"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

McConnell On Obama’s Spending Freeze: “Completely Inadequate”; Krauthammer: “A Near Triviality”

January 26th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

President Obama’s State of the Union address last night included some positive bipartisan notes on things like trade agreements and lowering the corporate tax rate, but unfortunately he failed to show leadership on one of the most critical issues facing our country: the massive and still-increasing debt and deficit.

Charles Krauthammer put it well analyzing the speech on Fox News: “The major issue is in November, the rejection of his agenda over the first two years and the insistence on the shrinking of government. He did not even address the issue of deficit reduction until three quarters of an hour into the speech. and when he did, he offered what is a near triviality.” The Washington Post editors were also unimpressed. “He disappointed,” they write today. “The president promised to freeze discretionary spending – exempting, that is, defense, veterans affairs, homeland security, Medicare and Social Security – for five years. Given that he’d already promised a three-year freeze, this was more incremental than earthshaking and, as he acknowledged, in any case affects only 12 percent of the federal budget.” And CNN’s David Gergen didn’t mince words, saying, “I thought the failure of the speech came on the deficits. … It wasn’t serious — It wasn’t a serious effort to come to grips with what is a towering problem.”

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie that President Obama’s plans to control spending simply weren’t enough. “I did find his suggestion on spending reductions completely inadequate,” he said. “What he’s talking about is freezing at a historically record-high spending rate that we’ve had the last two years. . . . We need to get back the 2008 level; that’s a significant whack out of our annual discretionary spending. . . . That is a significant reduction.”

If nothing is done, America’s fiscal future looks grim, as new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office make clear today. Roll Call reports, “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its fiscal outlook for January, projecting a record $1.5 trillion deficit this year and another $12 trillion over the coming decade if current tax and spending policies are extended.” And Politico adds, “For the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30, CBO is projecting a deficit of $1.48 trillion, or $414 billion more than it assumed last August. And in fiscal 2012—for which President Barack Obama will submit his budget next month—CBO’s baseline now assumes a deficit of $1.1 trillion compared to $665 billion last summer.”

Related:

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: “The Move Is Almost Identical To The Freeze Obama Called For In His Address To The Nation Last Year At This Time — His Current Proposal Would Cover Five Years, Not Three Years — And Ultimately It May Have Little Effect.”(“Obama State Of The Union: Spending, But Restraint,” The Associated Press, 1/25/11)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “The Freeze Won’t Touch Some Of The Budget’s Biggest Items, such as Medicare, Social Security and defense spending, nor will it apply to homeland-security spending or foreign aid.” (“Obama To Call For Nonsecurity Spending Freeze,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/25/11)

   THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “The President’s Plan Would Save About $26 Billion Over Five Years, According To The White House Budget Proposal For The Current Fiscal Year. Those Savings Would Be Dwarfed By The $100 Billion In Cuts For This Year Alone That Many House Republicans Are Pushing.”(“Obama To Call For Nonsecurity Spending Freeze,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/25/11)

THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Those Exempted Areas Include Most Of The Federal Budget, Including The Biggest And Fastest-Growing Spending Categories like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and national security, along with interest payments on the nation’s debt.”(“Obama To Seek Partial Freeze In Spending As Deficit Move,” The New York Times, 1/25/11)

REUTERS: “A Freeze On That Type Of Spending Would Not Apply To The Huge Entitlement Programs — Such As Social Security And Medicare — At The Heart Of America’s Deficit Problem.” (“Obama To Propose Spending Freeze But Can’t Avoid Fight,” Reuters, 1/25/11)

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