President Ronald Reagan’s budget director, David Stockman, says the Obama administration’s 2012 budget is a new low in “fiscal cowardice,” and as neither political party is willing to face fiscal realities, the only way around the nation’s revenue shortfall is to raise taxes.
In an interview that aired Friday on CNN’s “Parker/Spitzer,” the man
nicknamed a budget guru while still in his early 30s also said the nation has to ”bite the bullet,” stop cow-towing to lobbyists, and realistically begin to deal with cutting entitlements.
“This is, really, a new low in fiscal cowardice, and, in legal terms, you can say that it's kind of reckless negligence,” Stockman told host Eliot Spitzer. “We have a massive problem in this country, and they haven't addressed any of the parts of the budget that can make a difference.
“There's massive political lobbies – the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, the scooter-chair manufacturers – that constantly push back, in terms of any type of change that might save money, and both parties continue to insist that we don't need to bite the bullet on these big issues,” he explained. “We have to raise taxes. The president hasn't said anything about that, other than a few loopholes.”
A visibly surprised Spitzer asked Stockman – who as Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget director was considered a fiscal conservative – to repeat “to the world” that there needs to be tax hikes.
“Absolutely,” Stockman said. “If you're not willing to address the entitlements – $1.5 trillion, just for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – there is no [other] way around the revenue shortfall that we have, given the massive size of government that neither party wants to cut. I think our problem today, is that they are dream-walking.
“The White House is totally capitulated to its constituencies – is pushing middle class tax cuts, again, which we can't afford. It totally whiffed on Social Security because of the political pressure,” he said. “The Republicans are lined up vociferously against any kind of revenue increase, even the minor loophole closings, that there are in this budget.
“So, when we have revenue off the table, when we have entitlements off the table, when we have an administration that can't even get its act together on defense – this is a left of center administration, and they are spending all of this money on defense – it doesn't give me very much confidence that anything is going to materialize.”
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