- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 10, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“The President’s 2010 Budget seeks to usher in a new era of responsibility. …” That’s how a White House budget document released Thursday characterizes $17 billion in budget trimming. Luckily for President Obama, the media focused on these small cuts instead of his more than $300 billion in spending increases.

In 2008, the George W. Bush administration projected that the 2010 federal budget would hit $3.09 trillion. Mr. Obama requested $3.55 trillion and Congress cut that down to $3.4 trillion. This $3.4 trillion is a $300 billion increase over what Mr. Bush projected for the year. The $17 billion in cuts represents just 5.5 percent of the increase in what Congress authorized over what Mr. Bush planned. It is only about one-half of 1 percent of the total $3.4 trillion budget. The cut is swamped by the $787 billion increase in spending in the stimulus package and the $31 billion (8 percent) increase that Mr. Obama signed for this year’s current discretionary budget.

Despite tax increases, the Congressional Budget Office expects Mr. Obama’s policies to balloon the nation’s debt over the next 10 years from nearly $6 trillion to $15 trillion. A mere $17 billion isn’t even a rounding error for these spending increases.

Unsurprisingly, 55 percent of the $17 billion comes from Defense budget cuts. Ending production of the F-22 fighter and stopping a new helicopter fleet for the president account for almost $4 billion of the $17 billion, and those had been announced previously. A $66-million cut from Even Start, a family-literacy program, was proposed by President Bush but turned down by Congress. It’s hardly accurate to call these new cuts.

Politico noted that “for Obama, the symbolism is important as a first step toward greater efficiency in government.” Symbolism is the right word in this case because the substance of President Obama’s spending cuts don’t go very far to making government more frugal. This president is the biggest spender in history.

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