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What They Are Saying: No Valentines For Obama’s Budget

- February 14, 2012

Obama’s Re-Election Blueprint Gets A Cold Reception From A Nation Looking For Leadership And Fiscal Discipline

OBAMA’S GIMMICKS ARE A WEAK SUBSTITUTE FOR A SOLUTION TO OUR LOOMING FISCAL CRISIS

Los Angeles Times: Obama “Offers No Real Solution To The United State’s Long-Term Fiscal Problems.”  “The day after the Greek Parliament approved another round of deep spending cuts in the face of violent protests, President Obama released a budget proposal for the coming fiscal year that offers no real solution to the United States' long-term fiscal problems.” (Editorial, “What About The U.S. Debt?” Los Angeles Times, 2/14/12)

  • LA Times: “All Told, His Proposal Comes Up About $2 Trillion Short Of The Savings His Own Deficit-Reduction Commission Called For Over 10 Years.” “All told, his proposal comes up about $2 trillion short of the savings his own deficit-reduction commission called for over 10 years. The economy may not be ready yet for a stiff dose of austerity, but the government needs a better plan for putting its fiscal house in order than Obama offered Monday.” (Editorial, “What About The U.S. Debt?” Los Angeles Times, 2/14/12)

The Washington Post: “The Final Budget Of His First Term Does Not Reflect The Leadership On Issues Of Debt And Deficit That Mr. Obama Once Vowed.”  (Editorial, “Obama’s Budget Falls Short, But It Beats Many Alternatives,” The Washington Post, 2/13/12)

  • WaPo: “On Social Security, Once Again Mr. Obama Fails To Propose A Strategy For Putting The Program On A Sustainable Path.” (Editorial, “Obama’s Budget Falls Short, But It Beats Many Alternatives,” The Washington Post, 2/13/12)

The Economist: ““Much Of His Purported Spending Reduction Is Accounting Legerdemain.” “Much of his purported spending reduction is accounting legerdemain: he claims to save more than $800 billion from drawing down operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but most of that was never going to be spent anyway. His cuts to Medicare and Medicaid consist almost entirely of squeezing health-care providers; benefits and beneficiaries are spared.” (“Barack Obama’s Budget: The Phony War,” The Economist, 2/13/12)

  • The Economist: “In 2009, Mr Obama Laid Out A Plan That Would Lower The Budget Deficit To 3.5% Of GDP By This Year; He Now Reckons It Will Be 8.5% Instead.” “The gap between rhetoric and reality shows up plainly in the bottom line. In 2009, Mr Obama laid out a plan that would lower the budget deficit to 3.5% of GDP by this year; he now reckons it will be 8.5% instead. The national debt was supposed to peak as a share of GDP at 67% last year; he now figures it will peak next year, at a much higher 78%.” (“Barack Obama’s Budget: The Phony War,” The Economist, 2/13/12)

Bloomberg: “Do As I Say, Not As I Do. That Was The Unwelcome Message In President Barack Obama’s Federal Budget For 2013.” (Editorial, “Obama Misses His Chance To Tackle Tax Reform In $3.8 Trillion Budget: View,” Bloomberg, 2/13/12)

  • Bloomberg: Obama Calls On Congress To Reform The Tax Code, But “He Would Add New Layers Of Tax Complexity.” “The president calls on Congress to begin work on corporate tax reform, including simplifying and lowering the overall corporate rate. Yet his fiscal blueprint doesn’t even hint at how he would achieve that. Instead, he would add new layers of tax complexity.” (Editorial, “Obama Misses His Chance To Tackle Tax Reform In $3.8 Trillion Budget: View,” Bloomberg, 2/13/12)
  • BloombergObama’s Budget “Is Stuffed With Dozens Of Tax Initiatives” Which “Would Do The U.S. Little Good In The Short Run, And Are Unlikely To Prepare It For The Challenges Ahead.” “The $3.8 trillion budget, released yesterday, is stuffed with dozens of tax initiatives, including a tax on millionaires, a $61 billion tax on banks, and various changes that punish or reward specific industries and behaviors. In the unlikely event that congressional Republicans play along, some of the president’s initiatives would do the U.S. little good in the short run, and are unlikely to prepare it for the challenges ahead.” (Editorial, “Obama Misses His Chance To Tackle Tax Reform In $3.8 Trillion Budget: View,” Bloomberg, 2/13/12)

USA Today: “The Best Test Of A Budget Proposal These Days Is Whether It Reins In The National Debt …  The Election-Year Budget President Obama Sent To Congress On Monday Fails That Test.”  “The best test of a budget proposal these days is whether it reins in the national debt, which is projected to equal a troubling 74% of gross domestic product this year. The last time the publicly held debt was that high as a percentage of the economy was in 1950, when the nation was still paying off the stupendous amount of money it had to borrow to fight and win World War II. The election-year budget President Obama sent to Congress on Monday fails that test.” (Editorial, “Obama’s Budget Plan Leaves Debt Bomb Ticking,” USA Today, 2/14/12)

  • USA Today: “The Administration Continues To Pretend That Social Security Needs No Fixes Because It Doesn't Add To The Budget Deficit.” “In the problem-avoidance department, the administration continues to pretend that Social Security needs no fixes because it doesn't add to the budget deficit. Really? The administration's own numbers — see page 465 of the Analytical Perspectives released with the budget — show that the program is in the red and will drain the Treasury of half a trillion dollars from 2011 to 2017. Even in Washington, that's serious money.” (Editorial, “Obama’s Budget Plan Leaves Debt Bomb Ticking,” USA Today, 2/14/12)

The Wall Street Journal: Obama’s Budget Is “Is A Brilliant Bit Of Misdirection.” “Federal budgets are by definition political documents, but even by that standard yesterday's White House proposal for fiscal year 2013 is a brilliant bit of misdirection. With the abracadabra of a tax increase on the wealthy and defense spending cuts that will never materialize, the White House asserts that in President Obama's second term revenues will soar, outlays will fall, and $1.3 trillion annual deficits will be cut in half like the lady in the box on stage.” (Editorial, “The Amazing Obama Budget,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/12)

  • WSJ: “All Voters Need To Do Is Suspend Disbelief For Another Nine Months. And Ignore The First Four Years. The Real News In Mr. Obama's Budget Proposal Is The Story Of Those Four Years, And What A Tale They Tell.” (Editorial, “The Amazing Obama Budget,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/12)

McClatchy Newspapers: “At The End Of A Second Obama Term, Federal Spending Would Amount To About 22.2 Percent Of GDP. That's About 1 Point Above Historical Averages.” “At the end of a second Obama term, federal spending would amount to about 22.2 percent of GDP. That's about 1 point above historical averages. Incoming revenues would amount to about 19.2 percent of GDP, also about 1 point higher than historical averages. While high, the national debt would be stabilized in a range of 76 percent to 78 percent of GDP for most of the decade. That's about twice the nation's historical debt levels.” (Kevin G. Hall, “Obama’s Budget Would Shrink Annual Deficits, But National Debt Still Explodes,” McClatchy Newspapers, 2/13/12)

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank: “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.” “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. Even then, the proposal would add $1 trillion more to the national debt than Obama contemplated a few months ago — and it is a non-starter on Capitol Hill, where even Senate Democrats have no plans to take it up. It is, in other words, exactly what it was supposed to be: a campaign document.” (Dana Milbank, Op-Ed, “Obama’s Budget Games,” The Washington Post, 2/13/12)

  • Milbank: “All The Sports Talk Amounted To A Head Fake, Or Perhaps A Quarterback Sneak, Because The Real Game The White House Was Playing Was Dodgeball: Evading Anything Resembling A Serious Budget Proposal.”  (Dana Milbank, Op-Ed, “Obama’s Budget Games,” The Washington Post, 2/13/12)

The Associated Press Fact Check: Obama’s Budget Has A Number Of “Phantoms.” “When a president introduces a budget, there are always phantoms flitting around the room. President Barack Obama's spending plan sets loose a number of them. It counts on phantom savings from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's underpinned by tax increases Republicans won't let happen and program cuts fellow Democrats in Congress are all but certain to block. And it assumes rates of growth that the economy will have to become strikingly undead to achieve.” (Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: There Are Budget Phantoms In The Room,” The Associated Press, 2/14/12)

BUDGET EXPERTS ARE NOT IMPRESSED BY OBAMA’S RELIANCE ON GIMMICKS AND FAILURE TO TACKLE OUR UNSUSTAINABLE ENTITLEMENT SPENDING

Former Clinton Budget Director Alice Rivlin And Former Senator Pete Domenici: In Ten Years, “Entitlement Costs Spiral Out Of Control And Revenues Are Inadequate To Deal With A Wave Of Retiring Baby Boomers.” “‘While his budget stabilizes debt over the next decade, the real problem arrives thereafter, as entitlement costs spiral out of control and revenues are inadequate to deal with a wave of retiring baby boomers,’ former White House budget office director Alice Rivlin and former Senate Budget chairman Pete Domenici said in a statement.” (Jeanne Sahadi, “Obama Budget Fails To Tackle Entitlements,” CNN Money,2/14/12)

President Of The Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget, Maya MacGuineas: “Drawing Down Spending On Wars That Were Already Set To Wind Down And That Were Deficit Financed In The First Place Should Not Be Considered Savings.” “At the same time, budget experts are not offering high-fives to the administration for claiming $848 billion in war savings from the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a move they consider to be pure hokum. ‘Drawing down spending on wars that were already set to wind down and that were deficit financed in the first place should not be considered savings. When you finish college, you don't suddenly have thousands of dollars a year to spend elsewhere -- in fact, you have to find a way to pay back your loans,’ MacGuineas noted.” (Jeanne Sahadi, “Obama Budget Fails To Tackle Entitlements,” CNN Money2/14/12)

Obama’s Own Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs Erskine Bowles And Alan Simpson: Obama’s Budget “Would Only Briefly Stabilize The Debt At A Level That Is Already Too High.” “While the President’s proposal is a step in the right direction, it would achieve less deficit reduction than the Fiscal Commission proposed when compared on an equal basis and would only briefly stabilize the debt at a level that is already too high.” (Press Release, Statement from Senator Al Simpson and Erskine Bowles Regarding President Obama's Fiscal Year 2013 Budget, The Moment Of Truth Project, 2/13/12)

Former U.S. Comptroller David Walker: “In The Year 2022 More Than 78 Percent Of Total Outlays (Spending) Will Be On Autopilot - Which Is Both Irresponsible And Unsustainable.” “Former Comptroller General David Walker, appointed by President Bill Clinton as the nation's chief auditor, sharply criticized Obama's budget. ‘The proposed budget would greatly increase the portion of government spending that is on 'autopilot.' While the president's budget cuts discretionary spending programs by 1 percent over a 10-year period, mandatory spending programs and interest on debt grow by more than 96 percent over the same decade,’ Walker said. ‘The result is that in the year 2022 more than 78 percent of total outlays (spending) will be on autopilot - which is both irresponsible and unsustainable.’” (Kevin Hall, “Obama’s Budget Would Shrink Annual Deficits, But National Debt Still Explodes,” McClatchy Newspapers, 2/13/12)

FELLOW DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE ARE REJECTING THE PRESIDENT’S BUDGET OUTRIGHT

FLASHBACK: Obama’s FY2012 Budget Was Unanimously Rejected 0-97. “The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to reject a $3.7 trillion budget plan that President Obama sent to Capitol Hill in February. Ninety-seven senators voted against a motion to take it up.” (Alexander Bolton, “President’s Budget Sinks, 97-0,”The Hill, 5/25/11)

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND): “We Will Need To Do More To Put The Nation On A Sustainable Long-Term Fiscal Path.” “Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) was circumspect, saying in a statement that Obama’s budget was ‘moving the country in the right direction’ given the economic downturn that predated him. Conrad did credit Obama and Democrats with helping to stabilize the situation, but he indicated that Obama’s budget lacked ambition. ‘We will need to do more to put the nation on a sustainable long-term fiscal path,’ he said. ‘The only true way forward is through a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction agreement.’” (John Stanton and Humberto Sanchez, “Senate Democrats Muted On Obama Budget,” Roll Call, 2/14/12)

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AK): “This Budget Proposal Is Simply A Case Of Misplaced Priorities When It Comes To Arkansas.” “Even worse were statements from Members such as Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who rejected it outright. Pryor — who is up for re-election this year — said, ‘This budget proposal is simply a case of misplaced priorities when it comes to Arkansas.’” (John Stanton and Humberto Sanchez, “Senate Democrats Muted On Obama Budget,” Roll Call, 2/14/12)

“U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Said He's Disappointed That The President Didn't Present A Stronger Plan To Cut The Deficit Over The Long Term.” (Mike Dennison, “Delegation’s Reaction Mixed On Obama Budget,” Billings Gazette, 2/13/12)


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