President Obama is putting the finishing touches on his budget message to Congress. According to press reports, it would be criminal if it wasn’t so comical!
The president will drop from previous proposals any effort to curb the rapidly escalating problems with social security—payouts rising more rapidly than the money flowing into the trust funds. Instead, he will propose higher taxes on the wealthy—especially those who invest in new jobs—to finance initiatives in education, manufacturing and job training.
All are follies and nonstarters but skillfully crafted to cynically put Republicans in the position of defending the rich leading up to the November elections. In the process, he is bequeathing to his successor one heck of a mess.
The federal government has meddled in the schools quite enough. Teachers spend countless hours—nay days—filling out forms, writing assessments and the like—instead of teaching—to accommodate “No Child Left Behind,” the Common Core and other meddling from the Department of Education.
After a generation of ladling on more taxes, money and bellicose presidential rhetoric, America’s school children woefully lag students in other industrialized countries. Is it any wonder, even with record unemployment, the nation’s high tech industries are pleading for more visas for skilled immigrants.
America’s schools are dumbing down our children thanks to Washington’s “help.”
Mr. Obama would have you think with just a little more money he can invest in manufacturing and create a wave of innovation and new jobs better than private entrepreneurs. His higher taxes will hit job creating investors very hard so that the Departments of Commerce and Energy can finance more promising companies like now bankrupt Solyndra and other losers that would profit only big Democratic Party operatives.
Since the Kennedy Administration, the federal government has engaged in federal job training that yields few tangible benefits and generously lent money to prospective lower income Americans to acquire skills at dubious for profit schools. The former has racked up federal debt and the latter has saddled the working poor with huge debt, which keeps them from buying homes and decently caring for their children.
So tragic, these flimflams would be a tale from a Dickens novel if not dignified by a presidential imprimatur.
The Congressional Budget Office—which the White House now disavows for concluding that raising the minimum wage 40 percent would cost 500,000 jobs—is projecting the federal deficit will rise precipitously just as Mr. Obama is leaving office. This, despite the fact that Americans—especially higher income Americans—will be paying taxes at rates not seen since World War II.
Big taxes, big spending, big deficits—maybe there is a lesson in all that.
The GOP should simply counter: Get Washington out of the nation’s schools and meddling in manufacturing and markets, and leave jobs training to the states. Then it could shut large swaths of the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, and Labor.
That might create some unemployment, because the dolts that fancy themselves as productive public servants in those places—living off money taken by the IRS from hard working Americans—would have to find honest work.
I stand a better chance of replacing Derek Jeter at shortstop for the Yankees—I can’t hit a fastball any better than Washington can create honest work.
Peter Morici is an economist and professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland School, and a widely published columnist. He tweets @pmorici1