He’s two months late, and he’s considerably more than a dollar short, but President Barack Obama will propose a budget in the coming days. He’s proposed one every year he’s been in office.
Constitutionally, he’s required to — not that this is a major concern when it comes to the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the 10th Amendment . . . well, I think you get the idea.
So Obama’s proposed 2014 budget is being described by his allies in the media as “balanced” because it purports to mix tax increases (oh, sorry, “revenues”) with spending cuts, and Obama says this is the approach “the American people prefer” to deficit reduction.
Actually I would say the approach they prefer is to actually reduce the deficit, and Obama’s proposal doesn’t really do that at all. Let’s look:
First, he tries to say he reduces the deficit by $4.3 trillion over 10 years (more on that in a second) because he incorporates things that have already been done — like the tax increases enacted at the start of this year — scores them as reducing the deficit by $2.5 trillion over 10 years (which they won’t), and tries to take credit for them as part of his plan going forward. Nope. You don’t get away with that one, Mr. President.
The actual plan includes $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, and arrives at this number by a) assuming that every dollar in proposed higher tax rates will go straight to the Treasury because the higher taxes would cause no change in anyone’s behavior; b) assumes savings from so-called “tough” reforms to Social Security and Medicare, one of which is a change in the way Social Security cost-of-living increases are calculated, which might produce tiny savings, but does not get at the root of the problem; and c) pretends that any spending cuts are real, rather than a pretend exercise way down the road.
And that’s the problem with these 10-year projections. The projected deficits for the next decade are close to $1 trillion a year. Even if you did achieve $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, you’re still running deficits of $800 billion a year.
Those of you who voted for Obama and expected his economic policies to work: Are you still feeling good about that choice now that Obama’s own projections are showing us still running an $800 billion deficit 14 years after he first took office if his policy prescriptions are continued?
That’s not called a “balanced approach” to solving the problem. That’s called not solving the problem. And the 10-year plan isn’t what will happen anyway. Over a decade, new issues will emerge, new debates will happen, and Congress will make its own choices.
If growth is slow, there will be “emergency” spending. If there is trouble abroad, we may spend money on military action. The 10-year-plan is as fictional as any drama you see at night on TV.
But many people won’t realize this right away. The media will report this as if the real news is the political maneuvering Obama does vis-à-vis the Republicans. If he gets any kind of budget passed that contains his “balanced approach,” the headline will be “Victory for Obama” when it should be, “Debt to continue soaring for another decade.”
The 10-year projection allows Obama to pretend he’s doing something about it, but his actual 2014 budget not only keeps spending rolling right along, but even includes more “stimulus” spending for infrastructure and so forth.
That’s the same stuff that did nothing to help the economy grow in 2009, but was conveniently added to the budget baseline for subsequent years — even though they sold it at the time as a one-time emergency measure. So how come we didn’t notice it in the budgets they passed in 2010, 2011, and 2012?
Oh. Right. What budgets? You see how they play this game?
These people speak in a language ($4.3 trillion on deficit reduction over 10 years!) that makes it sound like they’re doing something when they’ve actually done nothing. The media report on all this in the very same language. You hear the news and you get the impression that they’re making progress, and then later on you wonder why the problem hasn’t been solved.
Because you’re only just now catching on to what they knew all along. This is all a game. And you lose.
Following the conclusion of his presidential campaign, Herman Cain established The Cain Solutions Revolution, an organization whose mission is to educate the public and advocate for the policy solutions that drove his campaign for the presidency. Read more reports from Herman Cain — Click Here Now.
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