David Brooks, an op-ed columnist at the New York Times, wrote one of the most informative columns about President Obama’s 2013 budget, titled "The White House Argument." The piece is a testament to the fact that our leader has no clue how to lead this country out of its current economic malaise.
“President Obama’s 2013 budget will add roughly $6 trillion to the nation’s debt over the next 10 years," Brooks explains. In 2022, the interest on the national debt will be over $900 billion annually, far surpassing the defense budget. Further, our national debt would soar to 124% of the G.D.P., as compared to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) proposed budget, which would keep debt at 42%. The president’s plan is outrageous and should make us all question his appreciation of fiscal responsibility.
The arguments of the administration that “justify” the president’s budget are presented by Brooks. The administration says “it’s foolish to try to solve the debt problem with some drastic magic bullet all at once.”
Taking care of the needy is an important priority, but the U.S. should not abandon the financial security of the nation for it. It has been written many times in PolicyMic essays that welfare and other security nets are not entitlements and not guaranteed by the federal government. Rather they are benefits that should be granted to the needy if the country can afford to do so. At this time, the country can barely afford the current level of spending, much less an increase to it.
The president’s people say “the 2013 budget is a step towards fiscal stability....” They predict $5 trillion of savings from ethereal sources and “4.5 trillion in new revenue,” of course the latter comes from Obama’s go-to source of cash: raising taxes on those earning over $250,000. Taxing the affluent is the only thing we can all be sure of in an Obama budget; he wants to impose new taxes on those who already shoulder most of the load.
Spending cuts would include the $1.7 trillion the Democrats already agreed to, which include $617 billion resulting from “not fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Give me a break. That is all Obama could muster; a cut already baked into the negotiations plus a savings from ending hostile actions overseas? The latter could very well not work out if things go sour in Iraq and/or Afghanistan or if we go to war with either Iran and/or North Korea.
The balance of the op-ed discusses other pipe dreams including a radical cut to discretionary spending to levels “much lower than anything Reagan ever achieved.” Also, the administration has made “modest” progress in controlling Medicare spending. Of course, this happens when Medicare premiums are increased on high-income retirees (another go-to group for Obama).
Administration officials say we will have “a period of stability, ...which would soothe credit markets ....” I do not believe this will be the case. The government would suck all the liquidity out of the system resulting in inflation, and higher rates for corporations and individuals. It would be a huge impediment to improved economic conditions.
Brooks kindly says the president is “a pragmatic liberal, ... who has not offered anything close to a sufficient program to avoid a debt crisis.”
I say Obama’s plan is a reckless path to financial oblivion. It will not be successful, and Congress will not endorse it. It would not surprise me to see Democrats jump ship, if the president pushes this agenda before the election.