- - Sunday, February 12, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

After creating more debt than all presidents from George Washington to Bill Clinton combined, President Obama will unveil a budget Monday that will create millions of jobs, take a $1 trillion bite out of the federal debt and magically solve all of America’s problems.

Not.

The president’s budget will be filled with gimmicks and accounting tricks as he strives to be all things to all people — or at least all the people he’s hoping will vote for him again in November. Despite three straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits, Mr. Obama’s budget — even with the massive new spending — will cut the 2013 fiscal year deficit to just $901 billion.


How? Like this: “To achieve his debt-reduction goal, Obama would rely on an accounting maneuver that permits him to claim about $850 billion in savings over the next decade by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a move Republicans have rejected as a gimmick. Obama would use a portion of those savings to finance new road and rail projects, rather than dedicating the full sum to lower deficits,” according to The Washington Post.

So, Mr. Obama will “save” $850 billion — money America was going to borrow, most likely from China — and then spend the “savings” on more transportation projects: yes, the very same ones he has been pushing to no avail since taking office. Just like the last $800 billion “stimulus,” he will again press to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to create jobs: $350 billion in short-term job spending, along with $475 billion for road and rail projects. In addition, he will call for spending $60 billion to refurbish 35,000 schools.

How will the president pay for all this? With more taxes, of course: $1.5 trillion in new taxes, to be precise. Hit hardest will be the families making $250,000. (When did that suddenly become “rich”? A couple each making $125K and raising a few children — most likely just outside a large city — already pay one-third of it in taxes; how much more does the government want?)

What’s more, most small businesses pay taxes under the personal tax code, so any little company will fall under the $250,000 cutoff. Republicans, at least, know that.

“This unserious budget is a recipe for debt, doubt and decline,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner. “It would make our economy worse by imposing massive tax increases on small business and still pile up enormous debt that stirs greater economic uncertainty.”

Still, Mr. Obama’s got all kinds of great ideas on whom to tax: For instance, he wants to hit airlines with a “$100-per-takeoff fee” — hmm, think that will get passed on to fliers? On top of that, the budget will call for a 10-year, $60 billion “financial crisis responsibility fee” on the nation’s biggest banks. No way that new cost gets passed on to customers, right? Oh, and Mr. Obama wants to add tens of billions of dollars in fees to oil and gas companies. Those never trickle down, do they?

In the end, the president’s “new” budget isn’t new at all. Most of his recommendations already have been rejected by Republicans. So the blueprint is really more about bashing a “do-nothing Congress,” highlighting the differences between a president who wants every American to be beholden to the federal government for nearly every service and a Republican House that wants to sensibly cut spending while keeping burdensome taxes low.

And all the Obama proposals will lead to a White House-predicted unemployment rate in 2012 of — wait, 8.9 percent. Even higher than what it is today? Sounds about right.

Of course, under the new plan, things will get worse — again — before they get better. The president’s plan would push this year’s deficit to $1.33 trillion. But wait, great news: A senior administration official said the budget predicts that the deficit will drop to $575 billion in 2018.

That will be two years after Mr. Obama has sold his Chicago house and moved to Honolulu.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes.com.