On Monday, President Obama released his budget to the world. As per his usual Orwellian arrangement, Obama called this budget his attempt to implement "fiscal responsibility." Obama's attempt at "fiscal responsibility" works about as well as Madonna's attempts at virginity.
Underlying his massive $3.8 trillion proposal, which also calls for tax increases amounting to nearly $2 trillion, is the overwhelming sense that President Obama thinks this is his money to spend. How else to explain his blithe assurances that his budget will ensure that everyone "gets a fair share ... does their fair share ... plays by the same rules"? Did we suddenly elect him third-grade teacher of the United States? Or does a dictator determine what a "fair share" means?
Here's what Obama really means by fair: He gets re-elected, and you get shafted. His budget cuts virtually nothing and increases the budget in a variety of eye-opening ways. Obama's team requests $1 billion for the Social Security Administration, for example, just to "ensure benefits are paid to the right person and in the right amount." Apparently, the SSA has been sending checks to people who aren't disabled -- and now it wants to spend money to stop that practice. The Dewey Decimal System was invented a century ago to stop confusion with regard to books. Now it takes us $1 billion to stop the government from sending checks to the wrong people.
Obama insists that this $1 billion investment will result in $47.9 billion in savings. Somehow, I doubt that math. When my wife goes to Macy's and then calls, telling me how she's saved several hundred dollars, I know to get ready for a big hit on the monthly credit card. The same holds true with government "savings." When they're saving us money, they're really just spending it.
It's not just Obama's money-wasting ideas embedded in this plan. It's blatant class warfare and campaign rhetoric. Take, for instance, his Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee: a 10-year, $61 billion excise from financial firms "to compensate the American people for the extraordinary assistance they provided to Wall Street, as well as to discourage excessive risk-taking."
First, you have to love it when the president of the United States names proposals after whoever he's going to blame. Next time, he should propose the It's Bush's Fault Fee, directed against wealthy people across the country. The very title of the initiative shows Obama's motive: He wants Wall Street to take it on the chin for their bad behavior, ignoring the role of government in pushing and promoting that behavior.
Second, Obama has no constitutional authority for anything like this. In the budget, Obama contends that the Troubled Assets Relief Program provided for measures taking money back from the banks -- but his proposal itself does not even stipulate that those being taxed have to have been recipients of TARP money to begin with.
Finally, the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee is predicated on the notion that the banks owe everybody a lot of money. They do. But not according to Obama, whose administration has been claiming for years that the TARP money was paid back, and actually turned a profit for the taxpayer (So where's my check?). If they have, why does Obama now claim that he needs the banks to pony up to the table I order at to make taxpayers whole?
Obama packed his budget with such idiosyncratic idiocies. He cut a weather satellite system for the Pentagon but funded one for the Department of Commerce. He says he's going to cut subsidies for the oil and gas companies, but he's raising them for more non-existent green energy production, which will presumably fuel our unicorns. He wants to provide $800 million to our terrorist friends in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia but wants to cut our defense budget.
What makes him think he can do all this? Well, it's his money, stupid. You're just working for him. So work harder. His palms are itchy.
The American people are not nearly as stupid as Obama seems to believe. Just because he says that $3.8 trillion worth of mostly useless spending is vital doesn't mean it is. Just because he says it's fiscally responsible to continue revving up spending doesn't mean it is. And just because he says he respects our money doesn't mean he does.