President Obama's budget is hypocrisy in hard copy.
In 2009, Obama pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term. On Monday, he officially broke that promise, by unveiling a budget with the fourth consecutive deficit in excess of a trillion dollars. By the end of 2012, the national debt will exceed $16 trillion and by 2022, a whopping $25.9 trillion.
Obama's budget is a failure of leadership. The White House seems utterly unconcerned with the unsustainable trajectory of the national debt. In pursuit of their agenda, they refuse to be inconvenienced by insolvency. Their nonchalance is as appalling as it reckless.
"Now is not the time for austerity," says Jack Lew, Obama's budget director turned chief of staff. But if not now, when? When America is in the throes of our own economic Greek tragedy?
Democrats in the Senate are no better. They have failed to pass a budget for over 1,000 days. On Sunday, Lew defended the Democrats, saying repeatedly "It takes 60, not 50, votes to pass something." Actually, the Senate does not need 60 votes to pass a budget resolution. Only a simple majority is required.
Either Lew was being intentionally disingenuous, or Obama's former budget director does not even know how to pass a budget. It's hard to decide which would be more disturbing.
Really the White House is just not bothered by the Senate's budget shenanigans. Last Wednesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney said flatly the administration has "no opinion" about whether the Senate should pass a budget. Fiscal responsibility is apparently not a top priority.
But it was Obama's new budget man, Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zientes, who took the prize for defending the indefensible. He told MSNBC on Monday that "I think the president has put forward today a balanced budget." When your budget director thinks a budget with a $1.33 trillion deficit is "balanced," it's time for a new budget director.
Obama has demonstrated no desire to make tough choices. Americans demand a more efficient, effective government, but his budget calls for more taxes and more spending. It employs deceptive accounting gimmicks but does nothing to tackle long-term entitlement problems, nothing to save Medicare or fix Social Security.
In contrast, Republicans understand the seriousness of our fiscal situation. Under the leadership of Speaker Boehner and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Congressional Republicans last year passed a budget and a plan for long-term solvency and stability. Democrats were uninterested.