February 2, 2015


Keith Koffler, of White House Dossier, on the Obama budget proposal:
The most astonishing thing about the budget President Obama submitted today is that he is not even pretending to try to do anything about the debt and the deficit. NOT EVEN FAKING IT. Okay, he’s faking it a bit. He’s pretending the deficit won’t go up. So let’s give credit where credit is due!
And credit, so to speak, is the name of the game here. You see, this is the first president I remember who proposes budgets and doesn’t even offer a path toward eliminating the deficit so our kids don’t have to finance our indulgence.
The deficit, Obama asserts this year, is okay. It’s all cool. What’s a mere deficit in comparison with the grand plans of great men? We’ll just run a deficit that rises in nominal terms but stays at about 2.5 percent of the economy, the “norm” over the last few decades.
That’s okay? What type of ethic is it that says to go and be profligate and don’t worry about piling on debt?
The deficit will decline to $474 billion under the president’s plan, and then rise to nearly $700 billion over ten years, while staying at roughly the same high level as a percentage of GDP, while total debt also rises nominally but stays at about the same percentage of the economy.
But look at the assumptions. Obama thinks that somehow the economy will grow at 3 percent this year and in 2016, which it hasn’t done so far during his  term. He assumes unemployment declines to 4.8 percent. That we will allow soaring Medicare and Social Security costs to squeeze out other “investments” and that the economy can withstand the $1.44 trillion in new taxes Obama has planned for us.
But here’s the real kicker: The forecast assumes no future recessions of any significance and of course doesn’t work in a major terrorist attack or a new war, any of which would send the deficit soaring again. That is, we’re planning to be in bad shape, and when the inevitable catastrophe occurs, we’ll be in really bad shape.
This is irresponsible. It’s juvenile. And it’s dangerous. How can the leaders of a great nation make such plans?
Obama would do nothing – absolutely nothing – about the future entitlement meltdown. Leave it for someone else. This would be way to hard for someone who can barely lift the phone to call Capitol Hill.
If you want a sense of this – according to the budget documentsproduced by the OMB, outlays in the federal budget for Social Security and Medicare are expected to double over 11 years from $1.35 trillion in 2014 to $2.6 trillion in 2025. Where’s that money coming from? Current payroll taxes will pay for only a portion of it, and an increasingly small portion. You didn’t think Social Security and Medicare were self-financing, did you?
By delaying decisions on what to do about entitlements, Obama is making future solutions far more onerous. By failing to rein in the deficit, the president is putting America out on a tenuous, brittle limb.
But who cares? As long as we have free birth control and free community college, all is well in the land.

1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

"How can the leaders of a great nation make such plans?"

They are not "leaders." They (on both sides) are elected politicians who care only about perpetuating themselves and their cronies in power. The best way to do so is to give free bread to the masses.

I don't see a way out. We are headed for a European-style forced austerity future, with predictable consequences.