March 5 2014
Is It A Budget Or A Campaign Brochure?
Like almost everything that happens in the Obama administration, the president’s latest budget appears to be purely a political document. Speaker of the House John Boehner hailed it as the president’s “most irresponsible budget yet:”
"After years of fiscal and economic mismanagement, the president has offered perhaps his most irresponsible budget yet," House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday, after President Obama released his $3.9 trillion election-year budget.
The fiscal year 2015 spending proposal raises taxes on the wealthy and spends more on preschool, infrastructure, and job training, the Associated Press reported. But as Boehner indicated, Republicans won't accept it.
“Irresponsible” is certainly an underwhelming way to describe what the president has sent to the Hill.
White House Dossier did better yesterday, calling the budget “choom gang economics:”
President Obama’s FY 2015 budget, which he unveiled today, is a good budget. If you’re high. …
The budget has lots of stuff for the poor and the middle class, and it taxes the rich. And Obama, who appeared today at a school in Washington, wants to use it to let everyone know what heartless, child-despising bastards Republicans are.
So—really—this budget is far more than merely “irresponsible”—though certainly it is that, too.
Indeed, this budget would, if it were anything more than a midterms talking point, kill new jobs—essential for entering and remaining a family’s toehold in the middle class—and spend a lot of money on showy programs that don’t actually help people yet will increase government dependency.
The president knows the budget won’t pass. But it has other short-term uses. The Wall Street Journal editorial board editors explains:
President Obama released his 2015 budget proposal on Tuesday, and the best way to understand it is as a campaign-strategy memo to return Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. After the rude four-year interruption of a GOP House, Mr. Obama is revving up the tax and spend engines to turn out Democrats this fall and change the debate away from ObamaCare.
One of the President's more amusing fiscal sleights-of-hand is his claim that the federal government has been enduring "austerity." Taxpayers should be so lucky. The nearby table [you can see it if you subscribe to the Journal] shows the arc of tax revenues and spending during the Obama Presidency, and you can see they are both up. Washington has rarely had it so good.
The feds spent $2.98 trillion in 2008 and Mr. Obama is proposing to spend $1 trillion more than that in fiscal 2015. The Pelosi-Obama stimulus blew out the bank in 2009-2011, the GOP House imposed a modicum of restraint in the next two years, but Mr. Obama is going back to the Pelosi future from here on out.
The budget does not address the need to cut entitlement programs and, moreover, “proposes to spread…cash around to various voter groups and Democratic constituencies,” and yet all the while President Obama is bizarrely insisting that the deficit will fall to $564 in 2015.
So you see there are words more apt than “irresponsible” to describe what the President of the United States hopes to accomplish with this document.
From a purely rhetorical point of view, Rep. Paul Ryan, who called the budget “a campaign brochure,” got much closer to an actual description than Speaker Boehner:
“The President’s budget is yet another disappointment—because it reinforces the status quo. It would demand that families pay more so Washington can spend more. It would hollow out our defense capabilities. And it would do nothing to preserve or strengthen our entitlements. The President has just three years left in his administration, and yet he seems determined to do nothing about our fiscal challenges," says Ryan.
“This budget isn’t a serious document; it’s a campaign brochure. In divided government, we need leadership and collaboration. And in this budget, we have neither.”
Most damaging, this budget accepts the idea that slow economic growth is a permanent feature of the U.S. economy. Which is, of course, the case if President Obama’s unserious economic ideas prevail for much longer.