Obama’s Spending RUSe

George Will goes after President Obama’s proposed Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act. Will focuses primarily on the dubious constitutionality of allowing the president to delete items from a spending bill after he’s signed it, a form of line-item veto.

But he also notes that it wouldn’t do much to actually reduce federal spending, which is growing uncontrollably. For one thing, it provides that if the president removes items from an appropriations bill, and Congress accepts his list, the total appropriation would not be reduced. And of course the president is not going to use a line-item veto on entitlements or debt service, or much of the defense and homeland security budgets, which leaves only 17 percent of the budget under scrutiny. He notes:

What about earmarks? If all 9,499 of last year’s had been vetoed, this would have saved $15.9 billion, or a risible 0.45 percent of spending.

And he concludes:

Last year, Obama ordered 15 department heads to find economies totaling $100 million, which was then 13 minutes (0.0029 percent) of federal spending. His new rescission proposal also is frugality theater and is similarly frivolous.

But Will doesn’t take the cheap shot of dubbing the bill the RUSe Act. He left that for us. A ruse is “a wily subterfuge” or “a deceptive maneuver” – a perfect description for this misleading bill offered in response to growing public concern over federal spending.