- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

President Obama clings to the fantasy that he can tax and spend the country out of malaise and into prosperity. Instead of showing restraint in the face of our $15.4 trillion debt, the budget he released Monday included $1.5 trillion in new outlays that will ensure plenty of cash for programs that inspire his liberal base in an election year.

Mr. Obama was only held back by the budget caps which the Republicans insisted on in last summer’s debt-ceiling deal. This forced modest cuts in a few areas of the government, but he meets his targets by adding $1.9 trillion in new taxes.

“Thanks to a series of gimmicks, the president’s new budget creates an illusion of fiscal responsibility that ensures an American debt crisis,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, told The Washington Times. “This budget is a record fourth straight budget with deficits over $1 trillion and continues already failed stimulus spending policies.”

According to the committee’s calculations, the president has asked for a whopping $966 billion in expenditures in the name of creating jobs. This Stimulus 2.0 includes a six-year, $476 billion surface transportation reauthorization measure, which is an 80 percent boost from the previous bill. The White House wants to send $50 billion out the door next year, supposedly for roads, bridges, walking paths, trains and runways. This time, however, the Obama administration acknowledged that the jobs aren’t shovel-ready, writing that, “infrastructure projects take time to get underway.”

At a White House briefing on Monday, the president’s economic advisers made a point of mentioning the high rate of unemployment among construction workers, who just happened to be largely labor union backers of the president’s campaign.

Another part of the new stimulus spending is devoted to Mr. Obama’s high-speed-rail pipe dream. His budget asks for $47 billion over six years to bankroll the pricey train sets. Bizarrely, the White House does not acknowledge that the costly program was defunded entirely by congressional Republicans for 2012. If the GOP keeps the House in the November elections, Mr. Obama’s choo-choos will be permanently derailed.

The budget also justifies extending the 99-week unemployment insurance because it generates “up to $2 of economic activity for every $1 spent.” Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters on Monday that paying people not to work gave the “most bang for the buck” for job creation.

The whoppers don’t end there. Despite congressional opposition, Mr. Obama continues to ask for a 0.5 percent pay hike for government employees for 2013. The document then says this would “free up” $28 billion over 10 years to fund other government programs. Only fuzzy Washington math could explain how paying higher salaries creates more money to spend on other government programs.

One look through Mr. Obama’s fourth blueprint for fixing the economy and the American people should say, “Katy, bar the door.” We don’t need more spending, more taxes and bigger government. The 2010 election succeeded in slowing the red ink being spilled in Washington. Hopefully the 2012 election will bring in an administration whose budgets are more firmly rooted in reality.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

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