Monday, February 14, 2011

The Madness Of Barack Obama's Budget

Jaw-dropping at best, deeply, deeply cynical at worst. The voters spoke in November, and Obama has decided to ignore them. A few of the numbers that jump out:

$3.73 trillion — total spending this year (25 percent of GDP).
$46 trillion — total spending over the next decade.
$8.7 trillion — total new spending over the same period.
$26.3 trillion — Total new debt, including entitlement obligations, predicted by 2021.
$7.2 trillion — Total deficit predicted by the end of the decade.
$1.1 trillion — How much the White House estimates the proposal will reduce the deficit over the next ten years.
$4 trillion — How much the president’s deficit commission recommended reducing the deficit over the next ten years to avoid financial catastrophe.
$1.6 trillion — The revised deficit project for 2011 (11 percent of GDP), up from $1.3 trillion in 2010.
$2 trillion — Amount the budget will raise taxes on business and upper-income families over the next ten years, which includes letting the Bush-era tax rates expire in 2012 (for incomes $250,000 and up).
$50 billion — Amount the administration plans to spend this year on infrastructure and transportation “investments.”
$9.9 billion — Funding allocated for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a 30 percent increase from 2008 levels.
8.2 percent — Predicted unemployment rate in 2012.

Yeah. It's as insane as it looks. The reviews are in, and they ain't too kind:

Fred Barnes:

Let’s be candid about President Obama’s budget. It’s pathetic....

Obama’s plan includes spending hikes in some areas. The most egregious may be $53 billion for construction of high-speed rail in Florida, California and several other states. This is one of the least cost-effective projects in the history of wasteful government spending. Yet it’s one of the president’s pet projects, and he appears more wedded to it than to taming the rise in the national debt.

The Obama budget is so unresponsive to the fiscal situation that it prompts this question: it’s merely a tactical budget. ... Obama has set the stage to attack Republicans for proposing spending cuts certain to be deeper than those Obama is advocating...

Yuval Levin:

The message of the budget the Obama administration released today is the same as the message the president delivered in his State of the Union address: All is well, full speed ahead, and let’s invest a little more in solar panels and high-speed rail.

This message seems clearly to be a function of a political calculation: that voters do not want to face the coming debt crisis, and so it would be bad politics to force them to do so.

Whether they’re right or not, however, the substantive result of their political premise is a willful blindness that makes for a budget that is completely detached from reality.

The president appears to have decided to spend the next two years pretending there is no problem to solve, and therefore that Republican proposals to rein in spending are just mean-spirited cuts offered up for kicks.

This is, above all, an appalling failure of leadership. When we look back on this period a decade or two from now, I think we’ll identify this moment — the president’s decision about how to approach the budget battle of 2012 — as the last real opportunity we had for a gradual bipartisan course correction. That option now seems closed off...

Kevin Hassett:

President Obama’s budget actually lifts 2012 spending significantly over the current CBO baseline. This increase signals that he has decided to try to push the Republicans towards a high-drama showdown on spending. He clearly thinks that he can win such a showdown, but I wonder...

Grover Norquist:

The “budget” unveiled by Barack Obama doesn’t pass the laugh test. It is a pretend feint to moderation...Now we see that Obama is back to his last two years as the committed man of the left driving hard left as fast as he can push without pausing to see how the nation reacts.

Oh - and about those tax increases Obama is praying for - they were DOA in a Democratic controlled Congress, so is he just playing games, is he deeply and dangerously delusional, or has he decided to go down as the person he really is - a devoted socialist?

The plan unveiled Monday includes tax increases for oil, gas and coal producers, investment managers and U.S.-based multinational corporations. The plan would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 for individuals making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000. Wealthy taxpayers would have their itemized deductions limited, including deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes.

To be redistributed thusly:

Obama's proposal would extend tax credits for college expenses and child care, as well as a more generous Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor. The plan would...provide tax breaks for investing in advanced manufacturing and for making commercial buildings more energy efficient.

Out of all the things we have seen from Barack Obama in the last 2+ years, this is assuredly the most irrational. Does it all come down to politics, and the hope that he can paint Republicans as evil curmudgeons, with an assist from the media, who will fall over backwards to present human interest sob-stories?

Deeply, deeply cynical. Almost criminal, in terms of a dereliction of duty. Where are all the Leftys who told us how smart he was, and all the media mavens and RHINOs who assured us that deep in his heart, Obama was a "moderate".

They're probably doing what I've already done. Buried my money deep in the woods, in sealed mason jars....

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