Budget Smoke and Mirrors: Where's the Outrage?
Friday, March 27, 2009
There has doubtlessly been great anxiety about the economy, but I think even greater anxiety exists over what President Barack Obama is doing and planning to do to this country. We've always had economic downturns, and we've always recovered, but we've never deliberately planned to spend ourselves into bankruptcy, from which we may not be able to recover.
True, our smorgasbord of entitlements has threatened our long-term solvency for some time, and reckless politicians have been negligent in refusing to reform them and, instead, have just created more. But Obama takes profligate spending to entirely new levels while pretending to be a fiscal hawk.
With all due respect to Mr. Obama, I don't recall ever seeing another president whine so much about the mess his predecessor left him, disgracing the motto of former Democratic President Harry Truman that "the buck stops here." Though childish and unpresidential, the worst part about it is that he's using it as a bogus justification to do much worse.
Seriously, how many times are we going to have to hear him say, "Republicans have a short memory, because as I recall, I'm inheriting a $1.3 trillion annual deficit from them"?
Stop right there. This is grossly misleading on many levels. In the first place, President Bush's budget deficits were declining nicely each year before the subprime crisis hit in 2008 (fiscal year 2004: $412.7 billion; FY 2005: $318.3 billion; FY 2006: $248.2 billion; FY 2007: $160.7 billion; and FY 2008: $454.8 billion). Second, Democrats took control of Congress in 2006 and thus share blame. Third, the 2009 budget, upward of $1.3 trillion, contained the extraordinary bailout and rescue expenditures, which Obama voted for. Fourth, eight months of this FY 2009 budget that Obama is blaming on President Bush will occur on Obama's watch (Jan. 20 through Oct. 1, 2009). Fifth, but most important, Obama is seeking to establish this atypical, artificially bloated FY 2009 as the new baseline from which his budgets should be compared, falsely implying that President Bush incrementally increased the deficit each year until it reached the annual figure of $1.3 trillion (the above numbers show the opposite) and that it will remain that high unless he -- Obama -- brings it down. Apparently smiling at our collective stupidity, he thus plans to disguise his increases in annual spending as decreases and take credit for cutting the budget in half by the end of his term.
When we cut through the smoke and mirrors, we see that Obama's plan is to ratchet up annualized spending to rates greatly exceeding President Bush's budgets. The Heritage Foundation reports that President Bush ran budget deficits that averaged $300 billion annually (see figures above), while Obama's are projected to average more than $600 billion, "even after the economy recovers and the troops return home from Iraq."
Obama also doesn't mention, and then dissembles when asked about it, that after his first term -- in the so-called out years -- his deficit numbers start rising even more precipitously, to some $1.2 trillion -- almost the level of FY 2009. All one really needs to do to understand Obama's unconscionable plan to bankrupt America is to look at a simple chart comparing his deficits with those of President Bush, prepared by The Heritage Foundation.
Obama should look at this egregious $1.3 trillion figure (some say it's substantially more than that) with horror, instantly promise never to allow it to happen again, and have extreme confidence he could fulfill that promise merely by cutting out the extraordinary items. But he's doing just the opposite, with fraud in the inducement and malice aforethought.
His ideology compels him to grow government exponentially, national deficits and debt be damned. Oh, sure, he tells us he has to spend these enormous amounts to stimulate the economy, but he knows the vast majority of his expenditures aren't even designed to stimulate the economy, and he's also aware that the economy will turn around anyway in due course, without government intermeddling on the spending side.
Adding insult to injury, he's claiming he's saving $2 trillion in spending, when the truth is that a great portion of these "savings" will result from withdrawing our troops from Iraq, which was also going to happen anyway. Another portion involves trillions of dollars in tax increases, which have never before been considered "savings." By the time he's done -- if he serves two terms -- he will have almost doubled the national debt, according to conservative estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, and we're supposed to thank him for impoverishing and enslaving our children. This is what Obama calls "A New Era of Responsibility."
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