Conservative Political Commentary

...usually with an attempt at historical and economic context

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blueprint for Fiscal Failure

Historical government spending in the United S...Image via Wikipedia
(2008 estimate, Per cent of GDP)
President Obama’s recently released budget proposal defies comparison with the president’s words about reining in the deficit while “investing” in necessary programs. The numbers have become so astronomical that, to me, it seems doubtful that those who crafted this budget really comprehend how huge these figures are.

We’ve already increased the national debt massively in the past two years. As of now, one national debt clock is showing $14.233 trillion plus. And the administration wants to raise the debt limit. Republicans say, “Not without significant spending cuts.”

Conservative House members are striving to reach the $100 billion level in cuts promised in the GOP’s “Pledge to America.” They may accomplish this. Even so, it’s a modest amount compared to the $3.7 trillion called for in the budget for Fiscal 2012. Somehow this budget proposal, if enacted, is supposed to help reduce deficits by $1.1 trillion over a decade. But we would be running a deficit of $1.6 trillion just for FY 2012. Most of Obama’s proposed cuts, of course, are to be made in the out years, well after his current term expires.

The problem with trying to budget over ten years is that we have a new Congress every two years, and all that budgeting, were it to be enacted, is only suggestions to future lawmakers.

As stated by Christopher S. Rugaber at The Daily Caller,

The budget plan President Barack Obama sent Congress on Monday foresees a record deficit of $1.65 trillion this year. That would be just under 11 percent of the $14 trillion economy — the largest proportion since 1945, when wartime spending swelled the deficit to 21.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. [1]

Some Proposed Budget Spending Items
Of course, now, our national debt is about the size of our GDP. For all the talk about reducing future deficits, it’s hard to view this budget proposal as a sincere effort. Apparently, things we just can’t do without, according to the Administration, include big spending increases for the following (partial list by departments), according to FederalNewsRadio.com:

Education, $68 billion, increase of 38.5%
Commerce, $10.4 billion, increase of 13.9%
Transportation, $128.6 billion, increase of 68% (includes $53 billion for high-speed trains)
Some agencies received decreases. See the excellent article for a comprehensive listing and comments. [2]


As J.D. Foster points out in a Heritage Foundation article,
The President continues to speak of painful spending cuts even as spending continues to soar. He continues his call for future tax hikes driven by ideology. He continues to express concern over budget deficits while offering only gimmicks in the short term and silence for the long-term problems for which he appointed a now-ignored deficit reduction commission. [3]

Here are some comments by conservative members of Congress on a Heritage video:



Election Results = House Mandate
Republicans won in the 2010 elections largely on the promise of restoring fiscal sanity in Washington. As long as liberals are in charge, there will be excessive spending and increasing national debt until our currency collapses, then liberals will try to start the whole process over. Fiscal irresponsibility is so evident in the president’s proposed budget that it’s difficult to believe anyone can really take it seriously. It increases rather than decreases entitlements, it proposes very costly and unnecessary programs, like high-speed rail, and calls more government intervention in just about every facet of life. And I did mention significant tax increases.

What About the Recovery?
If the GOP’s proposed cuts result in some lost government jobs, they are likely to also result in many new private-sector jobs. When “economic growth” is basically government growth, it falls well short of a healthy recovery. I hope the House GOP leaders and members will stand firm on their “Pledge to America,” and make at least $100 billion in cuts to current spending, and defund Obamacare entirely. Even all that would be relatively small compared to overall spending, but it’s a start that would demonstrate a sincere effort to save our country’s fiscal policy from disastrous results: Chronic high unemployment and possible collapse of our economy and currency. The president’s proposal represents basically just more of the same thing we already have, but made worse.

What’s needed is a substantial reduction in the size and scope of government, not just slower government growth. And the cutting should start now.


[1] Christopher S. Rugaber, “Deficit is biggest share of economy since 1945,” 02/15/2011,
The Daily Caller.


[2] Jolie Lee and the Associated Press, “Breakdown of FY2012 Budget by Agency,” 02/14/2011, FederalNewsRadio.com.


[3] J.D. Foster, Ph.D., “President Obama’s 2012 Budget Builds on Failures of the Past,” 02/14/2011, www.Heritage.org.


Illustration: Public domain.
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