President Obama’s latest budget is a demonstration of the hollow words of his speeches and his failure to lead. It continues to bleed red ink at levels higher than any previous administration.
At his first State of the Union address in 2009, President Obama told the nation: “Yesterday, I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office.”
This week, President Obama offered up the last budget of his first term and didn’t even attempt to come close to cutting the budget deficit in half. He has refused to offer up ideas that seriously address the problem of overspending. He has included massive new levels of tax hikes. But rather than halve the deficit as promised, he adds additional new spending.
Later in that 2009 speech he stated, “To preserve our long-term fiscal health, we must also address the growing costs in Medicare and Social Security.” Again, these words were simply throwaway lines that he either ignored or made worse during his first three years in the Oval Office.
Social Security is now in more jeopardy than ever since he instituted a temporary payroll tax cut in an alleged effort to stimulate the economy. The lost funds to the Social Security Trust Fund are simply assumed to be replaced by more debt, making its long-term viability even more precarious.
Rather than fixing Medicare, Obama made it much worse by his failure to address the drastic cuts in physician reimbursements written into law. This budget gimmick has grown like a cancerous tumor on the Medicare budget. It masks the true costs of providing health care to our elderly.
Further, the ObamaCare law cut $500 billion in Medicare benefits. However, rather than using the savings to shore up Medicare, he redirected the money for new entitlement programs that will lead to more red ink.
In 2008, as a candidate for president, Barack Obama called President Bush’s deficits of $4 trillion of debt over his 8 years in office “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” Yet in half that time Obama will have racked up $5.7 trillion in debt. What adjectives are appropriate to describe that?
You may have thought that President Obama took the deficit seriously last year when he said that we needed to come together to reduce the deficit significantly and raise the debt ceiling at the same time. The deficit reduction would have to be large enough to get agreement to raise the debt ceiling high enough so Obama wouldn’t have to face another showdown on spending before his reelection.
That whole exercise culminated in the Budget Control Act that was enacted in August. It led to the supercommittee that was to negotiate big deficit reduction measures to stave off across-the-board automatic cuts. Unfortunately, the president never participated in the negotiations and the supercommittee turned into a superdud.