- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Two things you need to know about President Obama’s nearly $4 trillion budget for fiscal 2013: It will likely add another $1 trillion to a $15.3 trillion debt, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he will not act on any full budget plan this year.

The first tells us that Mr. Obama’s recklessly irresponsible tax, spend and borrow policies will push the U.S. dangerously closer to the brink of fiscal insolvency.

The second is proof positive that the highest-ranking Democrat in Congress is blocking any action on its No. 1 fiscal responsibility under the United States Constitution.

In other words, Mr. Obama’s budget is dead on arrival, not at the hands of the Republicans, but as a result of his own party, which has not passed a budget in three straight years and won’t pass this one, either.

If Mr. Obama campaigns around the country this year as he has promised, railing against a “do-nothing” Congress blocking action on his agenda, Mr. Reid and his gang of accomplices in the Senate will be the chief culprits.

House Republican leaders have already announced they will be sending a budget to the Senate for consideration, but Mr. Reid is on record saying the Senate does not need to pass a budget and he has no intention of bringing Mr. Obama’s plan up for a vote.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has testified recently that Congress’ failure to pass a budget throughout the economic recession we have endured has had a very negative impact on economic growth because of the uncertainty it has created in the economy.

ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper questioned presidential press secretary Jay Carney about this last week, asking, “Who does the president think is right, Harry Reid or Ben Bernanke?”

Mr. Carney hemmed and hawed, saying, “I don’t have an opinion to express on how the Senate does its business with regards to this issue.” But Mr. Tapper persisted. “The White House has no opinion about whether or not the Senate should pass a budget? The president’s going to introduce one. The Fed chairman says not having one is bad for growth. But the White House has no opinion?”

Mr. Carney resisted a direct answer to Mr. Tapper’s question, except to say the president “looks forward to the Senate acting on the policy initiatives contained within his budget,” knowing full well the Senate plans no action on his tax and spending proposals.

Mr. Carney won’t say it, but the White House knows Senate Democrats, especially those in tough re-election races in November, don’t want to vote on this turkey.

Take, for example, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, who distanced herself from Mr. Obama’s budget Monday, saying the size of his massive budget deficits were “unacceptable.”

Notably, the budget reviews from the Washington news media’s liberals have been among the most critical of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

“The White House’s budget for fiscal 2013 begins with a broken promise, adds some phony policy assumptions, throws in a few rosy forecasts and omits all kinds of painful decisions,” writes Dana Milbank, a left-wing commentator for The Washington Post.

Even the liberal New York Times was disappointed with the president’s bulging budget, saying it was more a platform for the president’s re-election campaign.

Among this budget’s more egregious scandals and shortcomings:

  •  Mr. Obama’s failed promise to cut the budget deficit in half in four years. After three straight years of trillion-dollar-plus deficits, the 2012 revised deficit worsens under this week’s projections.
  •  The budget deficit will soar this year to $1.33 trillion, a bit higher than last year’s $1.3 trillion - or $200 billion more than the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently estimated.
  •  The government’s debt skyrockets under Mr. Obama’s spending policies to $18.7 trillion by 2021 - a stunning 76.5 percent of our economy. That’s double the debt held by investors in 2007, the year before the U.S. economy plunged into a recession, and $1 trillion more than the White House projected in September.
  •  Mr. Obama’s proposed budgetary house of cards is built on a mountain in tax increases - $1.5 trillion in higher tax levies on big corporations, capital investors and small businesses. Much of the new revenue would come from letting President George W. Bush’s tax cuts expire on individuals earning more than $200,000 and two-earner couples making more than $250,000, whose tax bill would rise to nearly 40 percent.

Mr. Obama insists his budget really cuts spending, but it is hard to see any serious reduction in expenditures in a plan that would pump close to half-a-trillion dollars more into new transportation projects and job-creating “stimulus” spending on public works projects. Where have we heard that before?

In fact, he calls for major spending increases. Among them: a 5 percent raise for the Commerce Department; 2.5 percent more for Education; 3.2 percent more for Energy; 2 percent higher for Transportation; and a 5 percent hike for the National Science Foundation.

The most preposterous assumptions in this budget are the ones projecting a sharp increase in economic growth to make future tax revenue estimates look a lot better than most economists say is likely.

The budget assumes Mr. Obama’s second term will see 3.9 percent economic growth between 2014 to 2017, a pie-in-the-sky forecast no economist is making at this time. This, together with Mr. Obama’s higher taxes, would bring the deficit down to a projected $612 billion in fiscal 2017, according to the administration’s rosy assumptions.

“If you believe that one, Mayor Bloomberg is selling shares in the Brooklyn Bridge,” said University of Maryland economist Peter Morici.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

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