Obama’s budget does not reduce spending

Freedom New Mexico

President Barack Obama’s $3.7 trillion budget, the largest ever, at best temporarily would freeze, not reduce, federal spending, increase the deficit and the national debt to record highs while substantially raising taxes on large segments of the society. To say there’s not much to like is to grossly understate the case.

“Americans don’t want a spending freeze at unsustainable levels,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “They want cuts, dramatic cuts.” McConnell’s reaction was widely shared Monday upon release of the president’s fiscal 2012 spending plan.

“The Obama White House offers no serious effort to rein in the unprecedented expansion in government spending that we’ve experienced over the past three-plus years,” observed Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. “To the contrary, the president presents a budget agenda that calls for a small one-year reduction in spending for 2012 — after outlays will have increased by 40 percent over four years — and then federal spending resumes its growth.”

Glaringly absent is any serious proposal for tax or entitlement reform. We’ve become accustomed to hearing deceptive budget talk from the White House. President Obama’s current spin is in that tradition.

“The president is pulling a fast one on the public when he claims he is cutting his budget,” noted Iain Murray, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Economic Freedom. “Most of the so-called cuts are from last year’s projected budget for 2012, but still represent an increase in spending … . What we see in this budget is a government where spending is out of control, rather than a responsible government cutting back to stay within its means.”

Clearly, Obama has yet to come to grips with what it means to reduce government spending. For example, he wanted to spend $1.85 billion for two school initiatives last year, but this year has asked for $1.2 billion, a third less. A smaller increase in spending is not a spending cut.

To put Obama’s bloated $3.7 trillion budget in perspective, it was only nine years ago that President George W. Bush proposed the first $2 trillion budget. Obama’s projected $1.65 trillion deficit is nearly as large as Bush’s entire then-record budget.

The president offers tokens of what’s needed in much larger doses. He would reduce budgets for half of all federal agencies, consolidate 40 duplicative and inefficient education programs into 11 while eliminating 13 others. Sixty duplicative transportation programs would be consolidated into five, and defense spending would be cut $78 billion over five years.

But the president’s approach is like a dieter who foregoes chocolate cake dessert, only to order an ice cream sundae instead. The bottom line is that the White House projects an even higher deficit than the Congressional Budget Office had forecast.

We long for the days, as recently as 1996, when genuine solutions, like eliminating the Department of Education, seriously were proposed by Republicans who said, “The federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the marketplace.” Unfortunately, the department survived, and, now, Obama wants to increase federal education spending 11 percent.

The foolishness of any 11 percent increase in government spending should be obvious. The nation faces unprecedented deficit and debt, amid a prolonged, sluggish exit from the worse recession since the Great Depression.

President Obama’s narrowly targeted cuts, coupled with substantially higher taxes on the wealthy and businesses and unwarranted increased funding for energy and education, indicate he simultaneously wants to appease tax-and-spend Democrats and placate Tea Party-inspired tax cutters in the newly Republican-controlled House of Representatives. His lukewarm solution doubtless will be rejected on both sides of the aisle.