Obama largely will ignore the recommendations of his own bipartisan budget commission, which in November urged more than $4 trillion in cuts to projected deficits over the next decade. He will not propose any changes in the biggest domestic spending programs - entitlements including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - which the commission said must be revised if the debt is ever to be tamed.The president's plan features nearly $9 Trillion in new spending and will pile an additional $7.2 Trillion onto the national debt over the next ten years. ABC's Jake Tapper boils the numbers down to one disquieting fact:
"At no point in the president’s 10-year projection would the U.S. government spend less than it's taking in."
Which is not to say there won't be massive tax increases. Indeed, the White House plan calls for tax hikes amounting to nearly $1.6 Trillion. If it prevails, brace for increases in income taxes, capital gains and dividends taxes, and the death tax -- as well as a host of new "fees" that clearly violate Obama's infamous tax pledge. Republican lawmakers are aghast:
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell -
“This is a status quo budget at a time when serious action is needed. This is business as usual at a time when bold, creative solutions are needed. This is not an I-got-the-message budget. It’s unserious, and it’s irresponsible...This budget was an opportunity for the President to lead. He punted.”
Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions:
The president has spoken in recent days about winning the future. But his budget reads more like a blueprint for losing the future. It puts us on the road to decline. It simply spends, taxes, and borrows too much...While I am deeply disappointed, my confidence in our future has not diminished. If Washington does not change direction, the American people will change the direction of Washington.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan:
“Debt on arrival. D-E-B-T on arrival,” Ryan said at a press conference today. “Look, he raises spending everywhere. He raises taxes everywhere, increases borrowing. The trajectory of this budget is in the wrong direction. It would be better if we did nothing than actually pass this budget.”
“Our problem is we are running out of road to keep kicking this can down,” Ryan said. “And so what did we just get today? We got a punt. The president punted on the budget and he punted on the deficit and on the debt. That’s not leadership.”
“When you pull aside the curtain and look at all the smoke and the mirrors, it looks like to me like this thing has about eight dollars of tax increases for one dollar of spending cuts,” he said.
In a conference call with bloggers this afternoon, Ryan said Republicans will soon counter the president's proposal with their own plan that will entail some form of entitlement reform, although he declined to outline any specifics because "we haven't written [our proposal] yet." Ryan said rejecting the president's budget is an essential step toward restoring the country's fiscal footing and avoiding catastrophic cuts down the road:
"The other side is going to come out of the woodwork claiming that we're inhumane with our cuts. They're going to be demagoguing entitlement reforms and our spending cuts. If [Democrats] win that PR war, you ain't seen nothin' yet. We need to get the debt under control right now, or else we're guaranteeing much more pain later on -- European-style austerity measures. We have to win this war aginst big government or else the kind of pain we're going to have in the future is going to be really ugly."
Here's Ryan opening salvo on Fox News Sunday:
Republicans aren't the only ones sounding notes of dismay over the White House plan:
Erskine Bowles, the Democratic chairman of the fiscal commission, said the White House budget request goes "nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare."
...Still, $1.1 trillion in savings would barely dent deficits that congressional budget analysts say could approach $12 trillion through 2021. The deficit is projected to approach $1.5 trillion this year and will remain above $1 trillion in 2012 under Obama's new spending plan, [Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent] Conrad said.
Jennifer Rubin wonders how Senate Democrats up for re-election next year will handle the White House's eye-popping blueprint:
By proposing a budget with a $1.6 trillion deficit that will add to the debt over the next ten years, the president has put his own party, not the Republicans, in a tight spot. Republicans can easily do better than the president's non-effort to straighten out our fiscal mess. But what about responsible Democrats? It would seem they must, if they are to retain their own credibility, blast the White House.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is already seeking to exploit that "tight spot," challenging vulnerable Democrats to renounce and condemn the White House's "irresponsible" budget.
Hunker down and strap it in for a brutal, protracted, high-stakes political fistfight. Today's rhetorical whirlwind was only Round One. Happy Valentine's Day, America.
UPDATE - Thus begins the great (red state) Democratic retreat on Obama's budget plan:
UPDATE II - Powerline's John Hinderaker reminds us that despite the stupefyingly prodigious sea of red ink the administration's proposal exacerbates, its underlying projections are still dubiously rosy:
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.): “This budget proposal raises a lot of questions about where the priorities of this administration are."
In its 2010 budget, the Obama administration projected that in FY 2012, it would run a deficit of $581 billion, or 3.5% of GDP. Now, the administration tells us that its FY 2012 budget will run a deficit of $1.1 trillion, or 7% of GDP, nearly double what it had projected. The press expects us to take seriously the claim that Obama's budget "would cut deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next decade." But it doubles the FY 2012 deficit, compared to its own projection of just two years ago. Why on earth should we take seriously the administration's new, revised projections for the next decade, grim as they are?
UPDATE III - This viral sensation from 2009 remains very helpful in putting (both parties') paltry spending reductions in proper perspective. In short: Absent major entitlement reform and serious cuts, we're screwed:
UPDATE IV - Via NRO, a truly harrowing by-the-numbers tabulation of "Obama's spending spree:"
$3.73 trillion — total spending this year (25 percent of GDP).
$46 trillion — total spending over the next decade.
$8.7 trillion — total new spending over the same period.
$26.3 trillion — Total new debt, including entitlement obligations, predicted by 2021.
$7.2 trillion — Total deficit predicted by the end of the decade.
$1.1 trillion — How much the White House estimates the proposal will reduce the deficit over the next ten years.
$4 trillion — How much the president’s deficit commission recommended reducing the deficit over the next ten years to avoid financial catastrophe.
$1.6 trillion — The projected annual deficit for 2011 (11 percent of GDP), up from $1.3 trillion in 2010.
$2 trillion — Amount the budget will raise taxes on business and upper-income families over the next ten years, which includes letting the Bush-era tax rates expire in 2012 (for incomes $250,000 and up).
Read on...there's more. Gulp.
UPDATE V: How irresponsible and politically cowardly is this budget? Even polemical (former?) Obama acolyte and notorious Palin conspiracy theorist Andrew Sullivan is morose (link intentionally omitted):
...This president is too weak, too cautious, too beholden to politics over policy to lead. In this budget, in his refusal to do anything concrete to tackle the looming entitlement debt, in his failure to address the generational injustice, in his blithe indifference to the increasing danger of default, he has betrayed those of us who took him to be a serious president prepared to put the good of the country before his short term political interests. Like his State of the Union, this budget is good short term politics but such a massive pile of fiscal bullshit it makes it perfectly clear that Obama is kicking this vital issue down the road.
To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: he just screwed you over. He thinks you're fools. Either the US will go into default because of Obama's cowardice, or you will be paying far far more for far far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America's fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.