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

Editorials Slam Obama’s Budget

February 16th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Editorial pages across the country today are slamming the budget President Obama released on Monday. USA Today writes, “The best test of a budget proposal these days is whether it reins in the national debt, which is projected to equal a troubling 74% of gross domestic product this year. The last time the publicly held debt was that high as a percentage of the economy was in 1950, when the nation was still paying off the stupendous amount of money it had to borrow to fight and win World War II. The election-year budget President Obama sent to Congress on Monday fails that test.”

Bloomberg News says, “Do as I say, not as I do. That was the unwelcome message in President Barack Obama’s federal budget for 2013. . . . This is a wasted opportunity, even considering that the final budget of the president’s term is largely a political document.”

The Wall Street Journal editors point out, “Federal budgets are by definition political documents, but even by that standard yesterday’s White House proposal for fiscal year 2013 is a brilliant bit of misdirection. With the abracadabra of a tax increase on the wealthy and defense spending cuts that will never materialize, the White House asserts that in President Obama’s second term revenues will soar, outlays will fall, and $1.3 trillion annual deficits will be cut in half like the lady in the box on stage. All voters need to do is suspend disbelief for another nine months. And ignore the first four years.”

The AP goes through some of the misdirection in President Obama’s budget in a fact check piece today: “When a president introduces a budget, there are always phantoms flitting around the room. President Barack Obama’s spending plan sets loose a number of them. It counts on phantom savings from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s underpinned by tax increases Republicans won’t let happen and program cuts fellow Democrats in Congress are all but certain to block. And it assumes rates of growth that the economy will have to become strikingly undead to achieve.”

The Detroit News wrote, “President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposal should be dismissed as a blueprint for his re-election campaign. But it’s worse than that. If passed as presented — and there’s little likelihood of that — the spending plan would lock America on an auto-pilot course for Greece.” And the Los Angeles Times noted, “The day after the Greek Parliament approved another round of deep spending cuts in the face of violent protests, President Obama released a budget proposal for the coming fiscal year that offers no real solution to the United States’ long-term fiscal problems.”

Yet it was President Obama’s hometown Chicago Tribune that was particularly harsh. In an editorial titled, “Athens on the Potomac,” the Tribune wrote, “Conveniently, one of this nation’s plausible futures plays out vividly on a TV screen near you: Fire-heaving mobs enraged by the harsh consequences of rampant public borrowing have torched one of Europe’s grossly indebted capitals, Athens. Fretful officials in other capitals — Rome, Lisbon, Madrid and more — must wonder whether the flames will rage in their countries next. . . . With nothing more noble than election strategy busying the Capitol and White House, basic management of the nation’s business has to wait for some point beyond Election Day. . . . Monday’s document, in truth, is a campaign playbook — the vision of government that Obama hopes voters will reward with a second presidential term.”

The Tribune points out, “[T]he proposal [President Obama] floated Monday actually would aggravate the somewhat rosier debt projections he provided to Congress as recently as September. What we have then is a debt debacle that, even with the president’s plan, would continue to grow our debt by leaps and bounds.”

It’s telling that Senate Democrats haven’t rushed to the microphones to laud Obama’s latest budget. According to Roll Call, “While President Barack Obama was rallying the faithful around a politically minded budget laden with base-nourishing tax and spending proposals, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was keeping a low profile. . . . [W]hen he went to the floor Monday afternoon — long after the budget had been delivered and an 11:15 a.m. embargo had been lifted — Reid focused on the mundane goings-on of the Senate chamber in his opening remarks. In fact, when Reid did touch on a president’s plan for spending, it wasn’t to reference Obama’s newly proposed budget — or, in fact, any of Obama’s budget plans.” Roll Call further notes, “Reid’s hesitancy to talk about the budget is understandable; the Senate hasn’t produced a budget in almost three years . . . . Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) was also noncommittal. . . . Even worse were statements from Members such as Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who rejected it outright. Pryor . . . said, ‘This budget proposal is simply a case of misplaced priorities when it comes to Arkansas.’” And The Hill observed today, “For the second day in a row Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ignored President Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget proposal, leaving his deputy, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), to rebut yet another withering attack from across the aisle.”

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