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.
Before that entire kabuki dance began, President Obama offered a budget that called for a deficit of $768 billion in FY 2013. This week, after many speeches on the importance of deficit reduction, President Obama offered a budget that calls for a deficit of $901 billion and that is after all of the budget gimmicks are used.
Did he not understand what the images of those words on the teleprompter meant? How can anyone feign concern over the deficit for so long and then send a budget that has $133 billion more in red ink than last year?
The budget deficit doesn’t only miss the target of cutting the deficit in half. It isn’t even on a path toward fiscal responsibility. If this budget is followed, our nation will never get to balance.
There are no hard choices offered in this budget. There is no tackling the problems with entitlements that are stealing opportunities from future generations. There is $1.5 trillion in new class warfare taxes. There is also credit taken for $1 trillion in phony deficit reduction for spending that never was going to happen.
The ink isn’t even dry on this budget and already there is talk of adding more to the deficit by not offsetting another extension of the temporary payroll tax holiday. Yet the class warfare rhetoric of having people “pay their fair share” echoes along the canyons of K Street.
But what is a fair share?
Is a “fair share” the zero in income taxes that almost half of America contributes to run this government and redistribute wealth? And since you can’t give an income tax cut to people who pay no income tax, Obama devised a payroll tax cut to reduce the contributions to Social Security and Medicare of workers. With some budget sleight-of hand, you will have the money lost to the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds of the people who pay no income taxes replaced by the people who already pay their income taxes.
For decades, Social Security and Medicare were considered earned entitlements because workers contributed to the program and then received benefits upon retirement.The benefits formula was already skewed to provide greater proportional benefits to lower earning workers.However, now President Obama and the Democrats are developing a welfare program where the amount of work you do or contributions you make will have little to do with the benefits.
With all of the smoke and mirrors, budget gimmicks, and legerdemain included in this budget, it is a written testament to the broken promises and failure of leadership of Barack Obama.