for workers.
Yet despite all these gimmicks and tricks, the president is claiming credit for the tough choices that his administration is making. Im not convinced that asking for almost $2 trillion in new taxes and increasing spending year over year comes even remotely comes close to this claim. If American families can cut their household spending and balance their budgets, the President should follow suit.