In the defensive-sounding statement released with his budget this morning, President Obama repeatedly blames the previous administration for leaving him in a position where he had “no choice” but to send the nation deeper into debt. He blames “irresponsible risk-taking and debt-fueled speculation—unchecked by sound oversight” for a deep recession that he speciously claims his administration’s massive spending prevented from becoming a depression.
Not once does the president acknowledge the role the government played in fomenting the recession. Instead, the president promises to move away from “business as usual” even though more spending, deficits, and debt are precisely that: business as usual. In this regard, the Obama administration’s first term is looking more like George W. Bush’s third term. Bush left the president with a $1.4 trillion deficit in FY2009; the deficit under Obama’s first year is set to rise to $1.6 trillion and would still be $1.3 trillion in FY2011.
Just like Bush, the president proposes minuscule savings through a small number of program terminations and reductions. But overall spending continues to rise, and in a $3.8 trillion budget the president’s disingenuous attempt to “cut” anything amounts to little more than a rounding error. The president also proposes to freeze non-security discretionary spending for three years, which he falsely claims will “help put our country on fiscally sustainable path.” In reality, last year’s stimulus and appropriations spending binge will mean actual outlays for this tiny portion of the overall budget will still be higher than what Obama inherited.
The president says that “rising to these challenges is the responsibility we bear for the future of our children, our grandchildren, and our nation.” The truth is our children and grandchildren are going to pay a painful price for the Bush/Obama profligacy. Present and future generations would be better served by Washington putting on the spending brakes and bringing to an end the economic distortions caused by government interventions.