- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2012


President Obama delivers his fourth - and potentially last - State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Obviously, not everything he promised in his third speech came to pass. White House press secretary Jay Carney sees no problem with this, saying on Monday, “If you got through a year and you achieved everything on your list, then you probably didn’t aim high enough.” There’s one area where Mr. Obama hit the bull’s eye: spending.

Though he gave lip service to the notion of a freeze on expenditures that “will require painful cuts,” everything he actually talked about in last year’s speech focused on investing for the future. That’s liberal code for more spending. What he didn’t say was that all his spending would push the national debt over $15 trillion and lead to America’s credit rating being downgraded.

Mr. Obama wanted to break open the piggy bank for biomedical research, information technology and “clean” energy. He quantified the level of outlays he had in mind by comparing it to what it took to get a man on the moon for the first time in human history. “Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the space race,” he said. The president explained his need for “redoubling” infrastructure funding; building high-speed locomotives to reach 80 percent of the country; hiring 100,000 new science and math teachers and making permanent the $10,000 a year college tuition tax credit.

As Mr. Obama put it in 2011, “In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal.” He kept that promise, but no one on Capitol Hill gave his budget a second look. Even the Democratic Senate voted against it 97-0. Overall, spending went up $144 billion in the last fiscal year. Had Mr. Obama’s budget been enacted, expenditures would have jumped a whopping $362 billion. By the calculations of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the official White House budget would have doubled the debt held by the public in just 10 years. Spending this year alone would have gobbled up 23.6 percent of the gross domestic product and resulted in a $1.4 trillion deficit.

Mr. Obama planned to pay for all of his generosity by raising taxes on the top 2 percent of Americans - those with a combined household income above $250,000. He has kept his word, doing everything he could to stick it to these “millionaires and billionaires.” That, combined with his effort to take away a tax offset that benefits the oil and gas industry would help pay for things like a machine that can “turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.”

True to his word, Mr. Obama put every ounce of his energy into enacting these tax-hike policies in negotiations with Republicans over the debt ceiling. Fortunately, the GOP wasn’t about to go along with saddling investors and small-business owners - the true job creators - with higher taxes in a soft economy. Let’s hope the Republican House stops the president from keeping any more of his promises in the last year of his term.

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



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