Free Markets, Free People


Budget battles–the same old stuff from Obama

Tomorrow night President Obama will address the nation in an “important” speech – or is it “major” speech – about how he thinks we ought to cut both the deficit and the debt.

Clue:  It involves raising taxes.  

Yeah, the backhanded way of saying, “our problem is one of not enough revenue instead of too much spending”.  And how does the President plan on selling this?  Well if his spokesman, Jay Carney is to be believed, an old bromide is the answer:

“You can’t — you can’t simply slash entitlements, lower taxes and call that a fair deal.”

Everyone,” he said, must “share in the burden of bringing our fiscal house into order.”

You could spend all day on those two sentences alone.  Yes, Mr. Carney and Mr. Obama, you can “simply slash entitlement, lower taxes and call that a fair deal”.  Despite rhetoric to the contrary, our problem is growing government and out of control spending.  Slash both the size of government and severely limit its ability to spend more than it takes in and you’ve taken a major step in “bringing our fiscal house into order”.  That’s what’s fair.

But of course, that assumes you don’t by the implication that this problem we suffer under is one of all our making.  Because if you do, then you buy into the assumption that we must all “share in the burden” of fixing it.  No sale here.

First, we don’t all agree that it in order to fix what profligate and incompetent legislators have done over the years we must give them more money to waste.

No matter how many times they say it, it doesn’t make it right.  They have more than enough revenue to properly fund the Constitutionally mandated government.  What they don’t have enough revenue to continue carrying on is the extra-Constitutional nonsense called entitlements.  That means entitlements must be “slashed” to the point that they’re self-sufficient and don’t add to either the deficit or the debt.  Additionally, once those are addressed, government should be trimmed of all the bureaucratic fat it has built up over the decades.  If there’s a problem with morbid obesity in this country it is found in the size of government.

Oh, and don’t forget that the guy who is going to lecture us about fiscal responsibility on Wednesday night has doubled the debt and is running a deficit this year over a trillion dollars (drinking game – knock it back every time he pawns all of that off as an “inherited” problem), not to mention adding a huge new … entitlement program.

The budget deal just negotiated take a first tentative swipe at the size of government.  No, it’s not what I’d prefer, but then given what it could have ended up being, I’ll take it.  Here’s a rundown of some of the cuts.  Ed Morrissey has a few more:

The CR terminates funding for more than 55 programs, for a total savings of well over $1 billion.  In addition, the bill terminates two programs funded in ObamaCare (the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) and the Free Choice Voucher programs).

The CO-OP, according to some critics, is nothing more than a stealth public option.  But to the point – 55 programs is 55 programs.  We could probably easily eliminate 5,500, but that’s not the point at the moment – a journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step in that direction.  That’s what this should be considered and we need to encourage (and reward) this sort of thinking and action.

Another I like:

The legislation also eliminates four Administration “Czars,” including the “Health Care Czar,” the “Climate Change Czar,” the “Car Czar,” and the “Urban Affairs Czar.”

That’s why you have Department Secretaries, although I’d love to see some of the departments eliminated as well.  Speaking of those Departments:

  • Agriculture: $3 billion cut from FY10 level, $3.2 billion less than Obama budget request
  • Commerce/Justice/Science: $10.9 billion cut from FY10 level, $7.1 billion less than Obama request
  • Defense: $5 billion increase from FY10
  • Energy/Water: $3.6 billion cut from FY10, $1.7 billion less than Obama request
  • Financial Services: $2.4 billion cut from FY10, $3.4 billion less than Obama request
  • Homeland Security: $0.784 billion cut from FY10, $1.9 billion below Obama request
  • Interior: $2.62 billion cut from FY10, $2.8 billion below Obama request
  • Labor/HHS/Education: $5.5 billion cut from FY10, $13 billion below Obama request
  • Legislature: $0.103 billion cut from FY10
  • Military Construction/Veterans Affairs: $0.6 billion increase over FY10, $3.4 billion more than Obama request
  • State/Foreign Operations: $0.504 billion cut from FY10, $8.4 billion below Obama request
  • Transportation/HUD: $12.3 billion cut from FY10, $13.2 billion below Obama request

Like I said a first tentative step, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, I just can’t wait to hear what Mr. Deficit Hawk has to say Wednesday night.  In a sad sort of way, it ought to be a howler.

~McQ

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22 Responses to Budget battles–the same old stuff from Obama

  • If he says he will raise taxes in any serious amount, I would be surprised. That could be a real election loser.
    On a side note, somehow I am starting to warm up to Trump.
    I know he’d be a disaster as president, but so is Obama, so wouldn’t it be more fun to have Trump in charge?
    Its sad when your vote will not be based on skill or competence, but entertainment value.
    Ideally, Trump plays as the new Palin, except without Tina Fey mocking him, and can say some “truth to power” that the official candidate dares not.
    And, please would Obama release his birth certificate? Enough of the nonsense.

    • Mind numbing debt aside, I see what you mean about the Donald. The size of his ego is incalculable. No amount of pious PC sanctimony would have an effect on that man. How could the press slander a man so far beyond slander and libel even barrels of electronic ink has no effect on especially because he could take down the entire newspaper?

      Frankly, I love Donald’s birther attack. I think he has figured it out. The dems have used the birther canard as a perfect distraction, a self-inflected smear campaign of incredible deftness. Now, when the birther issue needs to go away because the democrats in the senate need all of the air time they can get, they can’t get it because of the Donald. Why, the next thing you know, Trump might call Barny Frank a heterosexual. Imagine the fun we would have then!

    • Hard to see how he could be worse than Obama, Clinton and Bush. Hmmm, that scans somehow … new lyrics to Abraham, Martin, and John?
       

    • I know it must be bad in DC because this year I got a refund on my taxes after missing 3 of 4 estimated payments.
      But isn’t an excuse to raise taxes, because we have less this year too.

  • [Y]ou can’t simply slash entitlements, lower taxes and call that a fair deal.

    Can somebody explain how it is “fair” for people to get far more out of an entitlement program / system than they put in, and thus expect other people to pay the difference? 

    Can somebody then tell me how it is “fair” for the government to borrow staggering sums against the credit of Americans not yet born, pushing out nation to the brink of ruinous debt and perhaps even insolvency? 

    Can somebody then tell me how it is “fair” for politicians to use the public treasury as bribe money to get themselves reelected over and over again?

    Can somebody then tell me how it is “fair” for a handful of legislators – the vast majority of whom are not from my home state or even my part of the country – to increasingly control how I live my life?

    There’s a whole lot about our government that isn’t even remotely “fair”.  I suggest to Carney (and most people in DC including his jug-eared, idiot boss) that “dat word does no mean what you think it means.”

    • “Can somebody explain how it is “fair” for people to get far more out of an entitlement program / system than they put in, and thus expect other people to pay the difference? ”

      It’s easy Doc – see, a lot, not all, but a lot, of those people who get the entitlements made poor personal choices earlier in life weren’t as fortunate as others and so it’s up to those who made good choices, sacrificed, worked hard and didn’t screw off were more fortunate to help the less fortunate.
      Besides ‘the rich’ really didn’t earn what they have and it’s only fair that they be made to share that un-earned wealth with those who are not a well off. except for the Democrat voting trust fund kiddies, you know who I mean….

    • Well, depends on the entitlement.
      There is a tolerable argument for Social Security that people were forced to pay in their entire lives, and that slashing it now is “unfair” to them, in that they were not only forced to contribute, but forced to contribute and promised X out.
      One can (and indeed at some point it’s likely that we must) argue that it’s necessary to do so, and even that it’s the least unfair option – but you can’t just say “that doesn’t count as unfair” and handwave it away.
      Fairness has lots of senses and lots of uses, and “getting what you were promised and paid into” covers it.
      (Yes, of course the “paying in” was never, despite attempts to frame it as such, them actually saving for their retirement – but given both that everyone always tried to make it sound like that, and that they had no choice about it, I don’t think we can just reject an “unfairness” complaint about cuts.
      We have to address it, and perhaps even say “yes, it’s unfair, but it’s the least bad option”. But people DO think it’s unfair, and you can’t just ignore it.)

      • Sigivald - There is a tolerable argument for Social Security that people were forced to pay in their entire lives, and that slashing it now is “unfair” to them, in that they were not only forced to contribute, but forced to contribute and promised X out. [emphasis original - dj505]

        I see what you mean and agree from the perspective of honoring a commitment / contract.  On the other hand, as The Dear Golfer’s mouthpiece says, everybody is going to have to “share the burden”, and I think that a good place to start is eliminating such a grossly – nay, RIDICULOUSLY – “unfair” contract.  I don’t say that we need to eliminate Social Security immediately, but there’s no question that it is an unsustainable Ponzi scheme that must go if we are to avoid national bankruptcy.  Indeed, we’ve got to start recognizing this fact: politicians cannot be allowed to get away with blatant lies about “lock boxes” and “surpluses” or even “sacred contracts”.  Social Security, along with other well-intentioned but unsustainable entitlements, is killing us, and we’ve got to face that fact if we’re ever to get out from under the debt that they inflict upon us.

  • Obama will not blaze a fresh path when he delivers a much-anticipated speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University. Instead, he is expected to offer support for the commission’s work and a related effort underway in the Senate to develop a strategy for curbing borrowing.

    Funny how he always embraces the tax increases and none of the spending cuts. The man is dickless.

  • So he is going to give a speech saying we should all pay more taxes right while we are filling out our tax returns?

    I say go for it, Mr Obama.

    • strategy for curbing borrowing

      The new code word (phrase) of the day. It means raise taxes.

  • Obama is trying to shore up his base. He is taking a beating on the left for the budget battles, Libya, and his general fecklessness. His Ramussen “strongly approve” numbers have dropped to a new low level: 19-24%.

    It’s bad enough that Obama has lost independents in droves, but if he cripples his base, he is definitely toast next year.

  • You’ll be interested to know that in response to a growing economy and plummeting unemployment (very difficult to find engineers to other highly skilled trades) the Swedish government is planning on cutting taxes next year *again* since the tax funds are now too high. The lefties are howling of course but it is difficult to argue with reality. Sweden had some “stimulus” action a couple of years ago but has mostly been on the course of cutting spending and boosting the economy and can now afford to drop taxes in response to the greater tax take. Maybe you should direct Obama to take a look at the Swedish model version 2011?

    • We will soon be just like the Europeans …

      It is a sentiment that appears to be spreading. Popular anger at bail-outs, austerity and general economic uncertainty has already toppled leaders on the eurozone’s periphery: first in Ireland, then Portugal and arguably Spain, where José Luis Zapatero has said he will not seek a third term as prime minister.
      Now, anger is beginning to infect Europe’s prosperous core, where mainstream parties are losing ground to populist outsiders playing on resentment and frustration triggered by austerity and falling living standards.

      This kind of anger can go Left or Right. In Finland, the EU-sceptic party is poised to make major gains.

      • Well in the northern european countries it is anger at the countries that can’t control their spending even in a crisis, won’t stand up to unions or special interests etc. That is to say, anger at Spain, Portugal, Greece etc that suck money out of the more disciplined members. People haven’t minded austerity if it pays off, like it has in Sweden, but utterly resent bailing out the southern whackjobs who continue to burn money to prop-up their socialist states. If that deflates the power of the EU, all the better for those of us with a bit of selfcontrol! Obama, Krugman and co should take heed, but will they?

    • Yeah, Sweden is now more libertarian than America in some ways. But most libs think its still totally socialist.

      • All of those former socialist paradises are trying to back out of their punishing high tax regimes as fast as they can.

  • Part of his speech is to say

    “See what  I can accomplish when we work together, but there’s more for us to do so I can accomplish even more!”

  • So the Bolsheviks only got one czar executed to their credit, Obama gets four! Now when are the pesky Trotskyites, errr, Krugmanites getting the proverbial icepick?

  • In this entire episode, Obama did the first thing I’ve seen that demonstrated any competence. He basically rolled the Republicans into going along with the fiction that their budget negatiations actually resulted in significant cuts, when every day more examination of the details shows the supposed cuts are mostly accounting tricks and similar hot air.

    Now, he’s ready to try and parlay that into what he really wants, which is more money/control for the federal government. He’ll pound on the fairness thing until it fails. He might or not get his tax increases. If he does, the establishment Republicans are even more grotesquely incompetent and unprincipled than I thought. I don’t think he’ll get them. But he wins even if he doesn’t. 

    Whether he gets the tax increases or not, he has tested the mettle of the GOP leaders and now knows they’ll probably fold when it counts during the coming budget negotiations for the full upcoming year. Talking up the extra taxes just gives him one more hot air chip to negotiate away to give them face saving they need to give in to his spending desires. “See, I’m giving up my taxes for the rich, even though I think fairness demands them. So in exchange, you certainly can’t think you can actually get any major budget cuts.”

    Illogical, of course, because decreasing deficits in the near term without tax increases requires more spending cuts, not fewer. But this is not about logic, accounting, or even basic math. It’s about the psychology of the game. The feckless GOP leaders can be gamed, and Obama’s staff knows it and intends to take full advantage of it. Sure, it helps that Obama has the entire MSM to run interference and trash the GOP leaders if they don’t do things his way. But they’re the ones who ultimately lack the guts to do the right and necessary thing.

  • Everyone,” he said, must “share in the burden of bringing our fiscal house into order.”

    So that means all those vacations and golf, all the White House parties and all the flying in friends and delacacies for King Barack will end?

    Oh……everyone ELSE.  Got it.

  • ““Everyone,” he said, must “share in the burden of bringing our fiscal house into order”

    Last year the top 25 percent wage earners paid over 86% of the personal income taxes. ($1.21 trillion out of $1.39)

    Gee maybe the other 75% can start to carry their fair share of the load.

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