President Obama’s budget proposal was unveiled today, generating all sorts of conflicting statements from both parties.
Some of the assertions wrongly focus on red ink rather than the size of government. Others rely ondishonest Washington budget math, which means spending increases magically become budget cuts simply because outlays are growing at a slower rate than previously planned.
When you strip away all the misleading and inaccurate rhetoric, here’s the one set of numbers that really matters. If we believe the President’s forecasts (which may be a best-case scenario), the burden of federal spending will grow by $2 trillion between this year and 2022.
In all likelihood, the actual numbers will be worse than this forecast.
The President’s budget, for instance, projects that the burden of federal spending will expand by less than 1 percent next year. That sounds like good news since it would satisfy Mitchell’s Golden Rule.
But don’t believe it.
If we look at the budget Obama proposed last year, federal spending was supposed to fall this year. Yet the Obama Administration now projects that outlays in 2012 will be more than 5 percent higher than they were in 2011.
The most honest assessment of the budget came from the President’s Chief of Staff, who openly stated that, “the time for austerity is not today.”
With $2 trillion of additional spending (and probably more), that’s the understatement of the century.
What makes this such a debacle is that other nations have managed to impose real restraints on government budgets. The Baltic nations have made actual cuts to spending. And governments in Canada, New Zealand, Slovakia, and Ireland generated big improvements by either freezing budgets or letting them grow very slowly.
I’ve already pointed out that the budget could be balanced in about 10 years if the Congress and the President displayed a modest bit of fiscal discipline and allowed spending to grow by no more than 2 percent annually.
But the goal shouldn’t be to balance the budget. We want faster growth, more freedom, and constitutional government. All of these goals (as well as balancing the budget) are made possible by reducing the burden of federal spending.
Rep. Ryan: Obama’s 2013 Budget Awash in ‘Gimmicks’
Wednesday, 15 Feb 2012 05:00 AM
By Hiram Reisner
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan says President Barack Obama’s $3.8 billion budget is full of “accounting gimmicks” and “tricks” and once they are stripped away it increases spending and taxes, and barely reduces the deficit. The Wisconsin congressman also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Tuesday Obama’s 2013 spending plan is actually “chasing higher spending with higher taxes.”
“What’s wrong with it most of all is what [the budget] doesn’t do — it doesn’t fix our problem,” Ryan said. “He doesn’t even pretend to actually fix our fiscal problem. So instead of having sort of an American built to last, I would call it America drowning in debt.
“And then when you strip away all the accounting gimmicks and all the counting tricks — take all that way — it doesn’t come close to even doing what he says it does. He says it reduces the deficit by $4 trillion,” he said. “Doesn’t do any of that when you strip away all the budget gimmicks. It increases spending net over $1.5 trillion, increases taxes by $1.9 trillion, and has a measly $400 billion of deficit reduction over an entire 10-year period.
“So he’s proposing to spend $47 trillion over 10 years.” Ryan continued. “And so instead of increasing our debt by 78 percent, which is what the status quo is doing, he’s increasing debt by 76 percent — $11 trillion added to our national debt under this budget.”
Ryan noted that the budget’s projections are based on Obama’s policies, which do absolutely nothing to decrease spending.
“He’s actually chasing higher spending with higher taxes — and he’s doing nothing to address the drivers of our debt . . . and the frustrating, disappointing thing about this, Greta, is he knows this — he knows we have a debt crisis in this country,” Ryan said. “And what’s troubling to those of us who care so much about this country — about our economy, about people not being lied to with empty promises of benefits, about people living on the safety net, about people counting on a Medicare and Social Security — if we don’t do something to fix these programs, then those people are going to hurt the first.”